Tom Cruise’s Best Replacement In Mission: Impossible

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

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Once upon a time, Jeremy Renner was set up to replace Tom Cruise in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Cruise, of course, found quitting to be an impossible mission unto itself, but now that the veteran actor is 61 years old, it’s clear he’ll need to eventually be replaced. That will most likely happen with the inevitable franchise reboot, and we’re here to deliver a simple message to Paramount: Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the best replacement for Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson Is The Perfect Replacement

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Why do we think Aaron Taylor-Johnson should be the next Ethan Hunt? While the new actor could be somebody completely unlike Tom Cruise, we know that both audiences and the studio will want someone who reminds them of their current Mission: Impossible star. Johnson happens to have the right look for the role, and we’d love to see his talents utilized in better movies than that awful-looking Kraven the Hunter film.

Bullet Train Is Proof He Has The Right Vibe

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In addition to the looks, it’s worth noting that at 33, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is only one year younger than Tom Cruise was when he starred in the first Mission: Impossible film. That means Paramount might be able to similarly get decades of quality films from the actor. Additionally, judging from his appearance in Bullet Train (more on this later), we think he’s got the vibe and the swagger to replace Cruise’s grinning secret agent. 

Aaron Taylor-Johnson Already Has A Blockbuster Record

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Sometimes, it can be an adjustment for actors who are suddenly thrust into action roles. Daniel Craig, for example, seemed accustomed to much smaller roles before getting cast as James Bond, and once he left that franchise, he immediately returned to the comparatively quieter Knives Out franchise. In recasting Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, we think it would be prudent to cast someone with some blockbuster experience under his belt before he headlines a Mission: Impossible film.

Fortunately, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is no stranger to big-budget blockbuster films. He appeared memorably in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Avengers: Age of Ultron, and he headlined his own superhero franchise with the Kick-Ass films. He most recently dazzled us in Bullet Train, and we think his growing action resume would help him really bring Ethan Hunt to life in an upcoming reboot.

And Plenty Of Action Experience

Our next point goes hand-in-hand with the previous one: starting with Tom Cruise’s first outing, the Mission: Impossible films have been very physical. It’s not enough for the main star to have simply made cameos in the occasional blockbuster. Presumably, Paramount also wants someone who will be very accustomed to doing his own stunts (something Tom Cruise is famous for) and making the action look convincing.

Like Tom Cruise, Aaron Taylor-Johnson Does His Own Stunts

You guessed it: Aaron Taylor-Johnson is somebody who likes to do his own stunts, even at the risk of his own health. In fact, the star told Variety that while shooting Bullet Train, “We were in a fight sequence and I get drop-kicked across the room,” and he hit “the one sharp bit of the corner where there wasn’t any padding,” which “took a chunk out of my hand.” 

His reaction to that was to ask, “Should we go again?” when everyone else wanted him to go to the hospital, and that’s the kind of manic dedication to stunts Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible replacement needs to have.