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Like Batman or Superman, Jack Ryan is a character that has seen several on-screen iterations played by a variety of actors. Unlike these superhero figures though, Jack Ryan isn’t rich and doesn’t have powers of any kind – really he’s just a regular dude. Created by prolific writer Tom Clancy, Jack Ryan is a man from a middle-class background who uses his military experience and education in history and economics to save the U.S. from both foreign and domestic adversaries.
But even though he doesn’t appear to be much more than a normal guy, that’s what makes him more relatable than other action heroes. Jack Ryan has been able to survive through so many film and TV adaptations because he is able to handle such exceptional situations with his intelligence and determination. He’s the epitome of the “American Dream,” and that really resonates with people.
With season 3 of Prime Video’s Jack Ryan premiering on Dec. 21, let’s take a look at all of the actors who have played the CIA analyst turned action hero over the years.
Alec Baldwin was the first to play Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October. Baldwin’s Jack Ryan is working as a CIA Analyst and Professor of Naval History when he’s asked to help determine the intentions of a rogue Soviet Union nuclear submarine. This was an early role for Baldwin who has since gone on to appear in movies like Glengarry Glen Ross, It’s Complicated, and The Departed as well as TV series such as 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live.
So far, Harrison Ford is the only actor to play Jack Ryan for more than one film, playing the character in both Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Ford’s version of Jack Ryan starts off as a retired family man living in London before he’s pulled back into spy work after witnessing and stopping an attempted kidnapping. You probably know Ford from his time as Han Solo in the Star Wars original trilogy and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as the titular hero of the Indiana Jones franchise, and from both Blade Runner movies.
Jennifer Lopez’s husband has also taken a turn as Jack Ryan in the film The Sum of All Fears. The 2002 film was an attempt at rebooting Jack Ryan for the present day, and saw Ben Affleck’s version of the character uncovering a fascist conspiracy in his early days as a CIA analyst. Ben Affleck has been in a lot, including the 2003 movie Daredevil, Gone Girl, as well as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League during his time as Batman and Bruce Wayne in the DCEU.
Arguably one of the best Hollywood Chrises, Chris Pine took his turn in the role in 2011’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. This film sees Ryan’s transition from desk analyst to field agent as he’s sent to Russia to try and stop a terrorist attack and the financial collapse of the United States. Chris Pine has starred in both Wonder Woman movies as well as Don’t Worry Darling, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Into the Woods, This Means War, and the recent Star Trek film trilogy. He’s also starring in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
The longest lasting Jack Ryan so far, John Krasinski currently plays the character in the Prime Video series Jack Ryan. The series once again follows the character as he transitions from his desk job as a financial analyst to becoming a CIA field agent, but since this is a TV series, we get to spend more time with the character as he learns how to do his job outside the confines of his office and goes up against a variety of foreign threats to the U.S. John Krasinski is most known for his role as Jim Halpert in The Office, though you’ll also likely recognize him from his role in the first two films in the A Quiet Place series. Krasinski also recently appeared as Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.