The interesting thing about the Mission: Impossible franchise is that, more than any other blockbuster franchise out there, it has been a showcase for its directors. Though they all star the Tom Cruise-played character of Ethan Hunt, the first few Mission: Impossible movies tell very contained stories, and rely very little on what came before them. And when you think back to each movie and what makes them stand out in your mind, whether you picture the kinetic action of John Woo or the lens flares of J.J. Abrams, it’s that the style of their directors was so prominently on display. That’s been a fun exercise so far, but one that may be called into question soon.
The big news of the day, as far as Mission: Impossible is concerned, is that a fourth sequel has been confirmed as being in the planning stages. According to a THR report, when asked at a shareholder’s meeting whether there were “any plans to develop an additional sequel,” Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman replied, “Oh, yes.”
That’s probably a no-brainer, seeing as Ghost Protocol performed so well for the company, but for the first time ever it brings up an interesting question…will Tom Cruise be the only one coming back? Ghost Protocol was so much better than the other Mission: Impossible movies, and such a financial improvement over the third film’s performance, that Dauman’s enthusiastic affirmative makes sense; but did that movie end up so good that for the first time ever the new-director-every-film pattern will be broken? Will Paramount executives be tempted to bring director Brad Bird back and make a straight Ghost Protocol sequel? With the introduction of the Jeremy Renner character as a possible rival to Ethan Hunt, and the fact that, for the first time ever, Ghost Protocol tried to tie in plotlines from the previous films, it kind of makes sense.
Ditching the new set of eyes, new take on the material tradition that Mission: Impossible established would be bittersweet for a second or two, but Cruise, Renner, and Bird being back together to bring us high stakes action scenarios would probably wash that bad taste out of our collective mouths pretty quick. Consider this a vote for Ghost Protocol 2. What do you think?