Believe it or not, it was a full 18 years ago that the big screen Mission: Impossible franchise got underway. It was all the way back in 1996 that director Brian De Palma first introduced us Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt and Ving Rhames' Luther Stickell, and the characters have been come back again and again in the years since. And while Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol kind of shortchanged us on the Ethan/Luther relationship, the good news is that problem is going to be repaired in Christopher McQuarrie's upcoming Mission: Impossible 5, as previewed in the special Tweet below.
That photo, courtesy of McQuarrie's personal Twitter account, is our first official look at the main cast of Mission: Impossible 5 and shows that Simon Pegg's Benji Dunn and Jeremy Renner's William Brandt will be joining Ethan and Luther in the battle against evil terrorists who wish to spread chaos and destruction around the globe. It's so great to see Cruise and Rhames back together side-by-side (okay, not literally), that this feels like the perfect opportunity to look back at their work together through the years.
First we are going to travel back to the first Mission: Impossible all the way back in 1996 - a time when the internet wasn't seen as a database for high-res movie stills, meaning that it's extremely difficult to find a quality still from films of that era. But just because we had to stitch together the below image doesn't mean that our memories of Hunt and Stickell's time together are any less sharp, as we still fondly remember their adventure trying to clear their names and find the mole inside the Impossible Missions Force.
Our memories of John Woo's Mission: Impossible II are a little less fond, as the movie is seen by just about everybody as being the low-point in the franchise. For as many bad moves as the movie made, however, at least it had the good sense to recognize that awesome chemistry between Cruise and Rhames in the first movie and bring them back as the only recurring characters.
Like its predecessor, J.J. Abrams' Mission: Impossible III also almost completely ignored all continuity established in the earlier Mission: Impossible films, but, again, the pattern held that both Cruise and Rhames would be the only ones to return. Of course, this was also the sequel that introduced us to the aforementioned Benji Dunn, who is pictured with the duo below:
Finally, there's Brad Bird's Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which is actually pretty much the opposite of Mission: Impossible II - it's the best movie in the franchise, but unfortunately it's also the one that features the least amount of Ving Rhames. Watching the film for the first time I was actually worried that he wouldn't show up and that he would disappear from the series forever (like so many characters before him), but thankfully the final scene made sure everything is still right in the universe.
In case you couldn't tell, Mission: Impossible 5 is now in production, though I must say that I'm upset we don't see Paula Patton's Jane Carter pictured in the Tweet above. Hopefully she's just going to be joining the boys at a later date and isn't actually being written out completely. We'll be sure to have more about the film for you in the coming weeks, and you'll be able to see the movie when it arrives in theaters Christmas Day 2015.