A Significant New Mission: Impossible 8 Cast Member Is Hiding In Plain Sight In Part 7

You didn't think we were done with fresh tidbits and new reveals coming out of "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning" just because the film is wrapping up its theatrical run and headed towards its home release, did you? I mean, as Ethan Hunt once memorably stated early on in "Fallout," "What's done is done when we say it's done." That's never felt more true than with the recently-released Empire podcast spoiler special dedicated to all things "Dead Reckoning."

This podcast has already uncovered a host of juicy details, as a result of Empire host Chris Hewitt's marathon-like interview with director Chris McQuarrie. Last time, we heard more insights into plans for a de-aging sequence that originally was meant to open the film in style, but fans have been anxiously awaiting the next installment of the series as the conversation's been split up over multiple parts (appropriate for a movie split into two parts itself, naturally) and slowly parceled out over the course of several weeks. To set expectations correctly, however, this next reveal is certainly a big deal ... but those hoping for immediate, cut-and-dried answers will likely be disappointed.

Audiences probably know by now that McQuarrie and Tom Cruise tend to play things close to the chest, allowing the movie itself to do a lot of the talking. But this time, even the tightlipped filmmaker couldn't help but let slip some eye-popping information that holds all sorts of ramifications for the upcoming "Dead Reckoning Part Two." As a result of the extremely fluid production (further exacerbated by the pandemic), constant rewrites and scheduling snafus led to all sorts of adjustments on the fly. One of these meant that a significant casting for "Part Two" — which hasn't been revealed yet — can be seen during one scene in "Part One."

'It's a f***ing casting announcement and it's in the movie'

Now here's a quote that'll get diehard fans speculating. In previous segments of this podcast special, Chris McQuarrie emphasized the importance of watching practically every frame of "Dead Reckoning" with utmost attention — not just to spot his illusive on-screen cameo (separate from his much more prominent voice cameo, mind you) or one particular scene where the enigmatic and villainous Entity makes an early and unheralded appearance, but mostly to crack the secret casting reveal for "Part Two" that's included somewhere within "Part One." Maddening, right? McQuarrie agrees, which is why he all but cackles with glee over the fact that few fans have ever even noticed this.

At just before the one-hour mark of the podcast, McQuarrie goes long on a question about why Ving Rhames' Luther Stickell abruptly exits the picture by the third act of the film. While clarifying that he was honoring the actor's personal request to only film on UK soundstages, the director further explained that this necessitated reshooting segments of the upcoming sequel during reshoots for "Part One." Confusing, right? Well, that's nothing compared to the bombshell he goes on to drop: This unusual process also applied to a mystery actor who, currently, plays a bigger role in "Part Two" ... but ever-so-briefly appears in "Part One." He teased:

"People still haven't picked up on it. It's right there in front of you. You're so busy truffling for Easter eggs ... there's one right on-screen, right in front of you, and maybe two people have picked up on it. And it's a f***ing casting announcement and it's in the movie. In the movie, right on-screen!"

As for who this could be and what role, your guess is as good as mine.

Process of elimination

Look, I've watched "Dead Reckoning" three times and I've somehow managed to miss every hidden detail that Chris McQuarrie insists can be found somewhere in the film ... so keep that in mind any time I try to speak authoritatively on a movie ever again. It's bad enough that the director goes on to rub our collective faces in this mystery reveal, although I can't really act like I wouldn't do the same thing in his shoes, either. He goes on to reiterate just how big this casting really is:

"And the people who did notice it, did not understand its significance. They completely misread the obvious of what it's saying — it not only tells you this person is coming, but who this person is in the next movie, in one image."

I'm not sure that really helps narrow anything down, but we can't say McQuarrie isn't a good sport about it all. He implicitly provides a few hints, mainly that this actor was only available to shoot their scenes for a single month (which implies a tremendously busy schedule), meaning that all the actors surrounding them had to come in and film their own parts of the sequel in this compressed period of time. He also goes on to confirm who it's not, by virtue of listing the actors for "Part Two" that he's previously announced. These include Rolf Saxon (who, he reveals, shot scenes while filming in the Arctic), Lucy Tulugarjuk, Hannah Waddingham, Nick Offerman, Holt McCallany, and Janet McTeer, along with Mark Gatiss and Charles Parnell reprising their roles as various intelligence officers.

He also notes there's one "plum role yet to be cast," but that's one rabbit hole too many for now. "Part Two" is tentatively scheduled for a June 2024 release.