With the continued success of the Mission: Impossible franchise, and the fact that Tom Cruise is clearly immortal, it was no surprise that the franchise was given the green light to continue after the last film, Fallout, was a hit. However, what was a bit surprising was that when we were officially told Mission: Impossible 7 was on the way, we were also told that Mission: Impossible 8 was as well.
Not only that, but the two movies were going to be filmed back-to-back and would be set to release only about one year apart from each other. While this is certainly not the first time a franchise has made this move, it was an intriguing move from one that had already made six films without going that route before. Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie recently told the Light the Fuse podcast that the decision to go with two films came out of the need to have the space to tell a compelling emotional story, not simply for lead character Ethan Hunt, but the rest of the IMF team as well. According to McQuarrie...
And the reason there are two is quite simply when we went into making Fallout I said to Tom, ‘I really want to make this more of an emotional journey for Ethan.’ Knowing full well that that would be a longer movie because the action just consumes an obligatory amount of real estate. You’re only left then with so much room for story. So, I knew Fallout would run longer. Going into this, I said, ‘I want to take what we learned from Fallout and apply it to every character in the movie.’
Mission: Impossible films have a strong focus on action. It's not simply that they are "action movies" but that elaborate sequences using practical stunt work, usually by Tom Cruise himself, are part of what people are paying to see when they go to a Mission: Impossible movie. Christopher McQuarrie knows he needs to provide that, but with Mission: Impossible - Fallout he also wanted to provide a satisfying emotional journey for Cruise's character.
When he began to work on Mission: Impossible 7, Christopher McQuarrie wanted to expand on that and do even more. But with Fallout pushing the limits of length for what a M:I movie could be, the screenwriter realized that in order to have enough space to make the movie he wanted, he was going to need to make two movies. McQuarrie continued...
I want everybody to have an emotional arc; I just want the movie to have more feeling across the board. We know that with the addition of extra characters and the addition of storylines for the team, the movie’s gonna be three hours long. In reality that means with us doing it it will be 3 ½. Who are we kidding? Let’s just call it four, cut it in half and make it two movies. Now, the story can just kind of breathe.
While the Mission: Impossible films have always been vehicles for star Tom Cruise, the franchise has been about a team of secret agents, and if anything the series of films have embraced that aspect more as they have gone on rather than less. It's nice to see that other members of the team will get their time to shine as a result of getting two movies and they won't be trying to cram everything into one.
Originally planned for summer releases in 2021 and 2022, Mission: Impossible 7 will now be released in November 2021 with Mission: Impossible 8 following in the same month in 2022.