Here we go again.
Tom Cruise was in a box office slump (as covered elsewhere on the site). A new Mission Impossible movie pulled him out of it. Now, he has multiple new movies on the way. What’s the difference this time? One of those new movies will be another Mission Impossible sequel because Paramount isn’t going to wait four years to make another one of those.
So, what specific movies await the world’s most famous Scientologist?:
Jack Reacher 2
According to THR, “Sources say Paramount has finalized plans to start shooting Jack Reacher 2 in November with Ed Zwick directing. Paramount and Skydance, partners on the M:I and Jack Reacher franchises, intend to release the sequel in late 2016. Jack Reacher grossed $80.1 million domestically and $138.3 million overseas — where Cruise has remained far more of a draw. Paramount initially balked at making a sequel, but the movie, based on the book series by Lee Child, ended up turning a profit thanks to ancillary markets.”
Ed Zwick has been directing movies almost as long as Tom Cruise has been acting in them. Remember the original About Last Night… with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore in 1986? If not, you might at least remember that they remade that movie last year with an African-American cast. Well, the one in ’86 was Zwick’s debut and he followed that up with 1989’s Glory and has since directed movies like Legends of the Fall (94), Courage Under Fire (‘96), The Siege (‘98) and Blood Diamond (’06). Most importantly to this conversation, he directed Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai (’03). He’ll be replacing the first Jack Reacher’s director, Christopher McQuarrie, who was too busy making Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation when Jack Reacher 2 went into development.
I’ve yet to see Jack Reacher, but the one thing I keep hearing is that in the book series the titular character is a tall, gruff fellow which makes the notoriously shorter-than-you’d-expect Tom Cruise a laughably terrible casting choice. Well, not so much if you’ve never read the books in which case it probably just looks like one of Cruise’s normal, non-sci-fi movies. The plot – a retired member of the United States Army Military Police Corps. roams the country snuffing out evil away from the law – sounds an awful lot like The Equalizer.
Again from THR, “Another test for Cruise will be Mena, a 1980s drug thriller from Doug Liman, the director of Edge of Tomorrow. Although Liman nearly is done shooting, Universal won’t open Mena until Jan. 6, 2017. Cruise stars as a real-life former TWA pilot who smuggled drugs for the Medellin Cartel in the 1980s before becoming a DEA informant.”
Mission Impossible 6
So, we’ve got Jack Racher 2 in late 2016, Mena in early 2017. Plus, “Paramount now wants to shoot Mission: Impossible 6 during summer 2016 for June/July 2017 release.” That’s going to be a lot of Tom Cruise in a 7-10 month period.
Those are just the movies which are apparently guaranteed to happen. There’s also the on-going talks of a “Top Gun 2,” which Cruise will only commit to if they let him hang on the sides of one of the fighter jets while it performs stunts at an air show. Or I assume that’s the kind of thing he meant when he said he’d only do it if they did practical stunts with minimal CGI.
Also, “Edge of Tomorrow 2” is still a thing Cruise is attempting to will into existence, perhaps wisely sensing that a sequel could capitalize on the strong word-of-mouth the original film continues to gain as more and more people find it on home video and cable TV. Christopher McQuarrie wanted nothing to do with it, and then Cruise told him his story idea over a dinner meeting, possibly with the some frightening conviction he reportedly shows if anyone ever embarrasses him in front of David Miscaviage. As McQuarrie told Uproxx (via SlashFilm), “When we went out to dinner when we were making Mission and Tom said, ‘I have an idea for the sequel to Edge,’ and I said, ‘I don’t want to f*cking hear it. I do not want to know!’ And he pitched the idea to me and he finished pitching it, I was like, ‘Goddammit, why did you do that?'”
But I don’t understand, Mr. McQuarrie. Why would you be upset over a silly little thing like that?
The idea is there. At worst, it’s the kernel of an idea – which is, on one hand, great, but on the other hand, I know what a nightmare that is. I know that I’ll be in the void trying to figure that out. And even then when it came out in the press after Tom had mentioned it, right away, there were people on social media saying, “Don’t do it, it should never have a sequel, etc., etc.” And I’m just laughing because I’m like, “You guys don’t even know what we are talking about! You have no idea!” Look, that was one of the best creative teams I’ve ever worked with as far as a team of rivals: Emily is one facet of that; Doug Liman is a completely different and opposing force; Tom Cruise is another. And there I am in the middle, just playing to these three really strong, really smart people.
Well, that makes more sense. With the way Edge of Tomorrow ends, I don’t totally know what story is left to be told, but if McQuarrie says they have a workable idea it’ll be interesting to see if they can make it happen. If so, they’ll then encounter the biggest mystery in all of this: what do even you call the sequel? Edge of Tomorrow 2? Live. Die. Repeat. 2? Something totally different?