Why “Mission Impossible 7” and “8” are called “Payback for Death”


Christopher McQuarrie, director of Mission Impossible 7 and 8, reveals the significance of the ominous subtitle of the two upcoming installments, “The Reckoning of the Dead.” After the revival of the franchise with the first film in 1996, the spy franchise continued to release numerous sequels, comics, television series and even video games. With an ever-changing cast of iconic characters, some of the series’ main characters include the likes of Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Henry Czerny, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson and Vanessa Kirby, among many others.

“Mission Impossible — Payback for Death, Part One” is set to begin after the events of the previous film and follow Cruise’s Ethan Hunt on his penultimate mission as an IMF agent. In previous installments, the titles of the Mission Impossible films have always been carefully chosen to reflect the themes and the final plot, acting for fans almost like a teaser. If anything, this choice of name clearly takes a different direction in an attempt to bring the franchise to a potentially historic end.

In an interview for the Light The Fuse podcast, McQuarrie was joined by the stars of future films, where they told everything about this new direction in the beloved action franchise. In particular, the director continued to explain the reasons for the names of both films, telling listeners that the first part originally began as a title in the style of Ghost Protocol, and then turned the two parts into parts. Throughout the rest of the interview, the roles of both new and returning characters are also explained. Read McQuarrie’s words below:

When I came up with the name, I knew it was more applicable to the 2nd part than to the 1st, so eventually it settled on the 1st and 2nd parts. The title for the first movie was almost… up to something like Ghost Protocol, it was government policy – it wasn’t government policy, it was government, what would you call it? An extreme state measure with disastrous consequences. By the time we got to the end of the first part, it had turned into a completely different set of circumstances that appear in Part 2 rather than Part 1. So that word would no longer be appropriate for the title of Part 1. And yet, Dead Reckoning didn’t really apply as well to Part 1 as it did to Part 2 until we started playing with the beginning of the movie and kind of recognized that Dead Reckoning, although it sounded cool. what does this have to do with the movie? And in the course of our really starting to dig into the arc of Ethan’s character’s path, he acquired deeper and deeper meanings as we progressed. And you will see how thematically and how it is presented, how it is conceptually presented in the journey of each character in this movie that we are in.

As mentioned earlier, many of the titles of the past parts strongly hint at the events taking place in the film. For example, the name Fallout not only hinted at the threat of nuclear consequences of a potential war, but also showed that Ethan coped with the consequences of his past actions. The presence of both figurative and literal meanings can hint at what will happen in this last part, perhaps seeing the death of the main character.

This precise explanation from the director definitely hints at what awaits Ethan Hunt in his next exciting adventure. Based on this, it also now leaves viewers waiting for what the franchise can expect ahead as it approaches its epic conclusion. While some say that “Payback for Death,” consisting of two parts, may not be Cruz’s last mission as Ethan Hunt, the title “Mission Impossible” — “Payback for Death, Part One” definitely hints at life-threatening stakes on a whole new level.


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