One of the more interesting hallmarks of the Mission: Impossible franchise is that while it has maintained its cast across five films, it is yet to have a director make more than one. The most recent film, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, saw Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) write and direct, following in the footsteps of Brian De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird.
Following the success of Rogue Nation, there was a safe assumption made that the franchise would go out looking for a new director who could dangle Tom Cruise from some new height.
With Tom Cruise recently saying that they plan to shoot the sequel next summer (which is a pretty sharp turnaround), Paramount’s search for a new director led them back into familiar territory. Christopher McQuarrie confirmed today via Twitter that he has accepted the mission to return:
Mission: Accepted #MI6
— ChristopherMcQuarrie (@chrismcquarrie) November 30, 2015
According to a Variety story last week, McQuarrie was already confirmed to be coming back to write the next one. While he doesn’t specify in his confirmation, it’s being widely reported by major outlets that he will direct.
There are two reactions here. First, the fact that the Mission: Impossible series is going away from the one-and-done director rhythm is a little disappointing. That was one of the things that made the franchise fun, that level of mystery as to how each filmmaker would leave their stamp upon the franchise. Does sticking with the same director for a few films cause the franchise to go stale?
That’s the other thing. McQuarrie made a very satisfying Mission: Impossible film, one that introduced the wider world to the immensely talented Rebecca Ferguson, amped up the stunts and brought the core cast back together in a fun way. It ultimately set up a world in which IMF is doing alright, living under the oversight of Alec Baldwin and free to carry out more missions. Rogue Nation didn’t have to breath new life into the franchise, it’s been going strong for some time now, but it did breathe further life into the franchise.
It will be interesting to see how things play out with McQuarrie and M:I’s first second date with a director. Even though the formula is broken, the choice might still be correct.