That great opening scene to the first Mission: Impossible movie was changed following some advice from Mr George Lucas.
The story about the first cut of Star Wars: A New Hope being skewered by none other than Hollywood legends Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma has now passed into legend. Whilst Spielberg was at least nominally supportive, De Palma was reportedly scathing about the film, causing Lucas to heavily re-edit it. In the end, De Palma would even end up writing the film’s now-iconic opening crawl.
Well, a less reported story has come to light, suggesting that there was some definite quid pro quo at work, with De Palma himself revealing George Lucas’s feedback on the first cut of 1996’s Mission: Impossible, a film that would launch one of the most successful franchises in recent Hollywood history.
As De Palma recalls it, Lucas told him that he had to add a scene straight after the film’s opening in Kyiv, where the team discuss their next move. According to the director himself, “when George saw Mission: Impossible he said ‘there’s no setup to this thing. You’ve gotta set this thing up! You’ve gotta have that scene where they’re all sitting around the table and everybody gets their instructions about what’s gonna happen.”
Lucas was right of course. The setup scene was not only a regular part of Mission: Impossible’s TV show, but would go on to become a staple of the film series.
Adds De Palma, “in the beginning we had this very strange scene – it’s hard for me to remember now – with Voight and somehow the jealous thing with the wife and Tom, and then we got into the first mission. And when George saw the movie it’s the first thing he said: ‘what are these people doing? This is Mission: Impossible, it’s a group of guys going to do something! So you’ve gotta get them all around a table and tell the audience what they’re supposed to do,’ and that’s what we did. We went back and reshot it. So that’s an example of us helping each other”.
De Palma would go back and do reshoots, so confident was he in Lucas’ opinion. The film would go on to be a success, and a movie franchise would be born. After all, George Lucas isn’t a bad name to be able to call upon to do a quick bit of quality assurance on your work, is he?
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