Christopher McQuarrie Explains Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning’s Title And What It Means For Ethan Hunt – Exclusive

Dead Reckoning

by Sophie Butcher |

The Mission: Impossible franchise has a storied history of fairly vague, mysterious names. Ghost Protocol, Rogue Nation; simply, Fallout? There’s no denying they sound mighty cool – but what exactly do they mean? It’s tricky to figure out exactly how they sum up what happens to Tom Cruise’s super secret agent Ethan Hunt in those movies in any kind of tangible way, but with next instalment Dead Reckoning, the inspiration is a little clearer.

As Mission writer, director and producer Christopher McQuarrie explains, speaking to Empire as part of our world-exclusive new Indiana Jones 5 issue, Dead Reckoning is drawn from a very specific reference – and spells danger for Hunt and the IMF. “There are many things emerging from Ethan’s past,” the director teases. “‘Dead reckoning’ is a navigational term. It means you’re picking a course based solely on your last known position and that becomes quite the metaphor not only for Ethan, but several characters.” Flying by the seat of his pants, figuring out a plan as he goes along? Sounds, well, exactly like Ethan Hunt, actually.

Just as curious as the name (and its meaning) is the fact that Dead Reckoning marks something new for the Mission franchise – it’s the first half of a two-parter. Having two movies to tell one story means the scope of Ethan Hunt’s next chapter is bigger than ever. “The first thing we knew was that if it’s gonna be a big two-part adventure, it’s got to be epic,” says McQuarrie. “It’s going to have to be the instalment that swallows the rest of the franchise whole. There’s just not another way to do it.” Would we expect anything less?

Indiana Jones 5

Read Empire’s full story on the latest Mission movie, speaking to Christopher McQuarrie, in the 2023 Preview featured in the new Indiana Jones 5 issuepre-order a copy online here. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One will be in cinemas from 14 July 2023.

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