Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 are reportedly planned as Tom Cruise‘s sendoff from the action franchise. Cruise has enjoyed a successful ride as IMF agent Ethan Hunt for more than 20 years following Mission: Impossible‘s debut in 1996. However, in more recent years, the action series and Cruise‘s role as Hunt have become more beloved. This really began with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, but Mission: Impossible – Fallout cemented the franchise’s status as a current Hollywood favorite. So much so that Paramount greenlit two sequels directed by Christopher McQuarrie and starring Cruise.
The plans for Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8 have not been easy to pull off, though. The movies were supposed to start a back-to-back shoot in early 2020, but COVID-19 lockdowns hindered the seventh movie right from the start. Although the first sequel has wrapped production, Mission: Impossible 8 still has to get off the ground. This has forced Paramount to repeatedly delay the movies initially set for 2021 and 2022 release dates but will now arrive in 2023 and 2024. It now seems like these movies will be the last time Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt.
According to a report from Variety, the plan for Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 is for them to serve as Cruise‘s sendoff from the franchise. The report notes that the films are eyed as a culmination of the franchise and Ethan Hunt’s individual journey in it. Plot details on Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 are still heavily guarded, so it is unclear what threat Ethan Hunt will go up against in his potential final outing. Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 wrapping up Hunt’s story is not confirmed by McQuarrie, Cruise, or Paramount at this point.
Tom Cruise hanging up Ethan Hunt’s spy gear after Mission Impossible 7 & 8 will only come after he surely delivers two more thrilling action blockbusters. There is already great anticipation for the seventh movie and what Cruise‘s next dangerous stunt will be. It also could explain why the sequels are bringing back so many different characters from across the franchise’s history, as wrapping up Ethan Hunt’s story should mean crossing paths again with former friends and foes. Of course, that will also be done while introducing new characters played by Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, and more.
If Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 are the final appearances of Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, it will mark the end of an incredible journey. Due to their delayed release dates, he will have played the IMF spy for nearly thirty years when everything is said and done. That’s quite a miraculous ride that easily puts other longtime cinematic journies, like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine or Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, to shame. While it might not be too surprising either considering Cruise’s age, it will certainly be an emotional experience in 2024 no matter how Ethan Hunt’s story concludes.