Paramount Pictures have done some changes to the script of the next installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise following the performance of Tom Cruise’s Knight and Day. The studio wanted to see if Tom Cruise could still sell a movie. That film underperformed so now Paramount wants to find a way to make Mission: Impossible 4 have more of a star factor, with a younger actor who could possibly take over the franchise if Cruise no longer wanted to do the movies.

They have found that actor in the form of The Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner, who recently also landed the role of Hawkeye in The Avengers. Other actors rumoured for the role were Renner’s Hurt Locker co-star Anthony Mackie, Inception’s Tom Hardy and Chris Pine, who was last seen in Star Trek.

I don’t see the harm in getting a new actor for a main spy character in this franchise as M:I3 did give Cruise’s Ethan Hunt closure, so the next installment could very much be Hunt handing over the torch if Paramount are that worried about how bankable the star power of Cruise has become. And Renner certainly is an actor with the charisma to match Cruise, so this is a good sign I believe.

The new movie is set to be directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Iron Giant), his first live-action movie, and will be produced by J.J. Abrams and Cruise for a late 2011 release.