Edge of Tomorrow 2 (aka Live Die Repeat and Repeat) director Doug Liman says Tom Cruise’s returning character Bill Cage has a way better arc in the new movie, evolving into a full-blown hero this time around. The original Edge of Tomorrow, also titled Live Die Repeat, was a summer sci-fi action movie starring Cruise as a soldier fighting in a war against invading aliens who dies and respawns over and over and eventually uses his time-loop experiences to learn how to defeat the alien army. Emily Blunt co-starred as a heroic fighter who learns about Cruise’s looping and joins him in his desperate mission to save humanity.

In the original film, Cruise’s character is a somewhat cowardly and not exactly likable military bureaucrat thrust into a situation where he is forced to develop his survival skills or perish. The character ends up saving the world from the invading aliens, but arguably does not undergo any meaningful inner-growth as a result of his adventures, in a sense finishing the film right where he started (which seems appropriate in a movie that involves living the same experiences over-and-over).

Speaking to CinemaBlend, Edge of Tomorrow 2 director Doug Liman addressed Cruise’s limited arc in the first film and said that Bill Cage will do a lot more growing in the sequel:

You know, it’s a sequel that’s a prequel. That being said, he has a way better arc in the sequel. Because in Live Die Repeat, he’s basically saving the world because he lives there. He really is just trying to save the girl. He has not necessarily become less of a coward [by the end], and he hasn’t necessarily become a better person. As a matter of fact, that was something that was important to Tom. When we were making the movie, we would joke that he’s only saving the Earth because he lives here. He would choose to just leave and go be somewhere else if he could. So his character never really makes the transformation. Vince Vaughn’s character doesn’t really make the transformation in Swingers. I love anti-heroes, and sometimes I love them for their anti-heroness, so you don’t want to necessarily lose that. That being said, he has a proper arc in the sequel, which is why I’m so excited to make the movie.

Liman has spoken before about the story of Live Die Repeat and Repeat, using that line “it’s a sequel that’s a prequel.” No one knows what exactly the director means by that statement, but considering the time-looping nature of the first film, it’s a fair bet that the second one will also involve time travel in some way and thereby blur the line between the concepts of sequel and prequel. Liman also says the new movie will “revolutionize“ the way sequels are made in Hollywood

The original Edge of Tomorrow was one of the more enjoyable action movies of recent years, but didn’t do as well at the box office as expected. Tom Cruise overall has been in a slump over the last few years with only his Mission: Impossible franchise proving to be a consistent winner for him at the box office (thankfully he has another one of those coming up as well). Cruise will be hoping that audiences are more enthusiastic about Edge of Tomorrow 2 and his more heroic arc in the film.