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No need to act too surprised, since the massive success of Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol made this a safe bet, but the inevitable has finally become official: Tom Cruise will once again play Ethan Hunt. According to Deadline he's signed a deal to star in and produce what will be a fifth Mission: Impossible film, with plans to develop the new adventure alongside the chosen writer/director and Bad Robot, the production company headed up by J.J. Abrams (we're guessing Abrams is a little too busy to get especially involved himself).

Rumor broke out late last year that Christopher McQuarrie, who directed Cruise in Jack Reacher was the top choice for the job, and Deadline says there's no reason to believe that's changed. The fifth Mission: Impossible film had been described as a "big priority" for Paramount at the time, and even though Jack Reacher didn't smash any box office records, it made a healthy enough $215 million worldwide to keep McQuarrie in their good graces and to merit talk of a sequel. Still, he'll have a hell of a job following up Ghost Protocol-- or Ghotocol, if you like. That film made $209 million in the United States and a crazy $694 million total worldwide, buoyed by audiences willing to pay extra for the stunning IMAX sequences and rave reviews like ours.

Ghost Protocol wasn't just the biggest Mission: Impossible film of the series-- it was Cruise's biggest film ever. Can he top it? Well, he's Tom Cruise, so you know he's at least going to do his damn hardest to try.