Staggered news reports regarding the future of the Mission: Impossible franchise have been becoming more frequent over the past couple of months; with news that the fourth movie in the franchise was possibly cancelled, was back on, might not feature Tom Cruise, was featuring Tom Cruise, and would see Simon Pegg reprising his role as lab-tech Benji; and over the past few days another piece of news has broken, and regards the franchise’s next big star.
We already know that Tom Cruise (fresh off his work as secret agent Roy Miller in the action/romantic-comedy Knight and Day) will be reprising his role as the series lead; super-spy Ethan Hunt; and that Pulp Fiction’s Ving Rhames will be returning as sidekick Luther Stickell, but Paramount Pictures (who are producing the picture) have now confirmed that the Oscar-nominated star of The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner, will be accompanying him, and possibly continuing the franchise alone at a later date.
It’s been well known for sometime now that Cruise’s Ethan Hunt may be taking a backseat and dropping out as the main emphasis of the series, which is why Paramount were so cautious about choosing an appropriate co-star to place the operative working alongside him (they were toying with a number of names; including Tom hardy, who was unfortunately booked up with his duties on the new Mad Max movie), but believe they have found a worthy actor in Renner, who should be able to successfully continue the franchise with spin-offs as soon as Tom Cruise’s character bows out.
In fact MI:IV can almost be classified as a sort of spin-off; as it’s not only placing a huge amount of emphasis on Renner’s character, but lowering the budget (mainly as a result of the lackluster Box Office results for Knight and Day in the U.S.), not picking up where the last film left off, and possibly not even including the words Mission Impossible in the title (according to a recent piece in Variety); and although Cruise is expected to return as Ethan Hunt in some capacity for MI:V, Jeremy Renner should then be fully established as the series’ leading man.
The script (which has been written by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec; who are known for writing the U.S. version of Life on Mars) details are still being kept an extremely tight secret from anyone who isn’t involved with the J.J. Abrams (Lost) produced, Brad Bird (Ratatouille) directed, movie that’s rumoured to see the return of Shelter’s Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and due to be released next year (the year before Renner can be seen playing Hawkeye in Marvel’s superhero mash-up The Avengers).