- Despite generally avoiding sequels, Tom Cruise made two successful ones outside of the Mission: Impossible franchise: Top Gun and Jack Reacher.
- Top Gun: Maverick’s box office success proved that Cruise can still dominate the blockbuster genre with the right story and cast.
- Recent films like Oblivion and The Mummy reboot weren’t successful enough for sequels, except for a potential sequel to Edge of Tomorrow. Cruise prioritizes artistic integrity and pushing the story beyond mere regurgitation.
Outside the Mission: Impossible movies, Tom Cruise has only made two sequels in 42 years. Like Harrison Ford with Han Solo and Indiana Jones, Sylvester Stallone with Rocky and Rambo, or Keanu Reeves with John Wick and Neo, Cruise has two characters he’s returned to in a career that has been going strong since the ’80s. While Ethan Hunt, the protagonist of the highly successful Mission: Impossible franchise, remains a steadfast role he’ll be likely to play until he’s no longer physically able, these other roles show a deviation from that longstanding series that he keeps returning to every couple of years.The Hollywood star generally doesn’t like to revisit films once he feels like the story has been told. However, the Mission: Impossible movies changed Cruise’s mind about sequels. Eager to maintain his artistic integrity in the early days of his career, he worried that sequels signaled an end to credibility, but the success of playing Hunt didn’t mean that the films would become clones of one another or that he’d be taken seriously as an actor. Because of that, he decided to revisit other roles he’d played, one with minimal fanfare, the other which signaled a career resurgence, paving the way for Tom Cruise movies that still need sequels.
Tom Cruise’s Only Sequels Outside Of M:I Since The ’80s Are Jack Reacher & Top Gun
When Mission: Impossible was released in 1996, a movie based on a television series wasn’t guaranteed to be a hit, and sequels were rarely an improvement on their predecessors, which is The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather: Part II were such surprises. Nevertheless, the films inspired Cruise to make a sequel to Top Gun (1986) and Jack Reacher (2012). While Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was moderately successful in 2016, 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick was a huge box office hit and proved that with the right story, cast, and visual effects, Cruise could be king of the blockbuster again.The Jack Reacher films weren’t as successful as the Top Gun movies for a few reasons; they were based on a book series that came with its own inherent expectations, Cruise didn’t fit the description of the protagonist at all, and they didn’t have the same reverence and nostalgia. The Top Gun films revolved around a character that came to define Cruise as much as he defined Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, whereas there were other Hollywood stars who could have played Jack Reacher besides Tom Cruise and been as good or better, as the Reacher television series is demonstrating.
Why Tom Cruise’s Recent Movies Haven’t Received Sequels
Recent Tom Cruise films, like Oblivion from 2013, or The Mummy reboot and American Made, which both came out in 2017, didn’t prove successful enough for Cruise to star in any sequels. One film that might get a sequel is Edge of Tomorrow with Emily Blunt, which focused on Cruise’s soldier having to relive the same day trying to stop an alien invasion. So far, however, production hasn’t started on that while Cruise has been tied down filming Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 2, which is expected to come out sometime in 2024.One of the ways Cruise maintains his artistic integrity is by working with different directions, and making sure that the story is pushed beyond simply being a regurgitation of the original movie. Clearly, he’s content working within the Mission: Impossible sandbox where he has the most creative freedom as well as the most success. However, there are several other very good Tom Cruise films from the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s that deserve not only a second look, but the chance to be the recipient of some serious world-building.