While the future of the Mission: Impossible franchise was uncertain at one point, Mission: Impossible IV will indeed roll out as planned – thanks in part to a pay cut for star Tom Cruise. It was recently reported that Simon Pegg was in negotiations to reprise his role as Benji Dunn from Mission: Impossible 3 and now another familiar face is set to join super-spy Ethan Hunt on his latest adventure.

Ving Rhames appeared as a guest on Lopez Tonight to promote Piranha 3D and let it slip that he’ll be returning as Luther Stickell in Mission: Impossible IV.

Rhames also revealed that the character was originally killed with the rest of Hunt’s team in the opening moments of the first film, but the role was later expanded after he asked Cruise and director Brian DePalma why the black guy always dies first. I’ve never heard that explanation before and Cinema Blend, who were the first to catch this story, question whether or not its true.

Regardless, Rhames used the anecdote to confirm his involvement in the latest film:

“Well, I’m about to do Mission: Impossible IV so, uh… cha-ching!”

Rhames is hysterical and although the video of his appearance has disappeared from Cinema Blend‘s article, it has since popped up on YouTube and it’s pretty entertaining (my favorite part is when he enters while revving a chainsaw for no apparent reason).

Check out Rhames talking about Mission Impossible IV (starting at 5:25):

Let me be blunt, while Rhames is always a welcome addition to any film, has he ever played a more thankless role than as Cruise’s second banana in the Mission: Impossible films?

We’re now four films into this franchise and Luther is still a fairly two-dimensional character. They keep throwing Rhames in as if to say “Look, continuity!” but there’s barely any sense of his history or relationship with Hunt. Part of the problem was that until Mission: Impossible 3, Hunt was pretty two-dimensional as well. Even though J.J. Abrams came closest to playing up the significance of the team and not making the whole thing feel like The Tom Cruise Show, it’s clear that Rhames is often left trying to squeeze blood from a stone when it comes to developing Luther’s personality.

He’s such a naturally charismatic guy that its strange to see how unmemorable he is in these movies. I have high hopes that director Brad Bird will give the franchise a new lease on life – since everything he’s done up to this point has been extremely character-driven.

While there are no details on the plot of Mission: Impossible IV yet, the screenplay was written by Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum who worked with producer J.J. Abrams on Alias. Their script was based on an original idea from Abrams and Cruise.

Like I said, I’m glad Rhames is on board- I just hope they utilize him better than they have in the past. Are there any other characters from previous installments you’d like to see pop up in Mission: Impossible IV?

Source: Cinema Blend