Considering the franchise-best box office that Mission: Impossible — Fallout earned in its opening weekend (not to mention all the critical praise, including my own), it’s unlikely that Paramount or Tom Cruise are angling to wrap up the series anytime soon. And why should they? Against all odds, the Mission: Impossible franchise appears to be getting only better with age, and at least for the time being, Cruise seems perfectly capable of continuing to perform the death-defying stunts that are part and parcel of Ethan Hunt’s lifestyle.
However, as much as fans and Cruise himself may want to keep the series going indefinitely, the ravages of time are bound to force a conclusion one way or another. Whether that happens as the result of a creative choice, because Cruise is no longer up for the physical demands of these films or due to declining box office totals, the Mission: Impossible series — at least in its current state — can’t go on forever. That said, the series go very well continue by embracing one of its key supporting players and essentially becoming its own spinoff series. Here’s why Rebecca Ferguson should take over when the time is right.
Rebecca Ferguson deserves her own franchise
While Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg and company have longer histories with the Mission: Impossible series, none of those actors nor their characters are really suited to lead the franchise after Cruise’s departure. However, Ferguson has the blend of charisma, vulnerability and strength that makes hers a compelling character we would follow anywhere. Not only does the actress have the acting chops to humanize the films in the face of all the insane action, she has also demonstrated a commitment to the fight choreography and physicality required to play Ilsa Faust, even if she has yet to risk life and limb like Cruise insists on doing. In short, get this actress her own franchise ASAP.
Ilsa Faust is a total badass
When Ilsa Faust was introduced in Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, it was under the most mysterious of circumstances. However, as we soon learned, she is an elite member of MI6 and, by all accounts, equal in experience and training to Ethan himself. They face off numerous times, and with each encounter, Ilsa either bests Ethan or comes close to it. So, while she would need to come under the employ of the U.S. government, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for her to become naturalized as a U.S. citizen so that she can join the IMF.
She is already an integral part of the series
Even though she’s only appeared in two films, Ferguson has left an indelible mark on the series. As the only leading female in more than one film, her role in Fallout breaks the streak of revolving-door leading ladies that has seen the likes of Thandie Newton, Maggie Q and Paula Patton exit the series just as soon as they’d entered. But Ilsa is different. In short order, she’s established a close personal relationship with Ethan himself as well as neatly played off of Luther (Rhames), Benji (Pegg) and other members of the ensemble. Presumably, for Ilsa to take over as the point woman of the IMF, Ethan would either retire or be killed off, and graduating Ilsa into his spot would keep Cruise a part of the series at least in spirit.
More female-led studio representation
As alluded to above, the Mission: Impossible series hasn’t always been kind to its leading ladies, treating them more as motivators for Ethan than anything else. Yet, Christopher McQuarrie — writer/director of both Rogue Nation and Fallout — has created a character that is up to par with Ethan on multiple levels. Concurrently, the studio system is finally starting to realize that female-led franchises can turn an impressive profit simply by tapping into the underserved market that makes up roughly half the population. If the runaway success of films like Wonder Woman and Ocean’s 8 is any indication, Mission: Impossible may be positioned to lean into this trend as well, allowing for more female representation onscreen (and perhaps behind the camera).
Fallout sets her up for more adventures
No matter how much business sense it might make to move Ferguson/Ilsa to the forefront of Mission: Impossible, it just wouldn’t work if the narrative of Fallout had written the character into a corner. Thankfully, this isn’t the case (no spoilers!), as McQuarrie leaves the door wide open for the character to continue as a supporting player or even advance into a more central role in the inevitable Mission: Impossible 7. At this point, it remains to be seen where the series will go and if McQuarrie will stay on for at least one more installment. But we’d like to think that Paramount has signed Ferguson on for more films, allowing McQuarrie or his successor to develop this fascinating character even further in subsequent adventures.
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