Though we weren’t exactly lacking in popcorn movies last year, one of the most fun times I had in a movie theater in 2011 was most certainly Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, made his live-action debut in a big way with the crowd pleasing fourth entry in the Mission: Impossible franchise. What’s not to love about Tom Cruise playing out a death defying action sequence thousands of feet in the sky on a giant IMAX screen? Given that a different director has helmed each film in the franchise, most weren’t exactly expecting Bird to return for the next installment. The director has now, unsurprisingly, confirmed that he’s unlikely to helm Mission: Impossible 5, but he also revealed that they changed the film’s ending during the middle of production.
Hit the jump to see what he had to say, but beware of obvious spoilers for the ending of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
First up, here’s what Bird had to say when asked if he would be returning for Mission: Impossible 5 during an interview with Crave Online:
“No, I think that one of the things that’s fun about the series is that they always pull in a different director and try to get a different kind of take on the premise. I’d probably be open to looking at it, but I think that part of one of the successes of the franchises is that they’re always reassessing it with a new director.”
Though I’d love nothing more than to see Bird take another stab at the Mission: Impossible universe, he’s ultimately right in that what makes the series fun is that each movie has a completely different feel borne out of the director’s vision.
During the course of the interview, Bird revealed that they filmed much of Ghost Protocol with the assumption that Michelle Monaghan’s character (Ethan Hunt’s wife at the end of Mission: Impossible III) had died:
“Well, we were well into the film thinking that she had been killed, and filmed quite a bit of the film thinking that she wasn’t around, and we just kept thinking that that kind of cast the previous movie in a negative light because it’s kind of like all that stuff that he went through to keep her alive in the last one didn’t ultimately amount to anything.”
“Simon Pegg mentioned that it was kind of like the feeling that you had about Aliens after seeing Alien 3, where she goes through unbelievable hell to save a couple of people, and then both of them died before the third movie.”
Though the very last moment of Ghost Protocol does feel a little stunted, the reasoning behind Bird and Cruise’s decision is sound. Nevertheless, Bird crafted a killer of a live-action debut and I can’t wait to see what kind of film project he decides to tackle next.