Mission Impossible 7: Esai Morales Replaces Nicholas Hoult (Reports).

Esai Morales is the latest actor to join Mission: Impossible 7 and 8, reveals director Christopher McQuarrie. Morales has appeared in a myriad of television shows, including Ozark, Criminal Minds, and How to Get Away With Murder. He also played Slade Wilson/Deathstroke on the DC Universe series Titans during season 2. The next two Mission: Impossible films will mark his biggest upcoming project, as he joins fellow franchise newcomers Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, and Shea Whigham. Returning players include Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames.

Production on Mission: Impossible 7 is currently shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Filming had been taking place in Italy, and when the country became one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, Paramount suspended work. Despite rumors that work picked up in the U.K. in March, production remains delayed, which is the biggest reason why Mission: Impossible 7 saw its July 2021 release date pushed back to November. Like most major film productions right now, McQuarrie and his crew are waiting for the okay to get back to work.

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Things might be at a standstill, but McQuarrie is still willing to part with some new details about the film. The director shared Morales’ casting on social media, similar to what he did for the other new additions. McQuarrie also added this cryptic message: “We all face the same fate…” Additionally, Deadline reports Morales is replacing Nicholas Hoult as the films’ villain, as the production delays led to scheduling conflicts for Hoult.

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Specific plot details surrounding Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 remain tightly under wraps, but the films are confirmed to be two parts of the same whole. Recently, McQuarrie revealed Mission: Impossible 8 was born out of having too much material for 7, in which he wanted to create deep emotional arcs for every character. “Going into this, I said, ‘I want to take what we learned from Fallout and apply it to every character in the movie,” McQuarrie said, referring to the franchise’s previous installment Mission: Impossible – Fallout. The 2018 Fallout was extremely well-received by fans and critics alike, and managed to become the top-grossing film in the franchise with $787.4 million worldwide.

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Because of the great heights Fallout reached, expectations are high for these next two action-packed installments. While the main plot is unknown, it’s clear it’s going to get more serialized than the franchise ever has been before. There’s also a good chance they’ll feature callbacks to the earlier films in the franchise, because Henry Czerny (who played original IMF boss Kittridge) is returning for the first time since the original Mission: Impossible. So much is being kept a secret, but one thing is certain: Cruise will be doing more insane, death-defying stunts. It’s just a plus that there will be a cool story alongside them.

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