How Tall Is Reacher? Alan Ritchson's TV Show Height Vs. Movie Vs. Book Height Differences Explained

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Alan Ritchson, Reacher

Jack Reacher has been brought to life in varying sizes in the Reacher movies, TV show, and books. Now, it's time to look at how those versions differ in height and size.

Following Tom Cruise's slightly controversial portrayal of Jack Reacher in two big-screen movies from 2012 and 2016, Alan Ritchson took over the character for Amazon Prime Video's streaming series in 2022 to excellent results.

Reacher Height Differences Explained

Alan Ritchson, Tom Cruise, Reacher
Alan Ritchson, Tom Cruise

In author Lee Child's Jack Reacher books, the Reacher character is depicted as being 6 feet, 5 inches (1.96 meters) tall and weighing 250 lbs. He's also described as "extremely tall, extremely broad, long-armed and long-legged," making it clear that the hero is no slouch regarding size.

The first live-action take on the character was seen in 2012's Jack Reacher, although it sparked pushback from fans due to Tom Cruise playing the character. Cruise is famous for his shorter stature at only 5 feet, 7 inches tall - a full 10 inches shorter than how Reacher is depicted in the books.

For the Amazon Prime Video Reacher series, the studio cast Alan Ritchson in the role, who stands much closer to Reacher's book height at 6 feet, 2 inches tall.

Per the Los Angeles Times, Cruise's casting sparked many negative comments and criticism. 

Comments included fans saying that "Lee Child fans feel betrayed," calling Cruise "an arrogant overexposed short IMBECILE." Many said they "[would] not pay money to see this movie."

Child reflected on the criticism with Metro in 2022 after Reacher Season 1 debuted on Prime Video, explaining how fans had "a very clear image" of how Reacher should look when Cruise played the role:

"There was criticism from the book fans, because they had built up a very clear image of what Reacher should look like"

For those movies, Child explained that he and the studio were looking to bring "great entertainment" so that "non-book readers" could enjoy it just as much as those who followed the Reacher books:

"It just became a different proposition and I guess the opportunity of thinking alright, we can get a much bigger guy so the book fans are going to be happy, but we’re also focusing on the non-book readers. What do they need? They need just great entertainment, they don’t have the reference already, and so we also had to satisfy them."

Per Deadline, Child backed Cruise's initial casting in 2012, calling Reacher's noted size from the novels "a metaphor for an unstoppable force, which Cruise portrays in his own way."

While speaking on Ritchson's casting in the Prime Video TV show with Metro, Child found it "interesting" that "non-book fans really liked those movies" after being "kind of convinced by Cruise in that sense" regarding the character.

But for the series, the casting process was much different with the format being such "a huge thing," making it so that the starring actor "[had] to carry the weight throughout eight episodes."

Reacher's massive size was more of a focal point this time around due to it being "important to certain parts of the narrative," as Child explained that he has to "scare people," which is easier with a bigger actor like Ritchson:

"I think that the size thing is important to certain parts of the narrative. Reacher has got to scare people and you can do that so much easier with one glance of this huge animal rather than a normal-sized actor."

What Does Reacher's Future Hold?

Although Reacher Season 2 ends in January 2024, the character isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

During CCXP 2023, Ritchson shared a video from the Reacher set confirming that the show was already renewed for Season 3 before Season 2 started airing, with filming occurring as fans wait to see how the story continues.

Additionally, Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie, who's worked with Cruise on multiple other films, spoke with Empire Magazine in 2020 about the chances that a third movie would be made.

He and Cruise had previously discussed the idea of making the possible third movie an R-rated affair, touching on how popular films like Deadpool and Joker have been taking that route:

"Tom and I were talking about, had the series continued, to take Reacher to a place where, in the post-'Deadpool', post-'Joker' world, Reacher could have been an R-rated movie and an R-rated franchise and really fed into the brutality of those books. We were fully ready to lean into that."

While he admitted that "the franchise has moved on" since their original movie, he expressed how excited he was about the ideas he and Cruise spoke about for this franchise:

"It’s a very un-Tom character, and we have plans for an even more un-Tom character that we’ve been talking about, which I’m hopeful about in the future. […] The franchise has moved on, and we haven’t. So we’ve now got stuff in the hopper. The ['Jack Reacher'] stuff we’re talking about now is tinker toys [compared to it], I’m actually very, very excited."

Reacher Season 2 is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

- In This Article: Reacher (Season 2)
Release Date
December 15, 2023
Alan Ritchson
Maria Sten
Serinda Swan
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.