When filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie wrote and directed Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, he famously quipped that he felt bad for the director of Mission: Impossible 6, because he had no idea how they’d top Tom Cruise hanging off an airplane as it takes off. It’s ironic, then, that not only was McQuarrie the one who ended up directing Mission 6, but he arguably topped that sequence with two major set pieces in Mission: Impossible – Fallout: Tom Cruise jumping out of an airplane, and Tom Cruise piloting a helicopter.
Fallout scored the biggest opening weekend for a Mission film to date and garnered massively positive reviews, so while the prospect of following the airplane set piece from Rogue Nation was daunting, pretty much everything about Fallout makes Mission: Impossible 7 a terrifying prospect from a director’s standpoint.
And yet, there’s something about McQuarrie’s two Mission films that feels incomplete. He introduced Isla Foust (Rebecca Ferguson) and Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) in Rogue Nation, and those characters played vital roles in Fallout which happened to be Mission‘s most direct sequel to date. And yet, it feels like the story that was started there still hasn’t necessarily come to a conclusion at the end of the film. So the question then is, would McQuarrie come back and direct Mission: Impossible 7?
As it turns out, that prospect has already been put to McQuarrie by both Cruise and Paramount Pictures, as the filmmaker revealed on the epic first part of Empire’s Spoiler Podcast interview:
“[Fallout editor] Eddie Hamilton, every day in the editing room was like, ‘Come on, man, it’s obviously a trilogy you’re coming back, you have to finish it, you didn’t kill Lane,’ and I was like, ‘It’s somebody else’s problem.’ Tom has asked, the studio has asked, and I was like, ‘You know maybe I’ve got an idea for…’ and then the reviews came out and I was like, ‘Get outta here. Just stop.’ I felt so bad for the director of Mission 6 and I feel even worse of the director of 7. I’d rather have leprosy than be in the position of the person having to confront the pressure of the hyperbole of this movie on their first day of shooting the film. It’s too much to confront. I’d need a long nap before I could contemplate it.”
The filmmaker also points out that since he rewrote the third act of Rogue Nation on the fly and reworked the middle portion of Fallout during a production break owing to Cruise’s broken ankle—and started filming both movies without a complete script—he’s set a precedent for himself on the Mission films that’s not exactly fun:
“The worst part is they’re like you don’t need a script, you don’t need to prep—you’ve done it twice!”
McQuarrie already broke with history by being the first director to repeat on the Mission franchise, and he’s Cruise’s go-to writer to punch up whatever film he’s working on (be it Edge of Tomorrow or The Mummy). It stands to reason that McQuarrie will probably be involved in Mission: Impossible 7 in some form, but it’s unclear if he would be willing to jump back into the fire yet again as the sole writer/director.
Paramount no doubt wants this sequel to happen due to the terrific box office and critical success of Fallout, and per McQuarrie they’ve already asked him about coming back, but I can also understand from McQuarrie’s perspective how those expectations would be incredibly scary.
As a huge fan of McQuarrie’s work I do hope he comes back, and if you’re at all interested in Mission: Impossible – Fallout or just filmmaking in general, I cannot recommend this full spoiler podcast enough. McQuarrie is full of fascinating, candid insight. Listen to it below.