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‘Reacher’ Star Maria Sten Talks Season 2 Finale and Teases Neagley’s Return in Season 3

“Reacher” just wrapped its second season on Prime Video.

This time around Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson), had to team with members of his old army squad, in an effort to figure out who is dropping them out of helicopters one-by-one. (That age-old conundrum.)

One of those team members is, of course, Frances Neagley, played by Maria Sten, one of Reacher’s sole allies in the outside world. She showed up in Season 1 and immediately became a fan favorite, even though the character didn’t appear in the book the inaugural season was based on.

Sten is confirmed to return in Season 3, which this time is based on Lee Child’s “Persuader,” another book that Neagley actually doesn’t show up in. Meaning Sten and her performance transcend the dogged commitment to the source material. She’s more chipper and richer than the smart-aleck Reacher, and their chemistry is palpable on screen.

TheWrap spoke to Sten about the second season finale, where Neagley goes next and, crucially, what kind of cereal is her actual favorite.

Mild spoilers for Season 2 follow.

What level of Reacher knowledge did you have going into the show?

I knew that there were two Tom Cruise movies called “Jack Reacher” and I had seen them. And that was really it. Of course, I knew they were based on a book franchise, but I had no idea until I booked the job, the scope of this franchise and how many people are watching or are reading it all across the country. Everybody’s familiar with those books all over the world, really. That was really interesting to dive into. When I booked the job, I then read all of the books that Neagley is featured in and of course, “The Killing Floor” that we were doing for the first season, just to get a really good understanding of her and get all the background that necessarily wasn’t on the page in the first season, because I just pop in for a little bit. Just doing my homework as usual. But it was a surprise to me to realize the scope of this thing, because I didn’t know that when I signed on.

Like you said, Neagley isn’t in “The Killing Floor.” And she’s pretty different from the character in the book. How did you feel about this new interpretation of the character? Did you worry at all about offending the fans?

You always worry about making sure that you’re doing justice to that source material whenever you’re adapting something. I think they did a smart thing when they introduced her in the first season because she’s such a fan favorite in the book franchise. And I also think it grounds Reacher in a way because he comes to this place where no one knows him. And it’s good to see that he has some kind of connection to an outside world. I think they chose wisely in picking “Bad Luck and Trouble” [for Season 2] because it fleshes out our world so much, we get to know so much more about his background and about the team. This just happens to be the book where Neagley is the one that contacts him. I was, of course, super excited to know that they were doing that for Season 2.

Was the physicality of the character something that appealed to you?

You don’t sign up for this job if you don’t want to do that, because that’s probably like 85% of the job.

Did Lee Child sign off on your casting?

I don’t know if he did initially but I saw him of course afterwards. And he came up to me and he gave me a big hug. And he said, “You did such a good job.” Life is complete. That’s all I needed. That’s what you want. You want the blessing of the person who thought up all this stuff, and who created this whole world and these characters, so of course, that meant everything to me, that he thought that I did a good job.

What is it like working with Alan?

We have a really solid working relationship. I think we have a shorthand very much in the way that Reacher and Neagley do. It’s very efficient the way that we work together. And of course, we’re both dorks and crackup all the time. Most of the day our shots take a long time, because we just can’t keep a straight face. It’s nice to have that kind of levity, especially when you are working in such circumstances and such conditions and be able to joke and be able to support each other. Also, in the scenes that we’re doing, if he’s looking for something different or I’m looking for something different, we’ll collaborate together to figure out like how we can satisfy everything that we’re looking for.

The finale sees you outside of a warehouse in what looks like frigid cold. What was that like?

I actually got early stage frostbite on my nose on the coldest day that we were shooting out there. The helicopter couldn’t fly. The camera couldn’t shoot. And we’re standing in the Canadian tundra in 40- below wondering, Why are we here? But that’s the show. We have a team that’s so committed to getting the show done, come hell or high water or arctic tundra blast. It was so cold. I thought I was good. I’m from Denmark and I have a house in Wyoming. I know cold. I’m a Viking. I’m fine. And then I went to Toronto and did a show. It’s next level. It’s very hard to move your jaw and say your lines when you’re that cold.

It’s so funny because the novel is set in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Yeah, we all are so excited like, Oh, we’re going to shoot LA and Vegas, great! And they said, “No, no, no, it’ll be Toronto. And we’re going to set it in New York and Atlantic City and it’ll be in the dead of winter and all of your shots will be outside at night. Have fun.”

Are you looking forward to coming back for Season 3?

Yes. I think if such a thing were to happen, I think that would be wonderful to show that there is a continuation of this relationship, there is a continuation of the world and the things that we have set up so far. But we’ll see.

Do you have a favorite cereal?

No, you know what’s so funny? I grew up on cereal. I never ate breakfast as a kid. But when I did, it would be cereal. And then at the time, it was Cocoa Puffs. Actually, we have a Danish version, which is these cocoa shells. And I don’t know what they’re called in English. So that would be my version. I ate so much of that stuff. Neagley likes Cocoa Puffs the best. She gets to eat basically all the cereals, but I think Cocoa Puffs are my favorite.

The first two seasons of “Reacher” are available on Prime Video, with Season 3 coming soon.

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