Last year, for the first time in more than a decade, the ever-popular Tom Clancy character Jack Ryan hit the big screen in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Clancy’s novels sold millions of copies, and the previous four big-screen adventures for the character (The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears) had all proved to be box office successes, but the fifth time out just didn’t work. The Chris Pine vehicle, which was the first Ryan film not directly based on a Clancy novel, was a box office and critical disappointment, and even Pine eventually admitted that a sequel wasn’t in the cards.
This is Hollywood, though, and if a potential franchise doesn’t work one way, someone will happily find a different angle from which to sell it. So, it’s apparently time for a Jack Ryan TV series.
Deadline reports that Paramount Television is working with Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company, Skydance (one of the key producers of Shadow Recruit), and writers Carlton Cuse and and Graham Roland (Lost) to develop a Jack Ryan TV series that several networks are already battling to get. The show will be a “contemporary take” on Ryan’s time in the CIA, and thought it won’t be a direct adaptation of Clancy’s novels, it will likely carry a lot of their flavor (Cuse is apparently a big fan).
Though all of the books are relatively self-contained thrillers, Clancy carved out a fascinating arc for his character over the course of the series. Ryan rises from the U.S. Naval Academy to the CIA to the White House over the course of the books, and a long-running TV series could certainly milk that progression in interesting ways. Of course, we have to see if the show makes it to series first…
So, Jack Ryan is the latest Movie-to-TV convert. Who’s next?