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Did you know Tom Cruise was actually FIRED from the Mission: Impossible franchise?
Photo: © ANP

Did you know Tom Cruise was actually FIRED from the Mission: Impossible franchise?

Did you know Tom Cruise was actually FIRED from the Mission: Impossible franchise?
Photo: © ANP

Tom Cruise and Mission: Impossible movies have come hand-in-hand since the original was released in 1996.

The franchise has become famed for reinventing itself as time has gone on, and it is now a juggernaut for Paramount and for Cruise himself.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One was released this summer and was another critical hit.

But, the franchise was actually dead in the water after Mission: Impossible 3, which performed below expectations at the box office. Though it received positive reviews, it earned less money than Mission: Impossible 2, and around the time of its release, Cruise's personal life was hitting headlines for the wrong reasons.

Due to Cruise's insistence on doing his own stunts, and a particularly dangerous scene in MI3 in which he is thrown against a car, as well as the negative publicity away from the screen, Paramount made the decision to cut ties with the A-lister.

“We don’t think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot. His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount… He had never behaved this way before, he really went over the top," Paramount boss Sumner Redstone told The Wall Street Journal back in 2006.

Cruise needed a career reboot, and so appeared in smaller, dramatic roles in movies like Valkyrie. However, it was his performance as over-the-top media mogul Les Grossman in 2008's comedy Tropic Thunder that put him back in Paramount's good graces, which led to the resurrection of the Mission: Impossible franchise.

But, Paramount would only agree to the movie if a potential successor to Cruise's Ethan Hunt was cast, which is why Jeremy Renner entered the series as William Brandt for Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

Renner was supposed to take over Mission: Impossible

According to cinematographer Robert Elswit who worked on Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation, the plan was for Renner to take over the franchise as its lead star, with Cruise stepping into a supporting role.

“The original version of Ghost Protocol… was at the end of it Tom Cruise stops being Ethan Hunt the agent and becomes Ethan Hunt the Secretary," Elswit said on the Light the Fuse podcast.

"The whole version of this was they were gonna put another IMF Mission unit together with another actor — maybe it’s Jeremy Renner, who knows who it is — and they’re gonna go through this series of wild events, and at the end, Tom gets to be the Secretary, and a new agent takes over the franchise.”

Cruise's performance in Ghost Protocol, as well as the success of the movie critically and commercially, led to any plans for Hunt to be replaced to be cancelled.

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