Mission Impossible cast

What a lovely day for Nicholas Hoult. The Mad Max: Fury Road and X-Men franchise star is the latest recruit of the Mission: Impossible film series, with filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie and Hoult jointly announcing that the actor will be joining the cast of both Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8.

Here’s how it played out on Instagram this morning, with McQuarrie posing a question and Hoult quickly answering:

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Say, @nicholashoult, care to raise a little hell?

A post shared by Christopher McQuarrie (@christophermcquarrie) on

McQuarrie commented on Hoult’s post, saying, “Things tend to escalate from there. Welcome aboard. #MI78” He joins returning stars Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson, as well as fellow newcomers Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, and Shea Whigham.

To be very clear: at this point, no one has any clue about who Hoult might be playing, or even what the plot of the movie is going to be. My out-on-a-limb guess: it’ll involve Cruise’s Ethan Hunt doing wild stunts in an attempt to save the world. But McQuarrie’s phrasing (“care to raise a little hell?”) leads me to wonder if Hoult might be playing a new villain…or at the very least, someone who presents some trouble for Hunt and his team of IMF pals. While Henry Cavill was as imposing as a slab of concrete in Fallout, I can imagine Hoult as a less physical and more precise antagonist. (Update: THR’s Borys Kit is hearing that Hoult will indeed play a villain.)

If I had to wildly speculate, I’d guess that Hoult might be playing the son of Solomon Lane, the terrorist mastermind who has become Ethan Hunt’s arch-nemesis over the past few movies. When we last saw Lane, he was being loaded into the trunk of the White Widow’s (Vanessa Kirby) car, ostensibly to be transported into custody at MI-6. Maybe the Widow ended up double-crossing the CIA and freeing Lane before the handoff was made. Or maybe this next movie could be about Lane’s son trying to free his old man. Again, total speculation. But lately, this franchise has always becoming increasingly interested in consequences and legacy – qualities a character like that might represent nicely.

Hoult broke out in 2002 in About a Boy, and has since appeared in movies like Clash of the Titans, Warm Bodies, Jack the Giant Slayer, The Favourite, Tolkien (check out my interview with him here), and franchise entries like Mad Max: Fury Road and the recent X-Men films. Not long ago, he lost the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman to Robert Pattinson in Matt Reeves’s The Batman, but this should be a nice consolation prize.

Mission: Impossible 7 hits theaters on July 23, 2021, and Mission: Impossible 8 lands on August 5, 2022.

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