There was never a doubt that Mission: Impossible 5 was going to become a reality in the near future, especially after Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol delivered one of the better caper films in recent years.

Now the movie has gotten perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle in place, with Tom Cruise once again returning to star. Neither a writer or director has yet to be announced, but the buzz is that Cruise may once again team-up with Jack Reacher director, Christopher McQuarrie – assuming he has the time.

The confirmation of Cruise reprising his role as Ethan Hunt comes courtesy of Deadline, and all things considered, it’s less than shocking. When MI4 became the most profitable film in the franchise, Paramount wasted no time in confirming that yet another sequel was on the way. What Cruise’s return means for the rest of the cast is still up in for discussion.

Namely – where does this leave Jermey Renner? Renner was once thought to be the successor to Cruise’s Hunt, but it seems the box office draw of Cruise may have put those plans in jeopardy. Regardless of his age, Cruise continues to prove that his name and face can draw large audiences, and he’s on record as stating that he’ll keep starring in Mission: Impossible movies as long as fans demand it.

For a while there, the sky seemed to be the limit for Renner, who was poised to not only take over the Bourne series from Matt Damon, but the Mission: Impossible series from Cruise; and that’s on top of his being cast as Hawkeye in Marvel’s The Avengers. It’s become common knowledge that Renner’s turn as that film’s resident archer wasn’t the role that he signed up for, and with Cruise now seemingly retaining his position as the face of the M:I franchise, it’s clear that even the most sought after actors must take the good with the bad.

With a leading man now in place – whether Simon Pegg, Paula Patton and Renner return or not – the question turns to the possible writer and director. Rumors of Christopher McQuarrie being eyed for the job have been making the rounds for months, and the gossip only seems to be gaining steam. But with McQuarrie’s calendar filling up after the success of Jack Reacher, one wonders if he’ll have the time.

With the director of Ghost Protocol, Brad Bird, already well into planning both 1906 and Tomorrowland, McQuarrie has edged out the rest of the prospective directors being considered by Paramount. Yet as The Hollywood Reporter is now reporting, McQuarrie has just been signed to write and direct Ice Station Zebra, a remake of the 1968 submarine thriller for Warner Bros.

Neither Ice Station Zebra or Mission: Impossible 5 has a shooting schedule or estimated release, so McQuarrie could theoretically handle both tasks. Considering how unlikely it was for the M:I series to return to the top of the blockbuster heap, don’t expect Paramount to rush into production without a solid team in place. We’ll keep you updated as Cruise’s signing hopefully means the studio will be releasing further details soon.

Do you think McQuarrie is the right person for the job? More importantly, would you like to see Cruise remain as the series lead, or would you prefer to see more of the team dynamic that Ghost Protocol emphasized so strongly? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Mission: Impossible is expected to release sometime in 2015.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Deadline, THR