Misión Imposible celebrates its 25th anniversary as one of the most successful and acclaimed action franchises in the seventh art
The saga starring Tom Cruise has raised more than 3.75 billion dollars worldwide, and has an entourage of faithful waiting for its seventh installment
The franchise, which in these 25 years has been changing directors, seems to have found the perfect formula for success with the incorporation of Christopher McQuarrie, responsible for the last two installments
This 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the premiere of one of the most iconic action movies ever from the seventh art: Mission Impossible. Directed by the legendary Brian de Palma, the man behind ‘The Phantom of Paradise’ (1974), ‘Femme Fatale’ (2002), or ‘Double Body’ (1984), this first installment of the adventures of the intrepid Ethan Hunt was a complete pitch that blew up the box office and that marked the beginning of a millionaire franchise that even today, a quarter of a century later, continues to add tapes and tapes. And with enormous success.
We refer to the figures: since the premiere of ‘Mission Impossible’, the saga that stars and produces Tom Cruise has raised more than $ 3.57 billion worldwide. Its six deliveries have far exceeded the budget invested, and although it is true that ‘Mission Impossible III’ suffered a small puncture when it did not reach 400 million in collection, the last three installations of the saga have, in a word, petado , far exceeding 600 million dollars and receiving the general applause of the critics, who have fallen in love with its extraordinary spectacularity.
His last part, ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’, the highest grossing of all, totaled almost 800 million and was applauded as one of the best action movies in recent history, a fact that shows that the franchise is in top shape. Now, fans anxiously await the premiere of ‘Mission Impossible 7’, which has had to delay its filming due to the coronavirus pandemic and will not hit our screens until September 2022. The film will form a kind of bilogy together with ‘Mission Impossible 8’, which will begin shooting soon and which, according to the director, will have more stunts and high-risk action scenes than its predecessor. But while we wait, let’s take a look at the history of the franchise and see how it has changed over the past 25 years.
A television series
Despite the fact that the first part of the franchise was released in 1996, the beginnings of ‘Mission Impossible’ date back to 1960, the decade in which the homonymous television series that would be the germ of the saga. Released in the middle of the Cold War, the series, which aired between 1966 and 1973 on CBS and then, between 1988 and 1900, would return to the small screen on ABC, follows the adventures of a group of spies led by Mr. Phelps and Drink straight from the hit ‘James Bond’, which at that time had already made the leap to the big screen embodied by the eternal Sean Connery.
From the series, the films would inherit the main theme of Lalo Schriffin, his spirit as a spy saga and the character of Mr. Phelps, but little else. In the mid-90s, Paramount, which had the rights to the series and had been thinking about how to bring it to the big screen for some time, teamed up with Tom Cruise, who at that time had a production company along with Paula Wagner, to carry out the project, which, after many comings and goings, It ended up being directed by Brian De Palma and scripted by David Koepp and Robert Towne. (Although Steven Zaillian also participated in the writing).
Unlike the series, where the protagonism was shared by different characters, in ‘Mission Impossible’ the importance fell on Ethan Hunt. He was the heart of the story, who should be in the foreground. To emphasize it and, incidentally, get rid of a group of characters that he did not believe had “personality”, De Palma decided to start the film by killing the original spy team and put a spin on the Mr. Phelps character, the historical leader, who would end up being a traitor.
To the original cast of the series and the most staunch fans, these decisions sat like a jug of cold water, but the general public went crazy with ‘Mission Impossible’, which would end up becoming the third highest grossing film of 1996. Considering the success, everything seemed to indicate that in the following sequels Paramount would have De Palma again to delve into the adventures of Ethan Hunt, but nothing is further from the truth.
According to rumors, De Palma and Tom Cruise did not get along at all, so for ‘Mission Impossible II’ it was decided to put John Woo, el director de Hard Target, at the controls. The script was rewritten by Towne, although based on a story by Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore and with a curious peculiarity: he had to write based on some action scenes already planned, that is to say, to mount a story in which they fit perfectly.
In ‘Mission Impossible II’, the Ethan Hunt’s figure gained even more importance. In addition to him, from the first film there was only one character, Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), who is the only one, along with Hunt, who appears in all six parts of the saga. Like the first part, ‘Mission Impossible II’ was a success at the box office, managing to become the highest grossing of all year 2000, but in Mission Impossible III things would change.
The disaster of ‘Mission Impossible III’
This third part of the saga began with problems, because David Fincher, the one who had been chosen to carry out the project, decided to leave it after a year of work due to “creative differences”. Joe Carnahan, Narc’s director, was chosen to replace him, and for a time he worked with screenwriter Dan Gilroy to create a work more like those of the 1970s movies. Paramount, however, had something else in mind, and contacted Towne again to rewrite the entire script. In case there was no trouble, Carnahan decided to get off the ship after fifteen months of work, which caused the release date to be delayed and several actors who were going to appear, such as Kenneth Branagh or Scarlett Johansson, left the cast due to scheduling problems.
‘Mission Impossible III’, at the end, was directed by JJAbrams, the one from Lost. The script, reviewed by two of his collaborators on the Alias series, reinforced the original group dynamics of the series and included a couple more characters, such as a wife for Hunt, played by Michelle Monaghan, or an arch enemy, played by Philip. Seymour Hoffman. Too added a humorous touch that previous movies didn’t have, but even so, this third part did not perform as well as its predecessors. In fact, it is the lowest grossing film of the saga, although the fault is not so much of the film as of Tom Cruise, who at that time was in the doldrums.
The saga is renewed
After a disappointing box office, everything seemed to indicate that the Mission Impossible saga had concluded, at least with Tom Cruise at the helm. However, both the saga and the actor returned in 2011 with a film that marked the renewal of the entire franchise.
‘Mission Impossible: Phantom Protocol’ was a film that nobody expected and that put the franchise back in the eye of fans of action movies. Directed by Brad Bird, the genius behind animated film masterpieces such as ‘The Iron Giant’, ‘Ratatouille’ or ‘The Incredibles’, the film was a gift for fans of the saga, who could return to it with a funny film, full of spectacular scenes and in which the relationships between characters shine with their own light. The libretto was originally signed by Josh Applebaum and André Nemec, but it was almost entirely rewritten by Christopher McQuarrie, who would be in charge of writing and directing the fifth installment of the saga: ‘Mission Impossible: Secret Nation’.
This fifth part kept the humor and the importance of the dynamics between characters in the fourth film. It brought in the first truly relevant female character in the entire series, Agent Ilsa Faust, played by Rebecca Ferguson, and brought back the suspense of the first film of all, De Palma’s. His success was notorious, and McQuarrie repeated the formula in ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’, the highest grossing and applauded installment of the entire franchise, in which, by the way, the character of Michelle Monaghan returns.
In Mission Impossible 7 and Mission Impossible 8, McQuarrie to return to direct and write. Tom Cruise will repeat as Ethan Hunt and the rest of the cast will also return to their respective roles. Will have to see what they have prepared for us.