The following post contains SPOILERS for a version of Mission: Impossible — Fallout that does not exist. This is galaxy brain level stuff here my dudes.

There’s a moment in the Mission: Impossible — Fallout trailer when Ving Rhames has to hold Tom Cruise back from attacking someone. “Ethan!” Rhames’ Luther says to Cruise. “That’s not who we are!” “Maybe we need to reconsider that,” Cruise replies.

That moment is in the film, but it’s part of a very clever feint on the part of the heroes to trick a terrorist into revealing his plan. Ultimately, Cruise’s Ethan Hunt maintains his strict moral code throughout the film. In a way, it’s what enables him to survive the toughest challenge of his career. But according to Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, that line nearly foreshadowed the darkest Mission: Impossible ever, one that would have had Hunt assume the identity of the monster he was chasing, and have to compromise his values in the process.

In the final film, Hunt and Henry Cavill’s mustache fight a terrorist named John Lark in the bathroom of a French nightclub. They’re supposed to subdue him and assume his identity. From there, though, McQuarrie’s initial concept, would have had Hunt turning to the Dark Side in order to prove himself to the men and women he was working for

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.

McQuarrie eventually abandoned the Evil Hunt concept because the film was “becoming more about the idea as well as much more intellectual” and it was affecting the other characters and taking away from the action that audiences expect from a Mission: Impossible movie.

He does make it clear, though, that Cruise himself was game to play a darker Ethan Hunt. “When I pitched it to Tom,” McQuarrie said, “he said, ‘Well, how about this?’ Tom took the scene even darker, and I was quite surprised.”

That Tom Cruise, man. Don’t let those Benjamin Button good looks fool you. He contains multitudes. This idea really wouldn’t work in Fallout, but it is an interesting one. Maybe in Mission 7 McQuarrie and Cruise can recycle it.

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