"Originally, there had been a whole sequence at the beginning of the movie that was going to take place in 1989,” director Chris McQuarrie tells GamesRadar+ and Total Film. "We talked about it as a cold open, we talked about it as flashbacks in the movie, we looked at de-aging."
It was the de-aging process, though, that proved to be the sticking point for a franchise that so often preaches believability over any sort of digital shortcuts.
"One of the big things about [the de-aging] I was looking at while researching, I kept saying, 'Boy, this de-aging is really good' or 'This de-aging is not so good.' Never did I find myself actually following the story," McQuarrie says of the work put into the scrapped sequence.
On Cruise’s look in the scene, he reveals, "I was so distracted by an actor that I had known for however long was now suddenly this young person."
McQuarrie adds, however, that – despite the reservations – he may have found a way to introduce de-aging in his future movies.
"In researching that, I cracked the code – I think – on how best to approach it," McQuarrie explains. "By then, we had kind of moved away from it. We may still play with it. We never say never."
Cruise, now 61, is doing just fine: Dead Reckoning Part Two is out in cinemas next year, while a movie in outer space with director Doug Liman is still on the celestial cards.
For more on Mission: Impossible, check out our coverage on:
- How Mission: Impossible's Hayley Atwell brought her "scrappy" Dead Reckoning newcomer to life
- Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning’s Hayley Atwell spent 100 days on set before recording dialogue
- Mission: Impossible director on why Dead Reckoning is split into two parts
- Chris McQuarrie opens up on Dead Reckoning: "I’m more frightened now than I was on my first Mission: Impossible"
- The best Mission: Impossible movies, ranked