Next 'Mission: Impossible' Films Add 'Agent Carter' Star Hayley Atwell [UPDATED]

Hayley Atwell, the once and future Peggy Carter actress in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is going to be joining a different cinematic universe of spies: she's the latest addition to the next Mission: Impossible film. That's Mission: Impossible 7, for those keeping track at home, and while it's rare for a franchise to feel like it's at its peak after half a dozen films, last year's Mission: Impossible – Fallout was such a high point that we're completely amped to see what Tom Cruise and director Chris McQuarrie do with it next – and Atwell has us even more excited for it.

Hayley Atwell Mission Impossible Casting

Talk about perfect casting: we're about to see Hayley Atwell in a Mission: Impossible film. The actress has already proven she can operate perfectly within the bounds of a spy thriller, but I was moved by her heartbreaking performance in the Black Mirror episode "Be Right Back," in which she communicates with an artificial intelligence designed to mimic her boyfriend who died in a car crash. So while she's clearly capable of kicking some ass and looking damn good while doing it (a staple of the Mission: Impossible franchise), she can also go toe to toe with the rest of the cast in terms of the more dramatic moments in these movies.

Atwell is having one hell of a summer. Along with dancing her way into everyone's hearts in the final seconds of Avengers: Endgame (the biggest movie of all time), we found out that she'll be lending her voice to the animated version of the character on the Disney+ series What If?, in a story imagining what would happen if Peggy was the one who becomes a government super soldier instead of Steve Rogers. Atwell also had a supporting role in this summer's Blinded by the Light and just appeared in the trailer for the upcoming Netflix series Criminal.

Here's the call from Christopher McQuarrie on Instagram:

And here's part of Atwell's response (she posted nine photos, each with the a sliver of that same photo and the same caption across all nine):

It's unclear if Atwell will just be in the next film, or if she will stick around for Mission: Impossible 8 as well, since the two sequels are being shot back to back. Details about her character are still under lock and key, but based on her caption ("I'm not the sort to follow orders"), we may have just met a new villain to replace Henry Cavill's mustachioed August Walker.

UPDATE: Hayley Atwell has confirmed she is in both the seventh and eighth installments in a new Instagram post:

As for McQuarrie, he knows he has a lot to live up to. Earlier this summer, he told Empire, "I pitched the idea of making two movies, and now I have to justify why it's two movies. You've got to earn that. You've got to make something that swallows the last three movies whole. I'm freaked out now. We've talked ourselves into something. Holy shit."

Mission: Impossible 7 blasts into theaters on July 23, 2021 and Mission: Impossible 8 arrives just over a year later on August 5, 2022.