Everybody knows author Tom Clancy’s most famous protagonist, Jack Ryan. The character appeared in no less than 21 Clancy novels and was featured in five movies portrayed by Alex Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Afleck, and Chris Pine on the big screen.
This year, Amazon launched an original series, Jack Ryan with John Krasinski in the titular role. The series is a new story using only some of Clancy’s characters with a plot that is not related to any of the novels. It’s already been greenlit for a second season.
But there’s another badass that Clancy put on the page many many times that isn’t as widely recognized…and that might be about to change.
According to this story from Variety, Michael B. Jordan, star of Marvel’s uber popular Black Panther and the Rocky spinoff Creed films (the second one is coming out this year) will be starring in two new movies as John Clark.
The films will be based on Clancy’s novels Without Remorse and Rainbow Six. Clark, aka John Terrence Kelly was a secondary character in the Jack Ryan books who got an origin story and the start of his own series of novels with Remorse.
He’s an ex-Navy SEAL-turned-operations officer for the CIA who appeared in 17 novels, first showing up in the Jack Ryan story The Cardinal of the Kremlin published in 1988.
The character has also shown up in Jack Ryan movies, played by Willem Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger (1994) opposite Ford and by Liev Schreiber in Sum of All Fears (2002) opposite Afleck.
Clark is a pure badass, one of the original Navy SEALs in Vietnam, and an expert at covert combat and guerrilla warfare, not to mention all kinds of other handy skill sets. Assumedly, his background will be updated from the Cold War era novels for the new movies to something more contemporary, but hopefully they don’t stray too far from the source material.
Remorse is an excellent origin story that goes back to Clark’s military service set parallel to a new mission and a personal revenge story that pretty amazing on its own.
The concept behind Rainbow Six has been used as the basis for dozens of movies and a very successful series of video games: several NATO countries have collectively organized an elite counter terrorist unit named Rainbow composed of the best soldiers from the militaries of several nations.
Clark conceives of the Rainbow idea and leads the team which is deemed “blacker than black” with its American funding directed through the U.S. Department of the Interior by the U.S. Congress, and then through U.S. Defense Department’s Office of Special Projects, with no connection to the Intelligence Community. Fewer than a hundred people in the U.S. government know that Rainbow exists.
While Amazon’s Jack Ryan has been a success and a second season is already on the way, the character and genre haven’t done so well at the theater, with 2014’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which was intended as a reboot for the film series, was a flop at the box office and plans for future films were abandoned. The previous Ryan movie, Sum, didn’t fare much better.
Hopefully John Clark will have a better go of it.
There has been no word yet on whether or not the Jack Ryan character will make an appearance in either of the upcoming John Clark movies.
And hopefully they stick with the book titles for the movies and don’t use the character’s name…because Jack Ryan, Jack Reacher, and John Wick are surely enough of that.