Although the Mission: Impossible franchise has never been stronger, the action series seems to always have a hard time keeping actors and actresses film and film. Outside of Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames is the only other name that has carried over since the original movie. It’s not shocking to see new faces join a franchise after six movies, but this franchise specifically has had a number of big names just float away in the wind in the past, and unfortunately Jeremy Renner might be the next on that list.
Renner has played a big part of the franchise since Brad Bird’s Ghost Protocol. Actually, he was set to take over the franchise from Tom Cruise as Ghost Protocol‘s original story was set up as a passing of the torch from Cruise’s Hunt to Renner’s Brandt. That idea ended up being scrapped after Rogue Nation and Fallout director Christoper McQuarrie came aboard the film during production to tinker with the script, ultimately reignited a spark in Tom Cruise to stick around for what’s now considered the modern day action franchise.
Renner had a key role in the last two movies, with the overall meaning of his role actually being quite fun through Rogue Nation. But when it was revealed that he wouldn’t be returning for Fallout, outside of shaking our heads a bit, we all assumed it was because of his commitment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and his character Hawkeye, as those movies are now coming down to the “universe binding” films in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. But as we see in Infinity War, Hawkeye was only mentioned by name, so where was Brandt in Fallout? Here’s what director Christopher McQuarrie had to say while speaking on the Empire Podcast:
“Jeremy had his commitment to Avengers, which ironically they ended up not exercising, and we didn’t know what the [sixth Mission] movie was, so we couldn’t provide a schedule. We needed absolute freedom. The unfortunate thing for Jeremy is that he got caught in this perfect storm of, one can’t use you and one doesn’t know how to, given the massive complications they had with Avengers.”
McQuarrie hasn’t hidden that Renner grew frustrated during filming on Rogue Nation. As mentioned that Fallout didn’t really have a schedule, Rogue Nation had an ever changing script that resulted in Renner not always being needed even though he was called to London for shooting. That could very well have been why he didn’t return, and while he did have a commitment to the Marvel movies, McQuarrie wanted bring Renner out for a few days to do a pivotal cameo in Fallout, where he then explains that Renner turned him down:
“I had this whole idea that the movie would start with the death of a team member. And of course the first team member that’s always the first guy we talk about killing is Luther. Luther died in the first movie, and he quite famously said to Tom Cruise, ‘Hey man, how come the brother’s always gotta die?’ And Tom said, ‘You’re right.’ He was like, ‘Why do I gotta be the bad guy?’ And they made Luther nefarious and then suddenly a good guy, and six movies later it was the smartest question anybody’s ever asked Tom Cruise […] So I said to Jeremy, look we can’t kill Ving, it’s never going to work. No matter how many movies into it, it’s always going to be the same thing. You killed the black guy. And we didn’t think the movie could recover if you killed Benji.
So I said to Renner, ‘Hey listen, I have this idea for an opening sequence where you sacrifice yourself to save the team, and that the mission-gone-wrong not only involves losing the plutonium, but involves the death of a team member.’ And Jeremy was like, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ […] He was smart not to take the short paycheck for three days of work and getting blown up.”
This is an insanely interesting story. If Renner would have in fact excepted the offer, not only would his time in the franchise officially be over, but it would have changed what we know Fallout as now completely. (SPOILER) In the final version, Ethan Hunt shoots Luther in the chest knowing he’s wearing a bullet proof vest. But if he wouldn’t been replaced by Renner and actually have died, the impact and following events would have drastically changed.
Another aspect of this is what it means for the future. With Fallout being the biggest opening in the franchise and quite possibly the best entry in the series, it shows no signs of slowing down. Renner is wrapping up his time on Avengers (for now), which means a return is possible. But the big question is whether or not Renner’s deny was because of this specific idea to kill him off or just because he’s been unhappy overall with how his character has been handled. The character was a fascinating character to add to the team, as he brings a different dynamic to the overall story. Hopefully Brandt isn’t done yet, and hopefully we’ll soon have answers.
What do you think of this news? Would you have wanted to see Renner make this cameo or are you glad he turned the offer down? Do you hope he returns in the next installment? Sound off in the comments below! You can currently see Mission: Impossible – Fallout in theaters.