How Hayley Atwell’s Mission: Impossible 7 Character Will Impact Tom Cruise And The 'Core Team'

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter

Hayley Atwell already has some experience playing a spy thanks to her time as Peggy Carter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and now she’s bringing her espionage skills to the Mission: Impossible franchise. Word came in last fall that Atwell will star in Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8, though as is often the case with established franchises, details concerning her character in the Tom Cruise-led franchise were kept under wraps at the time.

Now director/writer Christopher McQuarrie has shed some light on how Hayley Atwell fits into the next two Mission: Impossible movies, and while he didn’t go so far as to call her character a villain, it does sound like she’ll be causing quite the stir. While talking about writing familiar characters like Ethan Hunt, Luther Stickell and Benji Dunn, McQuarrie noted Atwell's character will be destructive and will have an impact on the core team in ways that will hopefully "evolve" the franchise and keep it from growing stale. He said:

You got to find ways to evolve those characters, but not so much that they cease to be those characters, that they lose their familiarity and their continuity. Now in this one, we’ve found something really, really great for the core team, and what I can tell you is that they then encounter this other destructive force of nature in the form of Hayley.

To call Hayley Atwell’s character a “destructive force of nature” is a bold description and it definitely indicates that she’ll be a major player in Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8 rather than someone just passing through. Christopher McQuarrie didn’t clarify whether or not Atwell’s character will be testing the protagonists as a fellow IMF member or as an antagonist, although he did note that Atwell has established a “vibration” with franchise lead Tom Cruise.

Hayley Atwell also provided some insight on what audiences can expect from her character in the next Mission: Impossible chapters while she and Christopher McQuarrie were chatting on the latest episode of the Light the Fuse podcast, saying:

What I know is there is ambiguity, and the interesting thing we’re kind of exploring is her resistance to a situation she finds herself in, and how she starts off and what she becomes. The journey of what she comes into and then what is asked of her and potentially where she ends up.

It’s also clear that Hayley Atwell’s Mission: Impossible character won’t be stuck behind a desk, as part of the actress’ preparation for these movies included knife training, which Simon Pegg described as “proper Matrix shit.” One can always expect plenty of action in a Mission: Impossible movie, and it sounds like Atwell’s character will be a formidable opponent during whatever events unfold.

In addition to Hayley Atwell, the new folks joining either one or both of the next two Mission: Impossible movies include Pom Klementieef, Nicholas Hoult and Shea Whigham. As for familiar faces, fans can look forward to seeing Tom Hunt’s Ethan Hunt joined by Simon Pegg’s Benji Dunn, Ving Rhames’ Luther Stickell, Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust, Vanessa Kirby’s Alanna Mitsopolis and Henry Czerny’s Eugene Kittridge.

Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8 were recently pushed back to November 19, 2021 and November 4, 2022, respectively. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates, and keep track of what’s expected to hit theaters sooner with our 2020 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.