‘Cherry’: Is Nico Walker Still in Jail?

Cherry is now streaming on Apple TV+. It stars Tom Holland as an Iraq war veteran committing a string of bank robberies to help fund a drug habit. The original novel that the film is based on was a semi-autobiographical work for author Nico Walker, so despite a few artistic liberties, the motions of the story mirror those of his own life.

Both the novel and the film adaptation of Cherry end on something of an ambiguous note. Nevertheless, many viewers who check the film out this weekend might be curious: did Walker end up in jail and is he still there?

[Spoilers for the ending of Cherry ahead.]

Tom Holland as Cherry in the Army
Tom Holland as the title character in Apple’s ‘Cherry.’ | Apple

Cherry is available exclusively on Apple TV+

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Cherry ends in much the same way that the novel does: with the unnamed protagonist known only as “Cherry” (Holland) taking one last hit of opioids in the middle of an intersection. Just before this, having decided to turn himself for his string of bank robberies, Cherry confesses his crimes and urges a bank teller to call the police on him.

The way the film ends, it’s left a mystery as to whether the protagonist makes it to jail or if the last big hit kills him as cops put the cuffs on. In real life, however, Walker did go to prison. He was arrested in April of 2011 and later plead guilty to charges related to his string of 10 bank robberies.

In 2012, he was sentenced to serve 11 years in prison, which would have seen him released in 2023. However, in 2019, one year after Cherry was published to widespread literary acclaim, Walker was released from prison early. According to The Observer, this was so that he could help take care of his terminally ill mother.

Walker wrote Cherry while still behind bars. After his story was featured in a Buzzfeed profile from 2013, he was contacted by a publisher who encouraged him to tell his story. The process of finishing the book took Walker around four years.

Where is Walker today?

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Walker now lives in Oxford, Mississippi, and is in a long-term relationship with fellow writer and poet, Rachel Rabbit White. According to an interview with Distractify, the couple is planning to have a wedding once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

Walker is also working on his second novel, still using the same typewriter he wrote Cherry on in prison. Appropriately enough, White said that the book is set in prison and has a surprising sense of humor.

“I know it sounds strange to describe a book about prison as funny but it’s hilarious,” she told Distractify.

Cherry has remained a successful novel in the years since its release and will likely remain so for a little while longer off the buzz of the film adaptation. According to NPR, Walker has put aside a portion of the book’s sales to start paying back the banks he robbed in his past life.