Ever since the original 'Mission: Impossible' film hit cinemas all the way back in 1996, Tom Cruise's lead character Ethan Hunt has become one of the biggest and most recognisable names in the action genre. This month, the character's made a return in 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout', going on perhaps his most dangerous mission yet.

Tom Cruise has played Ethan Hunt since 1996Tom Cruise has played Ethan Hunt since 1996

The film's a thrilling one, with Hunt once again almost meeting his maker on a number of different occasions. Fortunately, the hero lives on, laying the foundations for even more potential sequels in the future. With Hunt only growing older however, could we at some point see his luck run out, and the character pass away?

Speaking with Cinema Blend, Cruise said: "No, no. That will never happen. Never. Never."

'Fallout' director Christopher McQuarrie however did entertain the idea, and said: "It's interesting. I wouldn't know how to do it. I wouldn't know how to do it in a way that was satisfying. Really, what I think it all comes down to is that you can kill anybody. Any character can die, so long as they die for a reason. You give them a noble death, and I think that's where you feel a sense of dissatisfaction, when a character dies. Was their death noble enough?"

In taking down such an iconic and beloved character, the person behind such a move would undoubtedly have legions of fans in distress. There's never going to be a way to bring Hunt's story to an end with death that would satisfy absolutely everybody, so perhaps when Cruise says it's something that will "never" happen, that's for the best.

Still, death is a part of life, so who's to say the 'Mission: Impossible' series shouldn't encapsulate that? For now, Hunt seems safe, but who knows what major decisions will be made in the future?

More: Did You Know These Ten Fascinating Things About Tom Cruise?

'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' is in cinemas now.