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John Krasinski And Wendell Pierce On The Necessary Perils Of Following Jack Ryan's Instincts In Season 3 - Exclusive Interview

Season 3 of Prime Video's "Jack Ryan" is here, and once again, it's high time for our favorite CIA analyst Jack Ryan (John Krasinski) to dive into action and get to the bottom of a bigger mystery. The series' third season sees Russian Soviet Union loyalists work to bring back the Sokol Project, an unused plan to use nuclear armament and assassinations to reconfigure the power of the global order, solidifying Soviet power. Such a series of maneuvers would cause massive death and upheaval, so of course, the CIA opposes the deadly project. When Ryan is wrongly implicated after an op gone wrong, he goes rogue, trying to get to the bottom of the conspiracy as a fugitive from the CIA itself.

In an exclusive new interview, we sat down with stars Krasinski and Wendell Pierce to talk everything "Jack Ryan" in advance of the series' third season. We spoke about what keeps Jack Ryan ticking as he works to uncover the conspiracy while on the run, what keeps James Greer on his side and working to protect him while the CIA's turning up the heat, and what Krasinski thinks about Marvel Studios' forthcoming "Fantastic Four" film.

Trusting Jack Ryan's instincts

Early on in the third season, Jack finds himself on the run from the government while still trying to get to the bottom of this nuclear conspiracy. What's his journey? What's driving him when he's between a rock and a hard place?

John Krasinski: It's interesting. It's the culmination of the first two seasons and how Jack's been learning a lot about how things operate. This whole idea in the first season where he says he's just an analyst ... He sees the world in black and white. There's only right and wrong. In Season 2, Greer shows him very clearly that the world does not operate in black and white. The world's more operating in the gray. That's something that Jack was very uncomfortable with and then had to come to terms with that.

Then by the time you get to Season 3, he's now not only learned that the world operates in gray, but perhaps the CIA does too — not that the CIA is nefarious in any way, but that in order to get the job done, you may have to make sacrifices and moral compromises that you weren't planning to. So there he is doubling and tripling down on his instinct, which has gotten him in trouble in the past. But now he has to decide whether it's worth going against his own agency, and he chooses to do that. All of a sudden, he's being hunted down by the very people he works for.

At the same time, Greer continues trying to be active in the government's efforts, but it's clear he maintains loyalty to Jack regardless of what things look like. Why is that?

Wendell Pierce: One, first of all, he saved my life. I'll always be indebted to him for that. Secondly, I trust his instincts. I'd learned that early on. He reminds me of myself when I was a younger officer, and so I trust him. There's the loyalty and the trust there, and understanding that there's sometimes some moral ambiguity that you go through as you try to find your true north and what true north really is, especially when you're trying to get the intel to something that is happening. I want to allow him that space. With all of that to consider, I do the things necessary to help him, even at the risk of what may happen to me being within the agency.

Jack Ryan Season 3 meets Fantastic Four?

Pierce (continued): I'm doing it to protect him as well, because I trust that he's onto something. I know that I want to protect him, save his life, keep him as safe as possible, and at the same time watch his flank within the agency and make sure that he's protected from this side. I have his six; I have his back. I'm going to do everything within my power, use the resources that I have, to make sure he's protected on both sides. That's what real spy work is, and that's the level of espionage and the intricacy of the espionage for me this season, which I loved.

John, say I get all the power in the world and you can return as Reed Richards. Hypothetically, what characters would you like to see in that world?

Krasinski: [laughs] You'd be the all-powerful one. I wouldn't have a say, would I? You'd basically be Kevin Feige, and I'd have to do whatever you say. No, that was a real thrill. It's funny ... to loop that back to Jack Ryan, I got the call from Kevin two weeks before we wrapped Jack Ryan [Season] 3, and he said, "This is a crazy idea, but would you ever want to come and play in our sandbox for a day?" I flew right from Budapest to LA. Being a part of that world for one day was a real thrill, and I don't know that was the end I expected to meet, but hey, it was fun nonetheless. I appreciate that you dug it, and certainly it was a thrill for me to do it.

Jack Ryan is available on December 21 on Prime Video.

This interview was edited for clarity.