According to Uproxx, the author of the Jack Reacher book series — Lee Child — spoke out about the upcoming changes, saying that Cruise's physical stature was indeed a factor in the decision.
"I really enjoyed working with Cruise. He's a really, really nice guy. We had a lot of fun. But ultimately the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really, really important and it's a big component of who he is," Child reportedly said in an interview with the BBC.
"The idea is that when Reacher walks into a room, you're all a little nervous just for that first minute. And Cruise, for all his talent, didn't have that physicality," he continued.
The author then reveal that plans for the franchise have now shifted to a more "long-form" concept, such as streaming series.
"So what I've decided to do is — there won't be any more movies with Tom Cruise. Instead we're going to take it to Netflix or something like that. Long form streaming television, with a completely new actor," he shared.
"And I want all those readers who were upset about Tom Cruise to help me out — participate in choosing the right actor for the TV series," Child continued. "We're rebooting and starting over and we're going to try and find the perfect guy."
The first Jack Reacher novel — Killing Floor — was released in 1997, and the first Jack Reacher film debuted in 2012. It was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who later went on to work with Cruise on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
Jack Reacher did not get rave reviews from critics, but it was very popular with audiences, earning $218.3 million at the box office on a budget of $60 million.
The 2015 sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was not quite as well received, earning less favorable reviews and only bringing in $162.1 million on a budgets of somewhere between $60-96 million.
As Child pointed out, fans of the book series were somewhat surprised at Crusies' casting the first place, as the author writes Reacher to be a towering force of smoldering intensity and Cruise stands at just 5'7" (according to unconfirmed reports).0comments
However, Child also writes that Reacher has hands "the size of a dinner plate" and "fists like Thanksgiving turkeys," so its not entirely clear what actor would be right for the role, assuming these are part of the criteria for being cast.
At this time, representatives for Cruise do not appear to have commented on Child's statements.