Mission: Impossible 7 Reveals the Return of Another Character From the First Movie

The seventh and penultimate Mission: Impossible film is bringing the franchise full circle. After the first trailer revealed the return of former IMF director Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny) from Brian De Palma's original 1996 Mission: Impossible, writer and director Christopher McQuarrie has declassified another familiar face joining returning franchise regulars Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, and Simon Pegg, who lead a cast that includes newcomers Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Shea Whigham, Cary Elwes, and Esai Morales: Rolf Saxon as former CIA analyst William Donloe. 

McQuarrie revealed Saxon's role in the two-parter Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One with a black-and-white image posted to Instagram.

In the first Mission: Impossible, the Capital City and Saving Private Ryan actor played the CIA technician who is made to get sick so Ethan Hunt (Cruise), Luther (Rhames), and Franz Krieger (Jean Reno) can infiltrate Langley Headquarters and download the Impossible Mission Force Non Official Cover list of agents without touching the floor. The last we saw of Donloe, he anxiously looked on as Kittridge ordered his punishment: manning a radar tower in Alaska.

 You can watch Saxon's role in the iconic sequence below.

McQuarrie — who directed 2015's Rogue Nation and 2018's Fallout — has assembled a cast that also includes Rob Delaney, Indira Varma, Mark Gatiss, Charles Parnell, Greg Davis, Marcin Dorociński, Lampros Kalfuntzos, Mariela Garriga, and Antonio Bustorff in undisclosed roles. Rebecca Ferguson and Vanessa Kirby also reprise their roles as ex-MI6 agent Ilsa Faust and black-market arms dealer Alanna "White Widow" Mitsopolis, respectively.

"There are many things emerging from Ethan's past," McQuarrie told Empire Magazine. "'Dead reckoning' is a navigational term. It means you're picking a course based solely on your last known position and that becomes quite the metaphor not only for Ethan, but several characters."

McQuarrie continued: "The first thing we knew was that if it's gonna be a big two-part adventure, it's got to be epic. It's going to have to be the installment that swallows the rest of the franchise whole. There's just not another way to do it." 

Paramount's Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One hits theaters July 14th, with Dead Reckoning Part Two scheduled to follow on June 28th, 2024.