Why Mission: Impossible 6 Chose Fallout As Its Title

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation Tom Cruise Rebecca Ferguson

Mission: Impossible 6 now has a new moniker to get us excited about the next stunt-filled adventure in the franchise: Mission: Impossible - Fallout. It is arguably a pretty badass name in a series full of cool subtitles like Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation, but it also raises questions as to what Fallout means. Facing such queries, Mission: Impossible director Christopher McQuarrie recently opened up and explained that Fallout has a dual meaning, relating to the threat of nuclear annihilation, as well as the implications of decisions made by Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) over the years. Per McQuarrie:

The title has multiple meanings in the film, from the literal to the figurative. There is the threat of nuclear terrorism hanging over the movie, which is the literal threat. There's [also] the notion that what's happened in the movie is the end result of choices that Ethan Hunt has made in his life. It's Ethan's past come back to haunt him. It's the fallout of all his good intentions.

So the first aspect of the title makes plenty of sense. Nuclear annihilation has been a major plot thread in the Mission: Impossible films in the past, and it looks like that idea will once again rear its head for Ethan's IMF team. But on a deeper level, it looks like Ethan will also have to deal with the "fallout" of events that transpired earlier in his life, which is not something that we have really seen him deal with in the past.

The emphasis on Ethan Hunt's past is particularly notable when we consider the fact that the Mission: Impossible franchise has long thrived by maintaining very little continuity between installments. Specific plot threads (like references to the Langley job in the first film or the presence of Ethan's wife) have remained consistent, but the events of one movie seldom have much impact on the events of the next film. That insulated nature has worked for Mission: Impossible so far, but it looks like that could change.

Then again, the "fallout of all his good intentions" addressed by Christopher McQuarrie doesn't necessarily mean that a decision made in a previous Mission: Impossible movie will come back to haunt Ethan. This subtitle -- an afterthought, according to McQuarrie's remarks to Empire -- could merely imply that a previously unknown element from Ethan Hunt's earlier years as a spy could have some bearing on the story. That story angle would feel similar to how John Woo's Mission: Impossible II introduced Dougray Scott's Sean Ambrose (a wholly original character unique to that movie) as a disgraced rival of Ethan's who was never mentioned in Brian DePalma's Mission: Impossible.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout will hit theaters later this summer on July 27. Make sure to mark it down on your moviegoing calendar, and check out our movie premiere guide to get more up-to-date information on all of 2018's biggest releases.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.