The Mission: Impossible series is one of traditions: ultra-detailed face masks designed to conceal the identity of the secret agents wearing them, eye-popping set pieces, bleeding-edge technology (and, sure, some made-up stuff, too), scenes wherein the franchise's star, Tom Cruise, runs harder than he's ever run before.
It's also a series that, historically, has handed off each new installment to a different director, each of them putting their unique stamp on the franchise. While we love what Chris McQuarrie's done with the place, we think it's time to get back to that tradition, and we've got a few ideas about who might be up for the job.
Here are our choices, if you choose to accept them.
On the surface, this choice might seem highly questionable. Gore Verbinski? The Cure For Wellness guy? The dude who blew untold millions on The Lone Ranger? Yes, that Gore Verbinski. For starters, Verbinski has more than proven his bonafides in terms of executing elaborate, spectacular set pieces (the thing people forget about The Lone Ranger: that insane climax with the train crash, which is almost worth suffering through the entire movie for), and lord knows he'd bring a decidedly weird flavor to the franchise (see also: Mousehunt, Rango, basically all Verbinski movies). I'd love to see this dude putting Cruise through the wringer, and - as a friend recently pointed out on Twitter - this might be just the project to spring Verbinski out of director jail. Make it so, Paramount. - Scott Wampler
With a common refrain among Fallout's fans proclaiming that the new Mission: Impossible is the best action movie since Mad Max: Fury Road, why not give the next Ethan Hunt adventure over to the talents of the director of Fury Road? George Miller isn't exactly working on anything right now, so he's available and would probably be willing. The man has a noted commitment to practical stuntwork and has the technical chops to make something visceral and brutal, which might just be the sort of vision the Mission: Impossible franchise needs going forward. Imagine the high-speed assault on the senses Miller could bring to a spy thriller, not to mention the subtextual richness he could weave into whatever story struck his fancy. Hook me up to that nitro blood bag and let loose on the madness, please. It's probably a good substitute for the uncertainty of getting another Mad Max movie. - Leigh Monson
We all loved John Wick, but when its director duo split up, it became clearer who was the true action master between David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. Leitch went on to do Atomic Blonde, which is a mess with some good action, while Stahelski stayed on to do John Wick: Chapter 2, which is a total masterpiece. Stahelski can do great gun action, hand to hand action, and car action, and he does it all with clarity and wit, knowing exactly how to elevate scenes without going overboard. I’m not sure anyone can top what McQuarrie and Bird have done with this series, but Stahelski is one of the few names that would give me hope. - Evan Saathoff
Okay, I'm cheating a bit here by naming two directors I'd like to see tackle this franchise, but you're gonna have to set aside your rage and deal with it, because Karyn Kusama absolutely deserves a spot on this list. Kusama's The Invitation is one of my favorite films of the past decade, and every off-the-record thing I've heard about her next effort, Destroyer, leads me to believe we've got another very special film to look forward to. Let's also not forget Jennifer's Body, which revealed Kusama's ability to juggle tone, or Aeon Flux, which - while not great overall, if we're being honest - did showcase an ability to choreograph a solid set piece. Mostly, though, I just keep thinking about the dread that hung over every frame of The Invitation, and I imagine her Mission: Impossible being a paranoid, sultry thing that'd harken back to De Palma's original. That's a Mission I wanna see. - Scott Wampler
De Palma. Woo. Abrams. Bird. McQuarrie. The directors behind the Mission Impossible films so far are all draws, with devoted fans, distinct styles and trademark idiosyncrasies that they can bring to the table for the films that will more or less be about Tom Cruise trying to find an important document and/or figure out who has set him up. After six films, I think the time has come to let an outsider come to the table, someone that will make M:I fans say "Wait, who?" when they're announced as the next filmmaker that might lose a take because Cruise just got himself killed. And I can think of no better option than Eddy Matalon, the filmmaker who gave us Cathy's Curse and, I assume, some other movies (I never checked). He's a perfect fit for the franchise, as he has demonstrated a clear understanding of pacing (a car explodes in the first 30 seconds of Curse), working with a large cast (several characters in his masterpiece enter and/or leave the film with no explanation), and most importantly: letting his star do whatever the hell they want, as evidenced in the many scenes where the 11ish Randi Allen (Cathy) starts shouting profanities at people for no discernible reason. And he lives in Paris, so he probably knows some great locations for Ethan Hunt to jump off or race a motorcycle around. The mission is Eddy's to accept. - Brian Collins
While John Krasinski may not seem like the most obvious choice at first, you also probably didn't expect "Jim from The Office" to deliver a creature feature all-timer in A Quiet Place. Yet Krasinki's unique qualifications align him with the Abrams/Bird/McQuarrie triumvirate more than you might think. On top of delivering a slick, beautiful monster movie that showcased a knack for set pieces and a sly experimental streak, Krasinski's been steadily working toward becoming an action star in his own right, thanks to 13 Hours and Amazon's upcoming Jack Ryan. Plus, he already has a solid relationship with Paramount - thanks to his ongoing partnerships with Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes - which would allow him to slide right into that already impressive collection of muscular cinematic workmen with ease (while also knowing his way around stunt-heavy motion pictures). Again, he may not the first name that springs to mind, but I bet you didn't expect Chris McQuarrie to become the heir apparent to Chris Nolan (thanks to the absolutely electrifying Fallout) either when Way of the Gun first dropped in 2000. - Jacob Knight
Alright. Those are our picks - let's hear yours! Hit the comments below to tell us who you'd like to see take on the next installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, and please: show your work. Paramount might be reading this.
This article is part of B.M.D. Guide To: MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE