Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol originally passed the torch
Seven years have past since the premiere of Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol and now some new information has been revealed regarding the original ending for the franchise’s fourth installment.
During an interview with Mission: Impossible podcast Light the Fuse (via Collider), cinematographer Robert Elswit (Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation) revealed that the 2011 film was originally supposed to be Tom Cruise’s last appearance as Ethan Hunt with possibly Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt set to takeover the franchise.
“The original version of this movie was at the end of it Tom Cruise stops being Ethan Hunt, The Agent; and becomes Ethan Hunt, The Secretary.” Elswit said. “The whole version of this was they were gonna put another IMF Mission unit together with another actor—maybe it’s Jeremy Renner, who knows who it is—and they’re gonna go through this series of wild events, and at the end Tom gets to be the Secretary and a new agent takes over the franchise. Which I think seemed kind of nutty, but that was kind of the marching orders.”
Elswit further added that the ending completely changed due to the sudden involvement of Academy Award winner Christopher McQuarrie, who came on board halfway through the film’s shooting. He said that McQuarrie and Cruise had worked together to rewrite and correct the original script’s issues in order to prevent Cruise from leaving as the blockbuster franchise’s main character.
“Chris came in and he kind of rewrote it, the last half, maybe more, and made it so that we had to change a few things that we shot at the beginning, like add lines, reshoot little pieces so that it all made sense. He tied the whole thing together and made it so that at the end of the movie, Tom ends up not becoming the Secretary but just goes on in his own lonely way.”
The Mission: Impossible franchise spans almost 25 years and six films, starting off with modest critical and major box office success in the first two films before launching its lead protagonist into grittier and more explosive stories, each film getting progressively better reviews than its predecessor, with the most recent installment, Fallout, earning the highest reviews for both the franchise and the action genre, currently maintaining a 97% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes while also acquiring the highest box office gross of the franchise at over $790 million worldwide.