Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Unmade Mission: Impossible Sequels: What Really Happened?

Video digs into unmade Mission: Impossible sequels that would have been directed by the likes of Oliver Stone, David Fincher, Joe Carnahan

The seventh Mission: Impossible film, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, is currently in theatres (you can read our review HERE), and the eighth installment (Dead Reckoning Part Two) is scheduled to reach the big screen on June 28, 2024… but we’ll see if Paramount will be able to stick with that release date, or if they’re going to have to move it due to the ongoing Hollywood strikes. Eight films in twenty-eight years is a decent run – but over the decades, there have also been several Mission: Impossible sequels that have been developed and scrapped. Some elements from them have been worked into sequels that did make it into production, but the overall stories remain untold. And we dig into several of the unmade Mission: Impossible sequels in the new video embedded above!

The first Mission: Impossible sequel to be developed and scrapped was a version of Mission: Impossible II that would have been directed by Oliver Stone and would have told the story of franchise hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) taking on a sentient supercomputer that may have been called either the Linear Consciousness Accelerator, the Mind/Body Transfer Station, or the Evolution Room. The concept was sort of a precursor to sentient AI story told in the Dead Reckoning two-parter, but it would have been handled very differently. In fact, half of the story took place in Ethan’s subconscious, with the supercomputer attempting to infiltrate his mind.

Stone left the project and we got a John Woo Mission: Impossible II about Ethan trying to stop a viral outbreak – but then came time to figure out Mission: Impossible III, the sequel that had the roughest journey to production. Would it be an Ang Lee-directed film about the destruction of Wonders of the World? A dark, violent David Fincher film about the black market trade of human organs in Africa? A punk rock Joe Carnahan thriller about assassination, private militaries, Impossible Missions Force disavowals, and links between arms sales in the States, the Baltic, and the African West? It wouldn’t be any of those, because the movie ended up being directed by J.J. Abrams, who crafted his own story with the writers he brought with him.

The development of the Carnahan version got further than any other. Kenneth Branagh was cast as the villain, Carrie-Anne Moss was cast as Ethan’s fellow IMF agent Leah Quint, while Scarlett Johansson would play his protégé, a new IMF recruit. That version of Mission: Impossible III was just one month away from filming when Carnahan decided to walk away due to creative differences and script issues. Issues he clearly didn’t think would be solved by the hiring of Frank Darabont to do a fresh rewrite.

The Mission: Impossible franchise has been going smoothly for the last few entries, with Christopher McQuarrie sticking around to direct every new sequel. But before McQuarrie got involved, making a new Mission: Impossible could be quite a turbulent endeavor. If you want to hear more about the unmade sequels, check out the video!

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