It was an ordinary day on the set of Mission: Impossible 5. Tom Cruise had just consumed a breakfast of fruits, Greek yogurt, and the distilled growth hormones of Norwegian vikings frozen in ice, and was limbering up for the day’s shoot. Suddenly, his wristwatch started blinking. Unfazed, Cruise punched a few buttons, and a holographic rendering of a studio memo materialized in the air next to him. It read, “Production on Mission: Impossible 5 halted. Suddenly realized the ending sucks. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go parasailing off the Maldives for a few days while we figure this out. This message will not self-destruct in five seconds, because we don’t want to accidentally harm that beautiful money-maker of yours.” The message blinked off.
Cruise smiled. Finally, an opportunity to really get involved with this picture. The Maldives could wait—after all, he owned most of them. He began to visualize various endings—Cruise is a great visualizer, having often been instructed by the Church of Scientology to visualize himself giving them money—and wrote them down. Maybe Ethan Hunt confronts the villain while they both race through Namibia on the backs of rabid giraffes! Perhaps Simon Pegg’s character could get hit by an exploding blimp, fueling Hunt’s revenge! Or, no, it’s obvious: a bomb made entirely of airline tickets—but you’re seated in coach. These were all gold, he realized.
He wished Katie Holmes were still around to bounce ideas off of. “Hey Holmeskillet!” he’d yell, having a good laugh as she called yet another lawyer for reasons he never quite understood. Instead, he phoned producers, who quickly informed him that director Christopher McQuarrie and an unnamed writer friend were reworking the ending, and that production was merely halted for a week or so while they improved the finale of the film. They assured him that the studio wouldn’t have moved the release date up five months, from Christmas to July, if it wasn’t already certain things were going well.
“But what about the holographic memo you sent me via my wristwatch?”, Cruise said. “Um, Tom, there’s no such invention,” a worried producer replied. Cruise hung up the phone and smiled. That’s what they think.