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Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames in Mission Impossible Fallout

After a series best for the Mission: Impossible franchise when Fallout made $761 million worldwide last year, Christopher McQuarrie is gearing up to continue placing his stamp on the espionage action flicks by shooting 7 and 8 back-to-back. The writer/director has been assembling an impressive cast to join Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt. Check out the Joker star who has just been cast below:

As Christopher McQuarrie announced on his Twitter, Shea Whigham is joining Mission: Impossible 7 & 8. The 50-year-old actor most recently played Detective Burke in Todd Phillips’ $1 billion hit, Joker, and he’s joining the world of spies next! Whigham has gained extensive credits in Hollywood over the years, with roles in Vice, Bad Times At the El Royale and the David O. Russell movies Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. He’s best known for playing Elias ‘Eli’ Thompson on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire for five seasons.

Along with a photo of Shea Whigham, Christopher McQuarrie teased the role he’ll play with the words: “You won’t see him coming.” But what does this mean? Perhaps he’ll be a villainous character who will throw off Ethan Hunt’s mission in some way? Whigham is certainly a talented character actor who has the chops to be a major antagonist in the Mission: Impossible movies.

Shea Whigham joins the recent casting of Hayley Atwell, who he worked with back when ABC’s Agent Carter was on the air. A few months ago, Atwell also confirmed she would be joining Mission: Impossible for 7 and 8. Guardians of the Galaxy’s Mantis actress Pom Klementieff has also been cast in the upcoming films, and Rebecca Ferguson’s will reprise her role as Ilsa Faust too.

Christopher McQuarrie first teamed up with Tom Cruise back in 2012 for Jack Reacher before writing and directing 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and 2018’s Fallout. Cruise has held the role of Ethan Hunt for almost 25 years, with J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird also previously helming movies in the action franchise. McQuarrie will now unquestionably have the highest stake in the franchise, with his contributions to four films (five if you count his uncredited Ghost Protocol rewrites).

The seventh and eighth Mission: Impossible movies will be shot back-to-back with release dates set for July 23, 2021, and August 5, 2022. Audiences will actually get three summers full of Tom Cruise’s death-defying action since he’ll return to his iconic '80s role in Top Gun: Maverick this summer. The long-awaited sequel will bring audiences into the cockpit of planes as his character continues to soar as a Navy pilot.

Shea Whigham is currently filming for a role in HBO’s reboot of the Perry Mason television series, set to premiere sometime in 2020. Check out what else is coming in the new year with our 2020 movie release calendar!

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