How Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One sets up Dead Reckoning Part Two (spoilers)

Were you left breathless and exhilarated by Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One this weekend? No doubt the spectacular new Tom Cruise movie left you with a lot of questions as to its cliffhanger ending, which is set to be resolved in next year's Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part Two.

Here are the ways in which the new movie sets up a thrilling endgame for Cruise's Ethan Hunt and the gang...




1. Things will come full circle back to the submarine...

National Security chief Delinger (Cary Elwes) confirmed that both halves of the cruciform key are needed to unlock the Entity's system core aboard the devastated Russian submarine, the Sevastopol. The Entity upgraded to have the sub destroy itself before the rogue A.I. went on to infect the world's security networks. However, the earliest incarnation of the Entity is still contained within the core and can be destroyed by whoever accesses it.

Delinger revealed this information to the Entity's human subordinate Gabriel (Esai Morales) while aboard the Orient Express before the latter slashed his throat. Given what Gabriel now knows, it's inevitable that the narrative will come full circle back to the Bering Strait where the Sevastopol still lies beneath the pack ice. And you can guarantee Ethan Hunt will be led there too, resulting in one final showdown.


2. ... And we're assuming this because writer-director Christopher McQuarrie has confirmed filming in the Arctic

As per McQ's Instagram account, this famously frigid and remote part of the globe is presumably being used to substitute for the stricken Sevastopol's final resting place.


And there's an added twist. Disgraced Langley operative William Dunloe (Rolf Saxon), from whom Hunt stole the secretive NOC list in the first Mission: Impossible movie, is revealed to have been banished to an Arctic relay station. Can he possibly help locate the Sevastopol's final resting place?

3. Ethan will undoubtedly seek retribution for Ilsa's death...

In the words of Ethan's IMF team member Luther (Ving Rhames), the group is now essentially playing 4D chess with an invisible enemy that sees everything, including the outcome of every life-or-death battle.

In Dead Reckoning Part One, this has tragic consequences when Gabriel kills Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) during a knife fight in Venice. Gabriel had warned that either Ilsa or thief Grace (Hayley Atwell) would perish due to the Entity's calculations.

This makes things especially personal between Hunt and Gabriel, and that's not the only reason.


4. ... And his backstory with Gabriel will likely be filled in

We found out that Gabriel once killed a person who was close to Ethan, instigating his move to the IMF. It's not clear from Dead Reckoning Part One who this person is – a wife? Girlfriend? Either way, it was enough to turn Hunt's life upside down and help transform him into a globe-trotting, seemingly impervious super spy.

There's much more dramatic potential to be mined from this tragic conflict as Dead Reckoning Part Two reaches its undoubtedly explosive endgame.


5. Gabriel will come looking for Ethan's half of the key...

Dead Reckoning Part One cleverly interlaces Hunt's capacity for sleight of hand magic, last seen in the original Mission: Impossible movie. This running motif culminates in Hunt craftily stealing one-half of the key from Gabriel during the climactic fight on top of the Orient Express; the latter only realises when he escapes, apparently triumphant, but then bereft and enraged.


6. ... But without the support of his loyal assassin Paris

After Ethan spares Paris' (Pom Klementieff) life in Venice, Gabriel calculates that Paris will then betray him as per the Entity's statistical probability. He then tries to kill her while aboard the Orient Express. It's revealed at the end of the movie that Paris just about survived Gabriel's subterfuge, and it's more likely than not that she'll align with Ethan, Grace and the rest of the team to take Gabriel down for good.


7. The White Widow will also want what's rightfully hers

Vanessa Kirby's mysterious arms dealer Alanna bartered for ownership of the key during the tense Venetian nightclub sequence. However, she was ultimately thwarted during the climactic Orient Express sequence, drugged and swapped out for Grace, wearing Alanna's face as a mask as she negotiated with IMF head Eugene Kittridge (Henry Czerny).

Alanna is still an influential power player in the Mission: Impossible universe and there's no doubt that she'll be on the warpath, looking to claim back the key and sell it as she seeks revenge against Hunt and his team.


8. Grace will become the newest member of the IMF...

This is all but confirmed at the close of Dead Reckoning Part One, and Grace's imminent IMF arrival is lent further gravitas by the punctuations of the classic Mission: Impossible theme by composer Lorne Balfe.

Throughout the movie, she vacillates as a free agent and someone who has, in the palm of their hand, the chance to do something good and save the world from total annihilation. Come the onslaught of mask reveals, betrayals and train crashes at the end of the movie, Grace attains her measure of redemption and looks to be the replacement for Ilsa in Dead Reckoning Part Two (and maybe beyond?)


9. ... And we imagine Kittridge will become the new Director of National Intelligence

Well, given there's now a space left by the recently departed Delinger, and given Kittridge's (Henry Czerny) slippery level of ambition, we imagine he'll maneuver himself into place. And this might work to Hunt and the IMF's favour – what better ally than someone at the top of the National Security tree who can shield the IMF from rogue influence? Friends in high places and all that.


10. The battle for the key will expand

Hunt is warned at the outset of Dead Reckoning Part One that the world is coming after him. We've already had the stumbling intervention of two Community enforcers, Jasper Briggs and Degas (Shea Whigham and Greg Tarzan Davis), who consistently found themselves a step behind Hunt, before they realised that he wasn't actually the guilty party.

Christopher McQuarrie has Instagrammed a pic of Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham playing what appears to be a Naval officer. If this is true, it's indicative of how the global search for the key and the Entity's site core has become more expansive and dangerous with yet more super-powers bartering for ownership of the deadly A.I. 


Can't wait to see the movie again? Click the link below to get your tickets for the Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One, on release now at Cineworld.