Fans holding their breath for an Ilsa spinoff from the Mission: Impossible franchise may want to put that idea to rest for now. Given the age of the Mission series it’s only natural that the idea of spinoffs have been discussed over the years. Jeremy Renner was famously pegged as potentially taking over the series after Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, but that idea was either abandoned or never true to begin with. But as the series solidified as a team-based franchise with Ghost Protocol, fans began sparking to Renner’s Brandt, Simon Pegg’s Benji, and then with Rogue Nation, Rebecca Ferguson’s now-iconic Ilsa Faust.
Ilsa was introduced as an enigmatic foil for Ethan Hunt in Rogue Nation, and their relationship was one of the best aspects of one of the best Mission films. Ferguson brought the fire once again in this summer’s exceptional Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and not only is Ferguson a bona fide movie star, but fans unsurprisingly want to see more of Ilsa Faust.
Collider recently hosted an IMAX screening of Fallout followed by a lengthy and tremendously insightful Q&A with writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, who also wrote and directed Rogue Nation. While we’ll be sharing the entirety of that Q&A on Collider soon, we wanted to share what McQuarrie had to say about the potential for an Ilsa spinoff first.
McQuarrie confirms the idea has been discussed, along with other spinoff ideas, but he and the others involved have come to the conclusion that Mission really is a team-based franchise:
“Rebecca and I have talked about it, [producer] Jake Myers and I have talked about it, Tom [Cruise] and I have talked about it, it’s this … the spinoff, when we talked about it was like, what would the movie be? We’ve talked about many Mission spinoffs, it’s not just about Ilsa. Mission is so much about the exploits of this character. What would the spinoffs then be shaped like? Would they still be Mission: Impossible movies? So much of what defines Mission is the fact that Tom Cruise is doing all of these crazy things.”
McQuarrie says as he and Ferguson began talking about it, he hit upon the idea to develop something else entirely for the actress:
“Rebecca and I were talking about it, and I said, ‘I’ve got a better idea. You’re Rebecca, like let’s give you your identity,’ and I’m developing stuff with Rebecca to be Rebecca. And that’s what I would like to see. I feel like if you make an Ilsa spinoff, it would always be like, ‘When’s Ethan gonna make his cameo?’ And the thing that’s not to be underestimated about the role of Ilsa Faust, is that she is played by Rebecca Ferguson, who is a star. And it is a star that a lot of people haven’t figured out, haven’t woken up to that fact. And I’m kind of at her service. We have such a good working relationship, she’s very trusting, there were many, many times where I’m like, ‘I can’t really explain to you what’s happening, ’cause I don’t know what’s happening in the next scene, but I need you do to this emotion right now,’ and she’s like, ‘Yeah, okay, I’ll do it, I don’t really know what you’re talking about, but I know what you need.’”
Earlier in the Q&A, McQuarrie mentioned a movie he wants to make, for which the studio will not return his call. As it turns out, this project is the one he has pegged for Ferguson:
“I would love nothing more than to see all of that talent put into a role that was not bound to this universe. I feel like Ilsa is part of a team. It’s like, what would a Benji movie be? What’s Benji without the rest of the team? And truly, what’s Ethan without the rest of the team? He’s always gonna need that around him. So, yeah, I would love to see— I have the thing, it’s that thing. It’s the other one that I can’t get made, it’s for her. And I’m like, ‘Just do it, it’s so good.’ It’s so good. I didn’t write the script. It’s so good. [I was] crying at the end.”
While McQuarrie declined to reveal the title of this project, he did say it’s a remake of an existing film or TV series, and it could be made for a modest budget:
“It’s a remake, and it’s so good. It’s a remake. And I’m one who’s like, ‘Don’t remake movies, unless,’ and it’s a very good movie, but a deeply flawed one, and you could just make a little change and put Rebecca Ferguson in and it’d be awesome…
This movie was completely scalable, I can make this movie for a fraction of what this cost. There’s no way I could make it for how much Fallout cost. I mean, if you did like the big, giant version, I couldn’t get to $100 million. I couldn’t get to $80 million—I shouldn’t say that, ’cause someday I’ll be in an office, and the executive will be going, ‘Look what you said on,’… But the biggest version of this movie isn’t that big, and I said, ‘Just tell me what the budget is and I’ll back into it.’ Because I’ve learned my lesson, from trying to go to them with my dream movies, which can’t really be done. And that’s not the issue. [The issue is] it’s not in their pipeline. It’s just not a thing. It’s not a slam-dunk, it’s not a … you know, the business is weird right now.”
I have no idea what this project is, but it’s a Rebecca Ferguson movie directed by Christopher McQuarrie, so I’m already sold. Here’s hoping that project gets off the ground someday, or that McQuarrie and Ferguson find something else to do. But as the filmmaker says, that project is unlikely to be an Ilsa spinoff.