While Tom Cruise may not be going to space in the upcoming Mission: Impossible sequels, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie has still found a trio of “obscene” stunts for the actor to perform. Cruise has been upping the ante with each successive Mission: Impossible film, as the best franchise currently running is also the gold standard when it comes to practical effects. For Ghost Protocol, Cruise hung off the tallest building in the world. In Rogue Nation, he hung onto the side of an airplane while it took off into the sky. And in 2018’s action masterpiece Mission: Impossible – Fallout, he performed a HALO jump and piloted a helicopter in the same movie.
So what’s next? McQuarrie agreed to return to write and direct Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8 back-to-back, and with filming due to begin this year, he appeared on the Empire podcast to offer a minor tease of what fans can expect. He reiterated that Ethan Hunt will not be going to space, but assured us he’s found plenty of death-defying things for Tom Cruise to do on this planet:
“We’ve figured out three obscene things that he’s doing that I’m terrified of, that make the helicopter chase look like tinker toys.”
McQuarrie didn’t specify if those three things will all happen in Mission 7 or if they’re spaced out between 7 and 8, largely because he admits they don’t even really know how the two movies connect yet. If you’ve read or heard any interview with McQuarrie about his process, you know that both Rogue Nation and Fallout were malleable productions, during which the story and characters changed drastically throughout filming. The same was true of Ghost Protocol, for which McQuarrie came in during the middle of production and helped rework the story.
And it’s turned out great every single time, so who’s to argue with the process? For Mission 7 and 8, McQuarrie and Cruise both went in embracing this abnormal approach, and chose locations and set pieces before trying to nail down the story. McQuarrie said on the podcast that he just figured out the story for Mission 7 a month ago:
“Over the course of many movies that Tom and I have done together, our process has evolved and we’ve learned to trust the process. Not try to control the process… This was the first time where we really have the comfort and the support—and probably the exhaustion because we were still working on Top Gun: Maverick—to just not worry so much about where it was going and just go where it wanted to go. I figured out the story about four weeks ago… About a month ago I moved one essential piece of the puzzle… and suddenly I was able to outline the entire movie in eight minutes.”
McQuarrie says he’s been focused on mapping out the emotional arcs of the characters, including Henry Czerny’s Kittridge from the first Mission: Impossible. McQuarrie talked about why he brought the character back:
“Early in this process I had an inkling that there could be a place for Kittridge – the tone of the movie, the shape of the movie lent itself to that. I realized, ‘Kittridge has got to be in this scene.’ I had written it not knowing who was in it, and then suddenly Kittridge came into it and the scene was transformed, it was really fun. I got to call Henry Czerny and say, ‘You’re in! Will you be in it?’ He was great about it.”
McQuarrie wouldn’t specify exactly when filming begins or where it will be taking place, but again given the quality of the rest of the films—especially the ones McQuarrie had a hand in making—there’s no reason to believe he and Cruise are going to drop the ball now.
Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 will also star Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Nicholas Hoult, Shea Wigham, Simon Pegg, and Vanessa Kirby. Mission: Impossible 7 hits theaters July 23, 2021.