Exclusive : Pegg, Bird on Mission : Impossible 5; Tom Cruise not retiring Ethan Hunt after all

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When Jeremy Renner was first snagged for the new “Mission : Impossible” film, “Mission : Impossible – Ghost Protocol”, talk pricked up like a hair on cold arm about the Oscar Nominated actor being the guy to succeed Tom Cruise in future installments of the series.

According to “Ghost Protocol” star Simon Pegg, that might no longer be the case.

Speaking to Moviehole yesterday, the amiable British actor suggested that “earlier on” the plan was to have Ethan Hunt handing over the IMF torch to Jeremy Renner.

“I think that might have been the plan earlier on”, says Pegg, “but as the film progressed and we enjoyed it so much I think the idea of Ethan Hunt retiring fell by the wayside. Tom [Cruise] suddenly remembered why he loved doing these films so much and suddenly thought ‘well maybe I do want to do more?’.”

If “Mission : Impossible 5″ does become a reality (and all signs suggest it will), Pegg says he’d “love to be part of that gang” again. And he says “It’d be nice to see them go into a mission a little better equipped and prepared and have some things that actually work”, as opposed to what goes on in the latest film.

Meantime, “Ghost Protocol” director Brad Bird says he, like Pegg, would be open to the idea of doing another “Mission : Impossible” too. But in Bird’s case, he needs a good holiday before returning to the exhausting world of the IMF.

“It’s really rough to discuss having another kid when you’re still in the delivery room, recovering from the process, so ask me in about six months”, the filmmaker laughs. ”These films involve some wear and tear, you know”.

And I couldn’t let Bird go without suggesting that maybe for “Mission : Impossible 5″ (should he do it) that he hire Leonard Nimoy, back from the TV series.

“Hey man, what a good idea! cross pollinating the bad robot films!”, Bird says of bringing ‘Paris’ back from the classic series. “I’ll bring that up with JJ. I’ll be sure to discuss it.”

Our full interviews – plus my review of “Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol” (review under embargo still, sorry!) – with Pegg and Nimoy in the coming days.