Earlier today, Elisabeth shared with you a Slate story that questioned whether United Artists photoshopped a picture of Claus von Stauffenberg so that it would look more like Tom Cruise when they were promoting the casting of the actor in Bryan Singer's Valkyrie. That post is over here. Read it. Love it. Investigate! In the same Slate story, however, they talk a bit about Mission Impossible 4. There's been rumblings recently of a new Mission Impossible -- how Cruise and Paramount's Sumner Redstone wined and dined one another -- leading many to believe they may patch things up and move forward on a sequel. Wonderful. Fabulous. Let's hold hands.

Not so fast. Slate says Paramount offered Cruise the chance to produce the sequel (they have to since it's in his contract), but not star in it. Not star? Cruise? No way. And that's exactly what happened: Cruise turned down their offer. Now, says Slate, Paramount may hold off on making a new Mission Impossible until their contract with Cruise's production company expires. This will then free them up to go out, cast some hot young stud as the new Ethan Hunt (or some other random Hunt-type dude), and continue along with a fairly popular action franchise.

But should they?

Should they really go at this without Tom Cruise in the lead role? Mission Impossible III grossed roughly $400 million worldwide, and you're telling me they'd get that amount or more without Tom Cruise? Is he too old to play action star, or does this have more to do with Paramount not wanting to deal with Cruise in any capacity?

Truth be told, I'm not sure I'd want someone other than Cruise to play Ethan Hunt. For all we know, this sequel would introduce a new character instead of finding someone else to play Hunt, and that's fine, but I'd almost rather watch Cruise pass the torch then. I'll be the first to admit that I've cracked more than a few Cruise jokes in my day, but I really do enjoy him as an actor. He's fun to watch, he's definitely passionate about the roles he takes on and I usually have a good time with him at the movies. Thus, I'm not itching for the man to leave this franchise. At least, not at this point.

How about you? Would you want to see a Mission Impossible 4 with Tom Cruise in the lead role? Are you okay with them re-casting a younger hot shot? If so, should they do away with the Ethan Hunt character? Chime in below ...