Just yesterday the rather welcome news surfaced that Jeremy Renner had joined the cast of Mission: Impossible IV to star opposite Tom Cruise in a yet-to-be-named role (Renner apparently beat out three younger actors, including his fellow Hurt Locker star, Anthony Mackie).

The idea is that if it ever gets to the point where Cruise (and his character Ethan Hunt) stops being the focus of the Mission: Impossible franchise then it can easily be handed over to Renner’s character.

Renner has joined the franchise alongside returning stars Cruise, Ving Rhames, and Simon Pegg, with Noomi Rapace (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) also potentially starring. Add to all that the return of  J.J. Abrams as producer and it appeared that everything was on course for a straight continuation of the Mission: Impossible series.

Well, in an update to the story it’s being reported by Variety from “insiders” that Paramount is aiming to not just to make another Mission: Impossible, but to have the next film be a reboot of sorts, one that doesn’t continue on from where the third movie left things off.

I’m not exactly sure how it can be a reboot if Cruise and other familiar faces from the franchise are returning, but changing the  name is certainly a good start. Insiders state that Paramount may drop the “Mission: Impossible” title, much the same away that The Dark Knight didn’t have “Batman” in its title.

If the name-changing rumor is true then it’s certainly a bold move, but one I can’t see hurting M:I 4‘s box office potential. The Dark Knight went with a Batman-less name and we didn’t exactly see that fail at the box office having passed the $1 billion mark! (Though it did take some (slow) people a bit long to release that it was actually a Batman flick).

Plot details for the fourth Mission: Impossible are being kept under wraps for the time being, however, those familiar with the project say that, “the story brings a fresh perspective to the action-spy franchise.” This only makes the possibility of a franchise reboot that much stronger – I’m curious to see what direction they take the series in while (hopefully) still keeping the excitement and thrills high.

I’m personally a fan of the Mission: Impossible franchise: the first one is solid (and holds up surprisingly well after 14 years); the second is a lot of fun (it’s a guilty pleasure); and the third movie is arguably the best of the series. It’s no surprise they want to make another installment and the idea of bringing a fresh approach to it will likely be a good thing, in my opinion.

Mission: Impossible IV will shoot in Vancouver, Prague, Dubai and parts of the U.S. under the direction of Brad Bird (The Incredibles). It already has a scheduled release date of December 16th, 2011.

Source: Variety