Is Tom Cruise Staging His Exit From the 'Mission: Impossible' Franchise?

More than two decades after the first Mission: Impossible film hit theaters, the franchise is arguably more popular than ever, thanks in large part to last year's Mission: Impossible - Fallout. With reports emerging that Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie will direct the next two sequels, it's possible that the two adventures could be star Tom Cruise's last.

Various installments in the series have been helmed by ambitious and accomplished directors, from Brian De Palma to John Woo to J.J. Abrams, with the only constant in the series being Cruise. The key detail in reports about the franchise's future is that the next two sequels will be filmed back to back and land in theaters in the summers of 2021 and 2022. This could be early confirmation that the planned story was too big for one film and, as a sendoff to Cruise, the final chapter in Ethan Hunt's journey has to be spread out into two films.

Final chapters in beloved sagas, like Twilight or Harry Potter, have been broken up into two parts to not only accommodate all of the exciting reveals, but also to maximize profits for a final outing. Breaking up the final chapter isn't a practice only utilized for books, asAvengers: Infinity War was initially announced as being broken up into two parts before Marvel Studios instead chose to give each film its own unique title.

Cruise will be 60 years old when the eighth film in the series is released, with the film potentially posing physical limits for the performer. While filming a stunt for the previous film, Cruise broke his ankle, causing complications with the shoot. With Cruise's tendencies to do his own stunts and the series regularly amplifying the death-defying scenarios, the actor could find himself in an incredibly dangerous situation.

Given how many locales the action series has explored, many audiences are wondering if a trip to space is in the cards. Cruise previously detailed that it wouldn't outside the realm of possibility.

"We've thought about it," Cruise admitted to Collider. "It's like how do we do it? It's the mechanics of getting it there. How do you build a sequence there and how long can we have that sequence? Because if I went up and just dropped, it's the kind of time — how do you put that into the structure of a screenplay of a Mission? When we're doing these things, there's so much story going on. As opposed to just a cool shot, we want character and story going throughout. I can't help but look at that building up here or at the Eiffel Tower and seeing stories. What could the team do and what could we do? But we have thought about that."

Stay tuned for details on the Mission: Impossible franchise.


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