‘Joker’ Actor Joins ‘Mission: Impossible’ Sequels: Who Could He Be Playing?

Mission: Impossible just added another familiar face to its upcoming sequels.

Of course, today’s cinematic landscape isn’t ruled by movie stars. Rather, film franchises are the order of the day. Take, for instance, the most successful films of 2019, a year ruled by superheroes, Disney, and Disney-owned superheroes.

That doesn’t mean these franchise projects can’t deliver something daring and different. Just look at Joker, which many critics and moviegoers consider among the year’s best movies. Now an actor from that film has just joined the next two sequels in the Mission: Impossible series.

Actor Shea Whigham
Actor Shea Whigham | Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

‘Joker’ continues to make an impact

Whenever a film breaks through that $1 billion ceiling, the industry takes notice. In the case of Joker, Warner Bros.’ risky, midbudget gamble paid off in a number of different ways. Director Todd Phillips’ film delivered more than just a mountain of box office cash at a crucial time for DC Films.

After all, the company only recently began to find its footing. Joker cemented DC Films as a legitimate competitor for Marvel Studios, one willing to take chances the Disney-owned Marvel might not. The controversy surrounding the film also kept people talking and heading out to theaters to experience Phillips’ vision for themselves.

But Joker also might be the film to finally earn star Joaquin Phoenix his first Academy Award. By extension, the film’s ensemble cast now has a huge hit on their resumes and is poised to leverage the film’s success with their next projects.

Shea Whigham has joined the ‘Mission: Impossible’ series

In Joker, character actors Bill Camp and Shea Whigham play two Gotham City detectives hot on the tail of Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck. While the actors don’t receive much screentime, they have been delivering solid work for years. Now Whigham has joined the next two Mission: Impossible films in a mystery role, as confirmed by director Christopher McQuarrie.

Whigham has dabbled in blockbusters before, having appeared in two Fast and Furious movies and Kong: Skull Island. But he may be better known for his work on television. The actor played Elias “Eli” Thompson on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and has played key roles on shows like Agent Carter, Fargo, and Homecoming.

We still have no idea what kind of role Whigham will be playing. McQuarrie’s tease that “You won’t see him coming…” doesn’t offer much help, considering these are spy thrillers we’re dealing with. But that ominous wording may indicate Whigham is an antagonist out to get Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt.

What we know about ‘Mission: Impossible 7 and 8’

In fact, pure speculation is mostly what we have to go on for the next two Mission: Impossible films. We know that McQuarrie and Cruise are shooting them back to back, but no plot details have been revealed just yet. These projects will extend McQuarrie’s run in the franchise to four consecutive films, following 2015’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation and 2018’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout.

In addition to Cruise, the only confirmed star returning for the next two films is Rebecca Ferguson. Her character, Ilsa Faust, debuted in Rogue Nation and has emerged as a fan favorite ever since. Marvel stars Hayley Atwell and Pom Klementieff have also joined the cast for the untitled sequels.

Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 are currently scheduled to hit theaters on July 23, 2021 and Aug. 5, 2022, respectively. Of course, we’ll be watching to see how these projects develop as production continues. Needless to say, we hope more actors as accomplished as Whigham join McQuarrie’s ensemble cast soon.