It wasn’t until the movie’s testing phase that Chris McQuarrie began to realize that the musical number paused the action too significantly. Originally, the premise he had developed with cinematographer Rob Hardy was to establish the difference between the nightclub and the White Widow’s domain. As he recalled to Collider, the idea was a flash of inspiration: “Oh my God, she could be singing!” Vanessa Kirby learned the song, practiced it, and an orchestra was brought in to complete it. The hope was that the scene would set the mood, and establish Alanna as a different kind of morally gray character.
But the movie had gotten long. At 2 hours and 43 minutes, it was a film in need of trimming, and McQuarrie noticed that when the movie was screened for audiences, the scene stopped things dead. As editor Eddie Hamilton noted, the movie doesn’t really start in earnest until terrorist leader Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) enters the picture, and every moment before then needs to justify itself. For all the inspiration and work that went into the musical number, it ultimately defeated its own purpose, deflating the tension of the scene and making the movie run a little long.
In many ways, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is the best-edited movie of the series, building up its plot with a cool, elegant sense of momentum that only gets better with every big action scene. It set a new standard for action filmmaking. Even at its eventual runtime of 2 hours and 27 minutes, just sixteen minutes shorter than the test cut, it flies by. But you can still see glimpses of the musical number that got cut.