It seems Paramount is looking to shake things up with Mission Impossible 6. Christopher McQuarrie recently confirmed he’ll return to direct the spy sequel, marking the first time in franchise history that a director will have a go at two installments. In another unconventional move, Tom Cruise announced the planned start of production for Mission Impossible 6 a week before Rogue Nation even arrived in theaters, and while that may be the norm for some studio sequels, Cruise has never rushed the Mission Impossible movies, allowing for 4-6 years between installments. Now, Showbiz 411 reports that Rebecca Ferguson is “signed, sealed and delivered for part 6” to return as her scene-stealing character Isla Faust, the double (triple? quadruple?) crossing MI6 agent who finally made a worthy match for Ethan Hunt.
That would make Ferguson the first female lead to ever return for a Mission Impossible sequel (not counting Michel Monaghan‘s brief cameo because it doesn’t count), a franchise that has been anywhere from “downright terrible” to “not awesome” towards its female characters in the past. And it’s just wonderful news. As Isla, Ferguson was the breakout performance in Rogue Nation — a cool, collected, and absolutely classic leading lady who tackled the action sequences with an unusual level of grace. Stealing the show from Tom Cruise is no easy feat, but Ferguson pulled it off and her return is exactly the news a lot of folks (myself included) have been waiting for.
Ferguson’s return also fits with a general trend that’s emerged over the last three Mission: Impossible films, which have transitioned from being the Tom Cruise Spectacular to much more of an ensemble effort. The result has been films that are generally speaking more fun, and a franchise that’s easier to invest in.
Now, of course it’s debatable if all these new change ups will take the franchise the right direction (except for the returning female character, because of course that’s a thing that should happen). After all, it was always fun to see a new director come in an put their stamp on the material, and I worry that the amount of time between installments is part of what allowed each of them to function so well. On the other hand, McQuarrie made an absolutely excellent Mission: Impossible sequel that incorporated all the best elements of the prior films into a single model, and given that he did it so recently, he probably doesn’t need as much time to prep. As for Ferguson’s return, there’s nothing not to love about that. I’d be happy to see her in all the Mission: Impossible movies forever, and then maybe some Isla Faust spinoffs on top.
And it seems everybody is crazy for more Ferguson at the moment. Since breaking out big time with Rogue Nation, she was considered for the female lead in Gambit, filmed the buzzed about The Girl on The Train, and landed the female lead opposite Michael Fassbender in The Snowman. Now, with another Mission: Impossible on the docket, she shows no signs of slowing down.