Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Trailer Teases Ethan Hunt’s Swan Song

Tom Cruise and his brave team are back to save the world (again) in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1.

The official trailer for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 (a.k.a Mission: Impossible 7) is here and packed with the kind of global intrigue and jaw-dropping stunts fans have come to expect from this wildly successful franchise. The trailer premiered in April exclusively at CinemaCon and the intention was to release it next weekend when the highly anticipated Top Gun: Maverick is finally (finally!) released in theaters. But an online leak allegedly forced Paramount’s hand, so we see star Tom Cruise driving his motorcycle off a cliff a week earlier. We will however have to wait until next summer, that is to say 2023, to see the film.

(Light spoilers for previous films in the franchise below.)

Launched in 1996 with the first Impossible mission, the franchise is one of the highest-grossing film series, with a combined worldwide box office of over $3.5 billion to date. The first film was set six years after the 1988-1990 television series, itself a sequel to the original television series which ran from 1966 to 1973. Cruise’s character, the agent of Impossible Missions Force (IMF) Ethan Hunt has been framed for the murder of his team during a botched mission and wrongfully accused of selling government secrets to an arms dealer. During the film, he unmasked the real culprit and cleared his name.

Five more films followed, the most recent of 2015 rogue nation and 2018 Fallboth directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who also directs Dead Reckoning part one and Of them. (McQuarrie won an Oscar for his screenplay of The usual suspectsand also directed Cruise in 2012 Jack Reach.) The last two Impossible mission the films were box office hits, grossing $682 million and $791 million worldwide, respectively. Fall was also the most critically acclaimed, with many considering it the best installment in the franchise. Fans were therefore thrilled when McQuarrie signed on to write and direct the seventh and final installment.

Enlarge / Gathering the team: Benji (Simon Pegg), Luther (Ving Rhames), Isla Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise)

Paramount originally intended for both parts of Dead Reckoning to be filmed in a row but scuttled that plan in early 2021. Production has been repeatedly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (A recording of Cruise yelling at crew members for breaking COVID protocols on set — thus risking even more costly delays — went viral in December 2020.) There was also a fire on a stunt bike during filming in Norway, and a dispute over whether or not McQuarrie would be able to blow up a 1908 bridge in Poland for a crucial action sequence involving a train wreck. The scene was finally filmed on a set built in an abandoned quarry.

Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg will reprise their respective roles as IMF IT technician Luther Stickell and IMF field technical officer Benji Dunn, while Rebecca Ferguson will return as former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust, her character in rogue nation and Fall. Dead Reckoning is supposed to be Cruise’s Ethan Hunt swan song, so we’ll also see the return of Henry Czerny’s Eugene Kittridge, the former IMF director in the first Impossible mission film. Angela Bassett—who played Fallthe CIA director, had originally signed on to return as Erika Sloane, but COVID-19 travel restrictions scuttled that plan.

Hayley Atwell joins the cast as Grace.
Enlarge / Hayley Atwell joins the cast as Grace.

YouTube/Paramount Pictures

Cruise still insists on doing many of his own stunts, including that infamous motorcycle scene featured at the end of the trailer. (We don’t see how he survives, but he has to survive, given the existence of Second part.) The cast also includes Hayley Atwell as Grace; Vanessa Kirby as Alanna Mitsopolis, aka the White Widow, a black market arms dealer who is the daughter of the villain “Max” in the first film; Frederick Schmidt as Alanna’s brother, Zola Mitsopolis, who acts as her enforcer; and Shea Whigham as Jasper Briggs.

Rob Delaney, Indira Varma, Mark Gatiss, Cary Elwes, Charles Parnell, Pom Klementieff, Lampros Kalfuntzos and Greg Tarzan Davis will also appear in as yet undefined roles. There aren’t many plot hints, but we can assume that the Big Bad – played this time by Esai Morales – will have an evil plot to destroy and/or dominate the world, and Ethan and his brave team of the IMF and its allies will fight like hell to outsmart it.

Rebecca Ferguson's Ilsa Faust sports a killer eye patch after an unfortunate incident involving space junk.
Enlarge / Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust sports a killer eye patch after an unfortunate incident involving space junk.

YouTube/Paramount Pictures

The trailer opens with a lone figure on horseback galloping through a desert, before switching to fast-paced scenes across the world, including the obligatory nightclub scene with scantily clad twirling bodies. There’s car chases, shootouts, a Venice boat ride, Ethan and the Big Bad battling atop a speeding train, and the release of deadly gas – everything you’d expect from a spy action movie. “Your days of fighting for the so-called greater good are over,” Kittridge of Czerny is heard telling Ethan, adding that it’s time to choose a side. “You are fighting to save an ideal that does not exist. I never did.” I guess Hunt will fight for that elusive ideal anyway.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 hits theaters July 14, 2023. Second part began filming in March and is currently slated for release on June 28, 2024.

Listing image by YouTube/Paramount Pictures

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