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Reacher's Alan Ritchson Is Glad His Character Is Aging

Longstanding characters within many of our favorite books, films, and TV series often have access to that mythic fountain of youth. When characters do age, it's usually at a glacial pace. A decade to them looks more like a single year. And if too many birthdays have passed, that's often remedied with retcons or reboots. It's partially why despite our own aging, our favorite fictional heroes still look roughly the same age so many years later. However, that may not be the case with the military veteran protagonist Jack Reacher. Pulled from the numerous books and short stories of author Lee Child, the character is blowing away fans in Amazon's "Reacher" TV series.

When Child started the "Jack Reacher" books, he made his protagonist 36 and has continued to age him throughout his many adventures. And for actor Alan Ritchson, who stars as Reacher in the Amazon Prime show, that's actually a relief. Ritchson, who has received praise from both Child and fans for his portrayal of Reacher, told Empire Magazine that his character's natural aging certainly lifts off some pressure. "I think in the first or second book, he mentions Reacher's hair is thinning," Ritchson said to Empire. "I think I cheered out loud! There's no pressure here to, like, maintain my youth as we go through this, so I don't care. I'll keep shooting as long as people will have me."

With over 25 books so far about Reacher, Amazon's adaptation has more than enough content to pull from. And according to Ritchson, they've also got the perfect medium.

Ritchson feels there's nothing rushed about Reacher

Amazon's "Reacher" isn't exactly the titular hero's first foray onscreen. Previously, Jack Reacher came alive with two films starring Tom Cruise. And although they were decent movies, there was one big area they lacked when trying to faithfully adapt Lee Child's novels. A couple of hours onscreen meant only so much of Child's stories could be adapted. Condensing a book into a film can often mean cutting significant moments and less time to get to know characters. But it's for these reasons that Alan Ritchson noted to Empire that Amazon's "Reacher" format truly does the books justice.  "It's the right medium to tell this story; we've got enough time to really get to know these characters," Ritchson told Empire. "There's nothing rushed about it. We're not trying to pack an entire book into two hours."

Instead, Amazon's "Reacher" is currently dedicating seasons to entire "Jack Reacher" books. "Killing Floor," the first of the "Jack Reacher" novels, was adapted for Season 1. And the upcoming Season 2 is aiming for the events of the 11th book, "Bad Luck and Trouble." Depending on the success of Season 2, Amazon can basically go in just about any direction when choosing the next novel from Child to adapt. And without the added pressure of keeping their character youthful, "Reacher" could become a show with numerous seasons ahead of it.