Here's Why Mission: Impossible 7 Is Called Dead Reckoning

What's in a name? As it turns out, everything. As much as the original film stands tall as a genre classic, it's probably no coincidence that the "Mission: Impossible" movie series truly came into its own around the same time that filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie stepped in and officially left that boring ol' numbering system in the dust (with a helpful assist by Brad Bird's precedent-breaking "Ghost Protocol" in 2011, of course). Ever since, the series has kicked into another gear entirely, putting Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt and the rest of his close-knit team in mortal danger of rogue nations and nuclear fallout.

The next big adventure on the docket, large enough that it'll require a two-part extravaganza, will see our IMF heroes (that's the gloriously silly "Impossible Missions Force," for the uninitiated) come up against the most enigmatic title of them all: "Dead Reckoning." With the film set to release in the summer of next year, McQuarrie is finally lifting the curtain a bit and letting us in on exactly why he landed on that specific title. In an interview with Empire, the writer/director revealed the surprising inspirations behind "Dead Reckoning" and how it stands as a symbol of Ethan's emotional journey:

"'Dead reckoning' is a navigational term. It means you're picking a course based solely on your last known position and that becomes quite the metaphor not only for Ethan, but several characters."

Read on for more details.

'There are many things emerging from Ethan's past'

Thus far, all we've had to go on with "Dead Reckoning" has been that one thrilling trailer, which teased familiar faces from Ethan Hunt's past and, potentially, a crisis of conscience over his chosen path as an IMF agent. That certainly lines up with Christopher McQuarrie's explanation, which strongly implies that Hunt's once-strong foundation has come unmoored a bit. According to the filmmaker, "There are many things emerging from Ethan's past." That could very well refer to the return of Henry Czerny as the duplicitous Eugene Kittridge from the original 1996 "Mission: Impossible," though something tells us that McQuarrie is holding quite a few cards up his sleeve.

The director goes on to remark on the other major first for this franchise — the fact that "Dead Reckoning" will be a two-parter. To hear McQuarrie tell it, this decision came fairly early in the process:

"The first thing we knew was that if it's gonna be a big two-part adventure, it's got to be epic. It's going to have to be the installment that swallows the rest of the franchise whole. There's just not another way to do it."

Each new "Mission: Impossible" movie has always attempted to outdo its predecessor, from more of Tom Cruise's patented death-defying stunts to the general scope and scale of every globetrotting adventure. "Dead Reckoning" might just take this series to even greater heights than before ... quite literally, in fact, if that parachute-assisted motorcycle jump off a cliff is anything to go by.

"Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part 1" (boy, that's a mouthful) is set to arrive in theaters on July 14, 2023.