Could Mission: Impossible Ever Recast Ethan Hunt? Simon Pegg Has Strong Opinions

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

The James Bond franchise has done it over and over again. Every major superhero franchise has done it, and so has stalwart sci-fi properties like Star Wars and Star Trek. But after 22 years, and 6 feature films, the Mission: Impossible series has stood apart from its competition by NOT recasting its lead role of Ethan Hunt -- primarily because Tom Cruise won't let anyone stand in for him while performing the series' death-defying stunts! This topic came up with Mission: Impossible -- Fallout co-star Simon Pegg during the recent Paris junket for the latest sequel, and when we discussed why Cruise never COULD be recast as Ethan, Pegg went on to elaborate:

No, and I don't think another actor ever could [play Ethan Hunt]. That's what's so great about these movies. It's kind of unprecedented in that you've got a series of movies, and they've never been rebooted, we've never recycled, we've never recast. They are six movies over 22 years which are part of the same genetic code. And you can't really say that for any other franchise. It's something to be proud of, I think.

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You can say that again. Look at the properties that I led off with, noting everything from James Bond to Star Wars (where Alden Ehrenreich recently replaced Han Freaking Solo). All of them have tried to breathe new life into their franchises by going younger. Or in a different direction. But not Mission: Impossible. At the least, the series has shaken things up behind the screens by hiring new directors, so that different storytellers could get a chance to play with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the IMF's high-tech toys. But the consistency of Cruise and his action-seeking antics is, as Simon Pegg says, unprecedented, and it's also something that should be celebrated.

It's kind of remarkable that the Mission: Impossible movies have maintained a consistent story ever since J.J. Abrams came on board in Mission: Impossible 3. That's where we met Julia (Michelle Monaghan), a character who helped humanize Ethan (Tom Cruise). And it's where characters like Benji (Pegg) joined the fray... building layers on the story as it went. That house of cards built around Ethan comes crashing down in Mission: Impossible -- Fallout. And you only have a few more days to find out how.

The sixth Mission: Impossible movie has Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), a new CIA agent (Henry Cavill) and an old MI6 ally (Rebecca Ferguson) teaming up to stop a new threat following a major mistake by Hunt and his team. The movie opens in theaters on July 27, and you can count on us having tons more content from the junket between now and then.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.