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Missions deferred: Next two 'Mission: Impossible' films delayed (yet again) to 2023 and 2024

Christopher McQuarrie returns as writer and director for both installments.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

Ethan Hunt's next two missions have been kicked down the theatrical release calendar yet again. SYFY WIRE has confirmed that Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 are respectively moving to July 14, 2023 (from Sep. 30, 2022) and June 28, 2024 (from July 7, 2023) as a direct result of the COVID-19 health crisis.

"After thoughtful consideration, Paramount Pictures and Skydance have decided to postpone the release dates for Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 in response to delays due to the ongoing pandemic," the two companies said in a joint statement Friday. "The new release dates will be July 14, 2023, and June 28, 2024, respectively. We look forward to providing moviegoers with an unparalleled theatrical experience."

This is not the first time the next two installments in the long-running franchise have fallen victim to the novel coronavirus. They've actually been deferred no less than three separate times since the spring of 2020.

Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, Mission: Impossible - Fallout) returns as writer and direct for both projects, which were originally supposed to be shot back-to-back. Production on the seventh chapter began almost two years ago before shutting down for a little over half a year (filming picked back up that fall). Principal photography ultimately wrapped this past September.

Next to nothing is known about the plot, except for the fact that Tom Cruise — back in the role of the IMF's toughest and most resilient agent — literally drives off a cliff at one point. "If the wind was too strong, it would blow me off the ramp," the actor said of the death-defying stunt last year. "The helicopter [filming the stunt] was a problem because I didn't want to be hammering down that ramp at top speed and get hit by a stone. Or if I departed in a weird way, we didn't know what was going to happen with the bike. I had about six seconds once I departed the ramp to pull the chute and I don't want to get tangled in the bike. If I do, that's not going to end."

"On the day, I said to Tom, 'Look, you're my friend and I care about you. If anything goes wrong, it'll be over for you very quickly. I'll be at an arraignment. So please be competent,'" McQuarrie recalled. "We don't say, 'Be careful.' When it involves jumping off a mountain on a motorcycle, we're way past careful. What matters in situations like this is extreme competence."

Hayley AtwellShea Whigham, Pom Klementieff, and Esai Morales (who replaced Nicholas Hoult as the main antagonist) are all boarding the franchise as fresh faces alongside the veteran crew: Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson (Isa Faust), Vanessa Kirby (White Widow), Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn), and Henry Czerny. Czerny's character, Eugene Kittridge, hasn't been seen since the 1996 original.

The shoot for Mission: Impossible 8 was supposed to be put off until Cruise was finished promoting Top Gun: Maverick. That was no longer an issue when the long-awaited sequel to Tony Scott's fighter pilot drama was pushed to May of this year. According to reports from The Sun and Fox News, cameras got rolling for the eighth movie in November. The latter ran pictures that allegedly showed Cruise flying and hanging off the side of an old-timey biplane.

"The only thing that scares me more is what we’ve got planned for Mission 8," McQuarrie reportedly said last summer in a CinemaCon featurette put together for Mission: Impossible 7.

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