Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8 will essentially be one film that was split into two parts. In a podcast with Light The Fuse, director Christopher McQuarrie explains just why such a decision was made. It had to do largely with the character’s emotional journeys that all added up to a running time of 2 hours 40 minutes, with every single scene in it being essential to the central storyline.
The desire to add a rich, emotional journey for every character is something that came from the success of Mission: Impossible – Fallout. The last movie in the franchise made $787.4 million worldwide, becoming the highest grossing movie in the franchise. McQuarrie wanted to expand upon this aspect of the movie and spread it to all characters across the series.
Going into this, I said, ‘I want to take what we learned from Fallout and apply it to every character in the movie. I want everyone to have an emotional arc… I just want the movie to have more feeling across the board’. We realized we had a movie that was 2 hours, 40 minutes long. And every scene in it was necessary.
The split into two movies make Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8 essentially one single large movie. This approach isn’t entirely new; back in 2003, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were similarly split into two parts released month apart when they were one, big giant movie and even filmed together. Similarly, Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 was one single 4-hour movie Kill Bill before the studio suggested splitting it into two to maximize revenue as well as ensure that Tarantino gets to keep all scenes in the movie.
The above examples also highlight the pros and cons of such an approach. In the case of Kill Bill, the approach worked and it added a lot more dimension and layers to the overall story that would’ve been lost in the editing room had it been a single film. On the other hand, while The Matrix Reloaded was reasonably well received, The Matrix Revolutions suffered from the cut and became what was essentially the big third-act of a 5-hour movie. This led to bad reviews and while I tend to disagree, the objective fact remains that it just wasn’t as well received.
If Mission: Impossible‘s next two installments have a single 2 hour 40 minute script, it could suggest a tighter connection between the movies which could bode well for the movies as a whole. Here’s hoping the sequels are simultaneously able to up their action game as well as add some rich, thematic materials and enriching character arcs to the overarching storyline.
Mission: Impossible 7 is due for release on Nov 19, 2021. Mission: Impossible 8 will follow on Nov 4, 2022. It stars returning players Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Fergusson, Vanessa Kirby and Henry Czerny with series newcomers Hayley Atwell, Nicholas Hoult, Pom Klementeiff and Shea Whigham.