Mission: Impossible Marathon: What to Watch & Skip Before Dead Reckoning

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One will release in theaters this week. Before the seventh film in the franchise releases, it is time to catch up on the previous films.

It is the case with most such film franchises that it is not absolutely necessary to watch all previous films to enjoy one of the later films in the series. However, to enjoy the installments more, it is better to watch them if possible.

For your convenience, we’ve brought to you the perfect guide to the Mission Impossible franchise. As of now, there are six films in the Mission Impossible franchise, while two films are in production. The seventh film is due for release this week.

It is not necessary to watch all the previous Mission Impossible films before Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One. The films are usually standalone stories, though they have some recurring characters and plot points.

1. Release and Chronological Order

The release order and the chronological order is the same for the Mission Impossible films.

Which Mission Impossible Films to Watch Before Part 7
Mission Impossible (1996) | Source: imdb

Here are the films in both their release and chronological order:

  1. Mission Impossible (1996): Ethan Hunt is framed as a mole and has to clear his name while stopping a rogue agent from stealing a list of undercover operatives.
  2. Mission Impossible 2 (2000): Ethan Hunt has to recover a deadly virus and its antidote from a rogue former IMF agent who plans to sell it to terrorists.
  3. Mission Impossible 3 (2006): Ethan Hunt has to rescue his kidnapped fiancée and stop a ruthless arms dealer from obtaining a powerful weapon called the Rabbit’s Foot.
  4. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011): Ethan Hunt and his team have to stop a nuclear terrorist from starting a global war after the IMF is disavowed for being implicated in a bombing at the Kremlin.
  5. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015): Ethan Hunt and his team have to expose and destroy a secret organization of rogue agents called the Syndicate, who are behind several terrorist attacks around the world.
  6. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018): Ethan Hunt and his team have to stop a group of former Syndicate members from detonating three nuclear bombs, while dealing with the consequences of their previous missions.

2. Do I have to watch all Mission Impossible Films?

It is not necessary to watch all the Mission Impossible films before watching Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One. However, to have a better understanding of recurring characters and plot points, it will be good to watch if not all, at least some of them.

Which Mission Impossible Films to Watch Before Part 7
Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One | Source: IMDB

If you wish to watch the films, it is best to follow the release order of the films, as it is same as the chronological order. But in case you plan to familiarize yourself with the franchise or refresh your knowledge, there are a few films which you can watch before Mission Impossible 7.

3. The Mission Impossible Films to Watch Before Dead Reckoning

  • Mission Impossible: The first Mission Impossible film is the first film to watch before watching any other film in the series as it sets up the main concept of the franchise. It introduces Ethan Hunt and his friends.

Moreover, it also connects to the return of Agent Kittridge in Dead Reckoning. The next two films in the series aren’t essential viewing, since they are standalone stories and do not have much significance in understanding the plot of Dead Reckoning.

  • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol: It is the fourth movie in the franchise, and it marks a significant shift from the previous ones. The movie has a more vibrant and adventurous tone, embracing the implausible nature of the series.

Ghost Protocol is essential to watch before Dead Reckoning, as it establishes Hunt’s ongoing challenges with the government and introduces a new cinematic style that continues in the sequels.

It differs greatly from the original, so skipping it would make Dead Reckoning feel like a different series – Ghost Protocol is a smooth transition point.

  • Mission Impossible: Fallout: My next pick for essential viewing is the sixth film in the franchise. Fallout features Vanessa Kirby’s enigmatic White Widow, who has a brief but significant appearance in the movie – and a major role in Dead Reckoning.

The movie also develops the characters of Faust and Lane, while accounting for the absence of Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt. Besides its impressive action and visuals, Fallout also offers some nuanced character work that is essential to watch to appreciate these characters’ relevance in Dead Reckoning.

4. About Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is the seventh installment in the long-running Mission Impossible film series and will see the return of Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. Christopher McQuarrie will direct the upcoming American action spy film.

Mission Impossible film series is centered around Ethan Hunt. Hunt is a senior field agent for the Impossible Mission Force, elite top-secret espionage and covert operations agency that handles dangerous and highly sensitive international missions deemed “impossible.”

Further cast members include Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Henry Czerny, Esai Morales, Angela Bassett, Frederick Schmidt, Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, and Indira Varma, amongst many others.

Pratyasha Sarkar

Pratyasha Sarkar

Officially a student of literature, but unofficially a defence lawyer of fictional characters. I am mostly either feasting on chocolate chip cookies or binge watching sitcoms. Also, I firmly believe mint ice cream tastes like toothpaste.


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