Although Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames are the only two actors to appear in all the Mission: Impossible movies, the film series has been bringing back familiar faces more often in recent years. Mission: Impossible - Fallout will see a number of well-known characters returning to aid or hinder Ethan Hunt, including Simon Pegg's Benji Dunn, Rebecca Ferguson's Ilsa Faust and Alec Baldwin's Alan Hunley. However, one person who won't be participating in the sixth cinematic Mission: Impossible outing is Jeremy Renner, who played William Brandt in Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation. Explaining why Renner isn't appearing in Fallout, director Christopher McQuarrie attributed the actor's absence to poor timing. As McQuarrie put it:
At the time, when the movie started, we didn't really have a screenplay, so it was very difficult for us to say who would be in the movie for how long and on what days, and he had a commitment to Marvel. So there was just simply no predicting. If we had a finished script, we would have been able to say, 'Yes, this will work and we can let you go for this time', but there was just no predicting what those roles were going to turn out to be. It was just an unfortunate case of bad timing.
William Brandt and Ethan Hunt didn't get off to the greatest start when they met in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, but during that movie and Rogue Nation, William proved himself to be one of Ethan's most valuable allies, so naturally some fans might have thought he'd be back for the sixth Mission: Impossible movie. Alas, as Christopher McQuarrie told Digital Spy, not having a completed script made things difficult in the beginning. Then there's Renner's duties as Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 shot back-to-back through all of 2017, and although (SPOILER alert!) Hawkeye didn't appear in Infinity War, he is set to return in Avengers 4 next year. In the end, there just wasn't any way McQuarrie and the Fallout team could have included Renner in the proceedings. But hey, maybe he'll be back for Mission: Impossible 7!
Even with William Brandt sitting out Mission: Impossible - Fallout, this movie will be one hell of a reunion. Along with the characters mentioned earlier, Fallout will see the return of Sean Harris as Solomon Lane, the main villain from Rogue Nation, as well as Michelle Monaghan as Julia Meade, Ethan Hunt's wife who went into hiding after Mission: Impossible III. As for new faces, Fallout will feature Henry Cavill as August Walker, Angela Bassett as Erica Sloane and Vanessa Kirby as White Widow.