The Ryan Initiative: why didn’t Ben Affleck reprise his role as Jack Ryan and nearly sink the franchise?

He is one of the most famous heroes of literature and cinema in the United States, created by Tom Clancy: Jack Ryan. 24 years after the first film “The Hunt for Red October”, it is Chris Pine who plays the role in “The Ryan Initiative”. An almost miraculous film, given the “fault” involuntarily committed by its previous interpreter Ben Affleck, who almost wiped out the franchise…

The Ryan Initiativeto erase the slate left by Ben Affleck

Released in 2014, The Ryan Initiative is the fifth movie featuring the famous hero created by Tom Clancy: Jack Ryan. In this film, it is Chris Pine who plays the former Marine who became a history professor and then a CIA agent, versed in geopolitical analysis as well as in action. nicknamed the ryanverse in the United States, a first film adaptation was not long in arriving on the screens with Hunting for Red October in 1990, with Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan and John McTiernan directing. A critical and commercial success which led to a second adaptation in 1992, War gamesthis time with Harrison Ford in the role and Phillip Noyce behind the camera.

The sum of All Fears ©Paramount Pictures

The two men continued in 1994 with Immediate danger. These two films are also successes, but it is then necessary to wait until 2002 to have a new movie that looks like a rebootwith a younger Jack Ryan played by Ben Affleck: The sum of All Fears. Another success, despite a political climate weighed down by the attacks of September 11, 2001. The actor of Pearl Harborthen in full swing, signed for two films and the future looks bright.

troubled lovesa very serious mistake

Despite its many interpreters, the character of Jack Ryan is therefore well established and the franchise is doing very well. But, catastrophe, according to the historical producer of the franchise Mace Neufeld, Ben Affleck makes a then a dramatic career choice by appearing in troubled loves (Gigli in VO), considered as one of the worst films in the history of cinema. The critics are murderous, the financial failure is monumental, the Razzie Awards rain down… From rising star, Ben Affleck becomes directly the laughing stock of hollywood. Complicated years for the actor, who “is also illustrated” in Daredevil or Paycheck . The producer expressed it thus in an interview given to Screen daily in January 2014, when the release of The Ryan Initiative.

Ben Affleck played a young Jack Ryan in “The Sum of All Fears” and the movie was a hit. He was good in the role, but unfortunately he made the movie “Trouble Loves”, which was a disaster, and Paramount pulled out of the project, at least for a while. We had an agreement to make a second film with Ben, but it was canceled.

Face of a very popular American hero and a hitherto lucrative franchise, Ben Affleck then becomes persona non grata from Paramount. The sum of all fears was a reboot, and without the possibility of giving it a direct sequel, without an interpreter, the franchise ends. In comments reported by USA Today in 2014, Mace Neufeld said again:

kind of tripped up the franchise. We had no more Jack Ryan, and so the franchise was put on hold.

The Ryan Initiativea new false start?

It therefore took twelve years for the ryanverse come back to the movies. The Ryan Initiative is therefore a new reboot, with a new interpreter, a prestigious director in the person of Kenneth Branagh, and stars like Keira Knightley and Kevin Costner in the cast. First film based on an original screenplay rather than a Clancy novel, The Ryan Initiative garners mixed reviews and a fair box office score ($135.5 million in worldwide revenue) to spawn a sequel. Despite his convincing performance, the actor explained :

No, I don’t think The Ryan Initiative made enough money to keep it going. It is one of my great regrets that we did not succeed. It’s an awesome franchise and, if not with me, I hope it gets a fifth “life”. Because it’s just awesome. I like the spy genre. So I hope it will continue, with an interesting story.

Pursue the franchise around Jack Ryan or expand the universe ? That is the question after the lackluster success of The Ryan Initiative. Direction therefore the serial format for Amazon with John Krasinski in the role. And looking forward to continuing the character’s adventures on screen, Paramount and Amazon are producing in 2021 Without any remorsecentered on the other very famous character of Tom Clancy: John T. Clark, also called John Kelly. Michael B. Jordan plays the role, and Jack Ryan does not appear in the film. While John Kelly was present in Immediate danger and The sum of All Fearsperformed first by Willem Dafoe and then Liev Schreiber.

A sign that the Jack Ryan universe is alive but under tension, Kevin Costner who plays in The Ryan Initiative should appear in Without any remorsewhich would have established fact an expanded universe with recurring characters. But it does not appear there, leaving for the moment the work of Tom Clancy torn between different dynamics…

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