In 1996, the world of espionage changed forever: Ethan Hunt was born. In Mission: Impossible, the super secret spy played by Tom Cruise became a global sensation, along with the classic TV theme song that anyone can hum on cue. Two years ago, a seemingly ageless Cruise took up the part for the fourth time in the Brad Bird-helmed Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which was a massive box office success. And now Cruise will accept another mission in the franchise.
No title or director has been attached to M:I 5 at this point, but with Cruise on board we can be fairly certain the film won’t break from the M:I canon (more crazy prosthetic face masks, please). While franchises like Bourne branched out with spin-offs (replacing Matt Damon as the rogue spy with Jeremy Renner), this would amount to sacrilege in the M:I world—Tom Cruise is Ethan Hunt.
There are rumours that Christopher McQuarrie might be taking on the film, reuniting the director with Cruise after Jack Reacher. (They’ve also worked together on Valkrie and McQuarrie was tapped to pen Top Gun 2 before that project was squashed.) While Jack Reacher didn’t fare too well domestically, it was a success overseas. With this in mind, studios are banking on the McQuarrie + Cruise formula being a profitable one again.
The M:I films are interesting in terms of Cruise’s current career, as on his own he can’t always sell movies anymore. The underwhelming box office returns of Knight and Day, Rock of Ages, and most recently Oblivion suggest that at home Cruise doesn’t have the same pull he once did. But if Mission: Impossible 4 proved anything, Ethan Hunt still does.