Speculation: I THINK I might have decoded where they are going with Mission:Impossible 7 and 8..
So, we know Tom Cruise is doing lots of epic stunts. Including parachuting from a bike in mid air. On fire. In his underpants. Ok : I exaggerate. No pants at all. 😉 But seriously, Tom, stop it.
Use green screen. We know you are a big macho man. No need to die trying to entertain us. It is your ACTING and screen presence and star quality that are key to your power. As always. And they can be again, indefinitely IF you of course wish to continue playing parts of interest into your 60s and beyond.
With that in mind..I think I have a valid theory on where Ethan Hunt ends up in the next Mission movies. What if he turns..bad? Consider the evidence / logic here..
- Tom can play bad. Vampires. Hitmen. Drug Runners. Dodgy Dealers. LAWYERS! He CAN convince as a villain /anti-hero. Why not give him the chance in his own franchise?
- IMF has a history of bad apples. Phelps? Dougray Scott! Is it possible that they perchance have a kind of Manchurian Candidate syndrome going on? As in these black ops guys simply burn out, almost on command, subconsciously?
- Cue Ethan against the clock: man vs self? He need not go fully eeeevil; just dark / off grid and this time by choice. As in assassination? A heist for hire? But still in a race to keep control, possibly with Kittridge (Henry Czerny) hot on his tail? Think Parallax View meets Nick of Time? Conspiracy thriller, possibly concluding in a race across Washington DC to THAT theme tune.
- Creates DRAMA for the WHOLE TEAM. What if THEY, too, are suffering the same programming? Remember Luther started as a bad dude and Ving Rhames played that far better than the best buddy / wise elder routine. Benji clearly has issues, too? Indeed, enables cameos from ALL the old team from the past 6 movies. Possibly with Ethan trying to warn them all of imminent meltdown? Or indeed THEY being recruited to take HIM down? Endless possibilities here. ALL setting up loosely yet clearly connected stunt set-pieces.
- People often say the series lacks cohesive character. Nonsense. THIS IS ITS CHARACTER! THIS is its LOGICAL end point. EVERYTHING has been coming to this point. Notice nobody was surprised when Ethan went rogue before. Remember how quickly Russia assumed the IMF had indeed detonated a nuke in the Kremlin? It’s all ‘there’, to the extent that FALLOUT toys with the idea of Ethan having fallen, already.
Above all? It’s about TONE. Go dark and edgy but not so far off that you lose audience appeal or charm or gloss. Leave things open, perhaps? As in we do not know at the end of part 8 if Ethan lived or died? If he did go fully ‘dark’? But avoids either killing him indulgently or retiring him bathetic-ally into mentor at desk mode?
All speculation, of course. And yet we DO know that they are after a Thomas Crown /Pink Panther vibe in style. Hence Hayley Atwell as the baddie. Maybe she is out for revenge and wishes to expose the IMF? Possibly Phelps’ daughter? High stakes global gambling. Espionage. And a constant thread of tension. Does the hero turn bad with the girl and run away? Anything is (im)possible..