Is it Possible for Mission: Impossible to Survive Without Tom Cruise?

The Mission Impossible films have been so popular that the espionage franchise may be able to continue without Tom Cruise. But will the franchise be able to pull it off?

Nick Carver

Apr 13, 2022

movie news

The Mission: Impossible franchise has been critically and economically successful, but that does not imply it could continue without Tom Cruise as its major character. With each succeeding movie, the Mission Impossible franchise has consistently impressed both reviewers and spectators. Mission Impossible 7 and Mission Impossible 8 will attempt to maintain the franchise's success in 2023 and 2024.

The Mission Impossible film's $3.5 billion box office haul has inevitably caused some skeptics to wonder whether the franchise could support a spinoff. This question, on the other hand, prompts a follow-up enquiry. Specifically, studios wishing to cash in on the series' popularity must determine if Mission Impossible could exist and prosper without its star, or whether the brand, like the Pirates of the Caribbean films, is reliant on one huge name to stay profitable.

Despite Tom Cruise's enormous notoriety, the Mission Impossible films are the only significant franchise that he has maintained during his multi-decade career. In every Mission Impossible film, Cruise portrays Ethan Hunt, a brave super-spy, and he will reprise his role in Mission Impossible 7 and Mission Impossible 8. Mission Impossible may be the first franchise to effectively replace Cruise because it is his sole successful franchise. The question of whether or not this would work, on the other hand, is one that fans must examine a variety of considerations.

mission impossible, tom cruise, ethan hunt

While Cruise is an A-list movie star, his star power alone was not enough to propel the Mission Impossible franchise forward. Following all, it took over thirty years for Top Gun: Maverick to be made after the original's triumph, and that tremendous smash was one of Cruise's star-making vehicles. Instead, the popular ensemble of the Mission Impossible franchise is to thank for the film's current success, which has resulted in more positive reviews and box office receipts. While critical acclaim and economic success are unusual for a long-running franchise, Mission Impossible's success is founded in the same thing that keeps the Fast & Furious franchise going strong. Both blockbuster action franchises have an over-the-top sense of fun that doesn't stop the films from being suspenseful throughout since the enormous ensemble portrays believable (though larger-than-life) people that spectators care about.

mission impossible, tom cruise, ethan hunt

Because fans of the Mission: Impossible franchise want to learn more about and see more of Simon Pegg's Benji, Ving Rhames' Luther, and Rebecca Ferguson's Isla Faust, the movies could – on paper – shift to concentrating on them and avoid addressing Cruise's absence if the lead went on. However, this isn't always the case, since the team is only well-liked because they share a common coworker around whom all of their pranks revolve. Because the long-running, star-studded ensemble is a well-established team with outstanding chemistry, the supporting cast of the Mission Impossible series is a huge draw for the franchise. Despite the fact that the Mission Impossible cast has grown as an ensemble over time, and the otherwise identical Fast & Furious films were able to withstand lead Paul Walker's tragic death, Cruise's films have never been able to de-center their hero. The ensemble of Fast & Furious portrays a family structure in which everyone plays an equal part, but the Mission Impossible team is more akin to James Bond's Q, Miss Moneypenny, and M. They're excellent backers, but there's no denying who the real star is.

mission impossible, tom cruise, ethan hunt

While a small-screen spinoff sans Cruise would succeed, a full-fledged big-budget film starring the rest of the Mission Impossible team rather than the franchise's headliner would be wrong. Cruise is unquestionably the star of each Mission Impossible film, from his daring feats to his personality. Since the beginning of the franchise, the Mission Impossible films have positioned the rest of the ensemble in positions that highlight Hunt's strengths and allow him to carry off more risky heists. However, outside of Cruise's role, the ensemble has never developed a bond, and seeing the Mission Impossible crew function without him would be equivalent to watching Q and M get along without Bond - although entertaining for a few minutes, it isn't enough to sustain a series.

mission impossible, tom cruise, ethan hunt

Recently, Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo proved himself to be wise beyond his years when the actor was asked about a spinoff from the Netflix hit centering on him and fellow fan-favorite Joe Keery’s characters, Dustin and Steve. Matarazzo noted that Dustin and Steve worked precisely because viewers only saw their schemes in small doses and that the duo could not sustain a full-length series alone. This problem is replicated in the Mission Impossible franchise, which has comic relief characters who are amusing when they are annoying Cruise's Hunt, scary villains when Hunt is pursuing them, and stoic coworkers who have moments of startling action star brilliance while aiding Cruise. None of these characters, however, are likely to be movie stars since their attraction is limited to a plot centered on Cruise's Hunt.

mission impossible, tom cruise, ethan hunt

A successful Mission Impossible spinoff would need to feel nothing like the original Mission Impossible movies in terms of tone, much how Young Sheldon handled the dilemma of how to reinvent The Big Bang Theory by altering the actors, setting, and style of the series. The only way to make this work is to follow Hobbs and Shaw's lead and focus on individual supporting characters rather than trying to bring the entire group back together and cover the Cruise-shaped hole in the centre of their dynamic. A background prequel focusing on a darker supporting character, such as Sean Harris's villain Solomon Lane or Vanessa Kirby's White Widow, may suffice. This would give the franchise a more adult tone and prevent the sense of being a Mission Impossible rip-off, while also fleshing out current characters that fans want to learn more about. A comic spinoff starring Benji and company, on the other hand, could not equal Cruise's movie office success, but it might offer a low-stakes look at the world of the Mission Impossible series, giving fans a fresh new viewpoint on the espionage phenomenon. In any case, there are ways for the Mission: Impossible series to continue without Tom Cruise.

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