Two decades and five installments in, the Mission: Impossible franchise might be stronger than ever. In part, that’s because of the series’ commitment to working with great directors who put their own stamp on the series. The most recent, Rogue Nation, was helmed by Jack Reacher‘s Chris McQuarrie, following in the footsteps of Brad Bird, J.J. Abrams, John Woo, and Brian De Palma.
The series has never worked with the same director twice, and McQuarrie hasn’t yet given any indication that he’ll be the exception. So naturally, that’s had us wondering who should be the next to take their turn at the helm. Read our Mission Impossible 6 director wishlist after the jump.
Andy & Lana Wachowski
Let’s just get it out of the way: This one is not gonna happen. The Wachowskis are almost certainly too busy these days churning out wildly ambitious, arguably nonsensical sci-fi epics to bother with a run-of-the-mill spy thriller.
But let’s take a moment to pretend they would. The sibs’ action cred is indisputable. The Matrix‘s “bullet time” feels like a cliche now, but was groundbreaking at the time. Speed Racer was candy-colored action on a sugar high. Even Jupiter Ascending, for all its narrative missteps, featured some of the most beautiful imagery we’ve seen onscreen this year. Should the Wachowskis want to try their hand at a plain-Jane spy thriller, we’d be the first in line for tickets.
Also not terribly likely to happen. Kathryn Bigelow has burnished her reputation as a prestige filmmaker on the strength of politically relevant war dramas like The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. It’s hard to imagine her changing course now for a fluffy popcorn flick like Mission: Impossible.
If she decided to, though? Bigelow is a fantastic action director. Both The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty benefited from her ability to put the audience right in the middle of the madness. And she can definitely craft movies that are just plain fun; there’s a reason Point Break still holds up after all these years.
Few films of the past five years did a better job of capturing the joy of movement than Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire and Magic Mike. So many modern action filmmakers try to mask half-assed choreography or create a false sense of momentum with frenetic camerawork; Soderbergh knows when to sit back and let audiences revel in the masterful action work on display. And while those two films were a bit slower paced than your typical Mission: Impossible movie, anyone who’s seen the Ocean’s films (so: everyone) is aware he can also do zippy and witty when the occasion calls.
The only problem, of course, is that Soderbergh is still technically retired from films. Perhaps we’d be better off suggesting Magic Mike XXL‘s Gregory Jacobs instead?
Phil Lord & Chris Miller
To be fair, we’d watch anything directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller at this point. A Mission: Impossible movie would play off their strengths, while simultaneously taking them into new territory. Their kinetic Lego Movie displayed a great eye for motion, but they haven’t had the opportunity direct real large-scale action. The Jump Street films demonstrated their ability to let movie stars do what they do best — charm the hell out of the audience — but they’re more famous for comedy than cool. And best of all, they’re not the kind of filmmakers to take the easy, expected route, so we’ll know to expect something unique and unexpected from them.