Jeremy Renner Was Supposed to Take Over Mission Impossible, Here's What Went Wrong

Jeremy Renner Was Supposed to Take Over Mission Impossible, Here's What Went Wrong
Image credit: Legion-Media

It looks like Renner was at one point in line to replace Tom Cruise.

While it's hard to imagine Mission: Impossible without Tom Cruise playing the iconic spy Ethan Hunt, more than a decade ago, Paramount's producers seriously considered getting rid of the actor for good and hiring someone younger as the new face of the popular action franchise.

Obviously, the replacement plan didn't work out, as Cruise is still risking his life doing dangerous stunts while casually raking in hundreds of millions at the box office — but the story of how Jeremy Renner was supposed to replace him in Mission: Impossible is still quite a story.

After the commercial and critical failure of Mission: Impossible III, Tom Cruise was in deep trouble as his ridiculous antics, infamous Scientology connection, and box-office defeats forced producers to consider him an actor past his prime. So, naturally, Paramount's executives tried to save their biggest franchise and decided to hire another actor and sideline Cruise from Mission: Impossible.

That's how Jeremy Renner's William Brandt joined the film series in 2011 — his enigmatic character was supposed to be revealed as the new leader of the MI crew in the next movie. And while the idea of putting him above Cruise may sound ridiculous now, Renner was one of the hottest young actors working in Hollywood a decade ago, appearing in the hit thriller film Hurt Locker and being signed to play Hawkeye in the MCU and James Bourne in the new iteration of the franchise.

But things didn't go according to plan, as Renner's Bourne movie bombed at the box office, while Cruise continued to kill it with each new film, proving that he wasn't done with Hollywood. So when Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation premiered in 2015, Renner was no longer considered a viable replacement for the lead actor, and he remained on the sidelines.

It's no wonder that Renner doesn't want to return to Mission: Impossible at all, probably feeling disillusioned with the way the producers treated him, assuring that he would be the face of the multi-billion dollar franchise in no time, only to get rid of him the moment Cruise began to attract audiences again.