Chris McQuarrie Returning For 'Mission: Impossible 7' & '8', Will Film Back-To-Back

Chris McQuarrie, the writer/director of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and last year's blockbuster hit Mission: Impossible – Fallout, has signed an unprecedented deal for the Mission franchise: he's coming back to write and direct the next two movies in the long-running series, and he's shooting them back-to-back. Will star Tom Cruise survive such a production?

The Mission: Impossible movies used to be a unique testing ground for different action filmmakers to come in and put their spin on the adventures of super spy Ethan Hunt, but McQuarrie broke tradition when he returned to the director's chair for after Rogue Nation and delivered Fallout, one of the most purely entertaining blockbusters of the decade. Now Variety reports that he'll shoot Mission Impossible 7 and 8 back-to-back with the seventh film aiming for a summer 2021 release and the eighth movie blasting into theaters the following summer.

Part of me laments the idea that we won't get a fresh voice in this director's chair any time soon, but it's hard to argue with what McQuarrie has accomplished so far. In addition to being a hell of a great movie, Fallout made more than $790 million globally – the most of any movie in this long-running franchise – so it's no surprise that Paramount decided to stick with a proven formula and bring McQuarrie back for more. And having listened to him talk about this franchise for probably ten hours of behind-the-scenes podcasts and interviews over the years, it's obvious to me that he not only has a love for the characters in this franchise (including Rebecca Ferguson's Ilsa Faust, whom he created and is very protective of), but a real creative passion for the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants style of storytelling that he employs when making these things.

It's also clear to me that he's not interested in making the same movie twice, so I'm fascinated to see what his approach will be to these sequels. Is it being designed as one huge story told across two films, or will each one feel distinct and satisfying on its own? You can practically see the glint in his eye when McQuarrie talks about the stunt work in these films, too, so you can bet he and Cruise are going to go above and beyond to try to top themselves (if such a thing is even possible). Cue the "Ethan Hunt goes to space" jokes, but I honestly would not be surprised if we see that come to fruition in one of these movies.

Story-wise, now that Ethan's relationship arc with Julia (Michelle Monaghan) has been completed, there's room for a full-blown romance with Ilsa – something that's been teased for two films but not yet consummated. Cruise is still shooting Top Gun: Maverick (which McQuarrie also worked on!), but the current plan is for him to start writing the scripts and for filming to begin sometime in 2019. Knowing what we know of how Fallout was made, the details and set-pieces of the story will be continually in flux, but here's hoping he can capture lightning in a bottle yet again. Get pumped, people.