Nicholas Hoult had a rough 2019. No one saw Tolkien, his biopic about the famed author of The Lord of the Rings. No one liked Dark Phoenix, his final X-Men movie. The Current War, in which he plays inventor Nikola Tesla, was greeted with a shrug following a two-year delay. His awards season film, The Banker, saw its release plans canceled by Apple in the wake of controversy. And he lost the role of Batman to Robert Pattinson. But… I knew he’d get something big eventually, which brings us to today’s exciting news. Nicholas Hoult is going to play the villain in the next Mission: Impossible movie.
Director Christopher McQuarrie made the announcement on his social media feeds on Thursday, and I have to say, I like it. Hoult may not give franchise star Tom Cruise the fight of his life like Henry Cavill did in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, but he should still be able to keep super-spy Ethan Hunt on his toes.
Joining Cruise and fellow returnee Rebecca Ferguson are franchise newcomers Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff and leading character actor Shea Whigham. And I think it’s safe to assume that Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg will be back as Luther and Benji, respectively.
McQuarrie will shoot Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 back-to-back for Paramount and Skydance, but it’s unclear whether they’ll represent a two-film arc. Will 7 end with a cliffhanger that will be picked up in 8? Atwell is, for sure, coming back for 8, but will Hoult, or Klementieff, for that matter? Sources say she has been cast as the villain’s chief henchwoman, and doesn’t someone have to die in these movies?!? Meanwhile, I’m most intrigued by Whigham’s role, since McQuarrie introduced him on social with the tagline “you’ll never see him coming.” Does that mean he’s a bad guy? Maybe he’s taking up Alec Baldwin‘s position? Maybe he was the OG Ethan Hunt, enjoying a life of retirement somewhere, when he gets called back in to help the fine folks at the IMF?
For Hoult’s intro, McQuarrie asked the actor if he cared “to raise a little hell?” to which Hoult replied, “Love to. Though why stop at a little?” Yeah, that sounds like a villain to me… although Hoult would be an inspired choice to take over this franchise down the line — not that Cruise has shown any interest in passing the torch.
And here’s a fun bit of info for you. Sources say that the next Mission: Impossible movie will introduce a character named Rollin Hand, who was played by Martin Landau on the original TV show. Hand was an actor, a magician, and a master of disguises and voices who billed himself as “The Man Of A Million Faces” and “The World’s Greatest Impersonator.” He was a member of the Impossible Missions Force in the 1960s, and he was called upon to help accomplish missions which the series’ leads had accepted. My guess? Whigham has been cast as Hand… but I don’t have any confirmation of that. Call it an educated guess. A hunch, if you will…
Paramount will release Mission: Impossible 7 on July 23, 2021, while the eighth installment will arrive the following year.