Tom Cruise To Star In, Produce 'Mission: Impossible 4'

UPDATE: Paramount has confirmed to MTV that this news is indeed true. No surprises there, given the original source. Kudos to Deadline Hollywood for snagging the scoop!

Speculating fans of the "Mission: Impossible" series need speculate no more. We've been hearing for awhile about "Mission: Impossible IV." "M:I3" director J.J. Abrams told us in October that he probably wouldn't be back to direct, but he'd stay involved as a producer. He then told us in January that star Tom Cruise was "part of the plan" for the next one. Today's news supports both of those assertions.

It turns out that Cruise will, in fact, reprise his Ethan Hunt role to star in "Mission: Impossible IV," as reported by Deadline Hollywood. He will also produce the film, along with Abrams, and the two are currently searching for their director. The script, as had previously been reported, will be penned by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec.

It's hard to say whether or not Cruise's public image can really be salvaged, but as someone who took issue with some of his public statements in the past, I can still honestly say that I'll be there on day one when "M:I4" opens. Cruise is a solid Ethan Hunt and "M:I3," under Abrams' direction, was the best in the series as far as I'm concerned. Even if he's not back in the director's chair, I'm confident the movie will benefit from his touch.

It seems that the plan is to start shooting this summer so that the movie can be ready for a Memorial Day 2011 release. It should be mentioned that Deadline Hollywood doesn't actually name a source for this news. I trust them and I'm sure the reporting is accurate, but we've reached out to Paramount for confirmation nonetheless.

What do you think of this news? Are you ready for more "Mission: Impossible"? Are you happy to see Tom Cruise returning in a lead role?