Mission: Impossible - Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie says that the movie doesn't have a single deleted scene, though earlier drafts of the story were much darker.
The latest breathtaking chapter in the action-packed franchise sees Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) forced to team up with CIA Agent August Walker (Henry Cavill) in order to track down a mysterious terrorist called John Lark, who is planning to build three nuclear bombs and use them to wreak terrible devastation on the world. Fallout's franchise-typical insane stunts include a scene where Cruise jumped out of an airplane at 25,000 feet, and frantic foot chase through the streets and rooftops of London.
In an interview with THR, McQuarrie was asked if there were any deleted scenes that fans could look forward to seeing on the home video release. The director explained that, while there will be additional material, every scene he filmed made it into the theatrical cut:
"There are no deleted scenes. We put together a deleted “reel of shots.” I’m a big believer that the movie you’re seeing in the theater is the director’s cut. If I can’t defend it for theatrical release, it doesn’t belong in the movie. And yet, there was some really beautiful photography and some very nice moments with great locations. So, Eddie Hamilton and I created a little gift box. You can either watch it with some commentary, where we explain the process by which we take certain things out, or you can just listen to it with music."
Though Fallout may not have had any deleted scenes, McQuarrie did originally have a much darker path in mind for Ethan during this latest mission...
Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Mission: Impossible - Fallout
"The whole idea was to assume the identity of John Lark. Ethan ends up having to assume Lark’s identity without the mask. That was gonna be the plot of the whole movie: Ethan assumes the villain’s identity, but looks like himself. And, he must go on convincing people that he is the villain which forces Ethan to have to do darker and more horrible things in pursuit of his aim, the first of which was breaking Lane out of prison. That was eventually going to take Ethan down a very dark path, all of which Tom really embraced, and which I pursued for a very long time. But, in clinging to that idea, I realized that the movie was not moving forward. It was becoming more about that idea as well as much more intellectual. It was happening at the expense of all the other characters, and the movie was just getting very long before getting back to the things you’re obligated to do in a Mission: Impossible. So, I let it go."
Fallout does retain some of the darkness that McQuarrie talks about here. When Ethan goes to meet the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) at the Grand Palais, in the guise of John Lark, he grabs her arm roughly and speaks menacingly. Later, he brags about having killed women and children with smallpox. And in one particularly chilling sequence, we see Ethan imagining playing along with the role to the extent of murdering a police officer in cold blood in order to maintain his cover. Perhaps in earlier drafts of the story, Ethan actually did kill the cop.
Those who have seen Fallout would probably agree that Ethan maintaining his ethical line in the sand - even if it comes to choosing to save one life over millions - makes for a better movie and a more compelling hero. And even if we won't be getting any full deleted scenes on the Blu-ray, it's hard to imagine anything that could be cooler than Tom Cruise filming a scene while sky-diving from 25,000 feet.