Mission: Impossible 8 Is Bringing Back Yet Another Deep Cut Cast Member From The Original Movie

 Tom Cruise stands in a crowd wearing sunglasses in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One.
Tom Cruise stands in a crowd wearing sunglasses in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One.
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The two part action movie extravaganza that is Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning is clearly pulling out all the stops. With Tom Cruise performing next level death-defying stunts and the return of old foes like Eugene Kittridge, all sorts of surprises are being used to tie the past and the present together in an explosive bow. Playing yet another surprising card from his deck of tricks, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie has outdone himself thanks to the return of yet another deep cut original cast member for Mission: Impossible 8.

Announcing this latest casting on his Instagram feed, McQuarrie revealed that Rolf Saxon will reprise his role of William Donloe from the 1996 origin story for Cruise’s Ethan Hunt. This means we’ll probably get to learn what happened to unfortunate CIA analyst Donloe after Henry Czerny’s Kittridge shipped him off to much colder climates. Take a look at the announcement below, complete with a photo of Saxon on set:

When we last left him in Mission: Impossible, William Donloe was the unfortunate pawn in the game of cat and mouse Ethan Hunt was playing with his once and future nemesis. Being sent to man a radar tower in Alaska, his supposed guilt by association in Hunt’s theft of the NOC List landed him one hell of a reassignment.

So, of course, we haven’t heard anything from Rolf Saxon’s unfortunate “that guy” throughout the rest of the mostly anthological Mission saga. Those early days in the saga changed personnel as much as they changed the style of Tom Cruise’s hair and musical accompaniment.

That said, if you showed the following photo to anyone who’s enjoyed the Tom Cruise series that followed, they’d probably still remember the character we’re currently talking about. Here's what Saxon looked like back in '96, when the world first saw William Donloe's unfortunate stomach issues:

Rolf Saxon holding his stomach with concern in Mission: Impossible.
Rolf Saxon holding his stomach with concern in Mission: Impossible.

The anthology approach started to become phased out the moment that Christopher McQuarrie handled uncredited story work on Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which ultimately led to his writing/directing gig on every subsequent film. Steering the ship since Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, McQuarrie has been tying the threads of the past and present together tightly, especially with the intent to reveal how Eugene Kittridge has changed since we last saw him.

Of course, judging by the trailer for Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One, Henry Czerny’s authoritarian do-gooder seems to have broken bad. As such, the ultimate showdown between Kittridge and Ethan Hunt looks to be the centerpiece of what could be Tom Cruise’s potential franchise finale.

Whether Rolf Saxon’s William Donloe will be an ally or a foe in Ethan Hunt’s journey to defeat his old boss once again remains to be seen. Then again, just being able to ask that question helps stoke the fires of anticipation for these next two showstoppers.

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning will reveal its secrets to the world, starting with Part One’s theatrical release on July 14th. Part Two closes things off with its arrival on June 28, 2024. So between now and next summer’s big ticket blockbuster, it would be very handy to maintain a Paramount+ subscription.

Not only can you stream all of the Tom Cruise films on that platform, but you could also catch the classic series that inspired the franchise. You never know who else is lurking in the shadows to make a Dead Reckoning return; and resources such as these are valuable when it comes to besting the enemy at their own game.