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Hannah Waddingham Ditches AFC for the IMF in ‘Mission: Impossible 8’

Hannah Waddingham at the 2022 Emmys

She’s heading from the football pitch to the globetrotting exploits of the IMF. Everyone’s favorite statuesque Ted Lasso star, Hannah Waddingham, has officially joined the cast of the eighth Mission: Impossible film, Dead Reckoning Part Two. This news comes just days before Waddingham’s current (and perhaps most well-known) project, Ted Lasso will kick off its third—and, if rumors are to be believed, final—season, which would free Waddingham up for a no-doubt demanding film shoot.

Waddingham is just the latest cast member to join an already star-studded film: In addition to franchise mainstay Tom Cruise, Mission: Impossible 8‘s confirmed cast members include Hayley Atwell, Vanessa Kirby, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Holt McCallany, Pom Klementieff, Esai Morales, Shea Whigham, Indira Varma, Cary Elwes, and Nick Offerman.

Mission: Impossible 8 will serve as the back-half of a two-part story kicking off with the upcoming Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, and will mark the end (for now) of director Christopher McQuarrie’s tenure with the franchise, having helmed Mission: Impossibles 5-8. McQuarrie’s departure doesn’t necessarily signal the end of the franchise, though Tom Cruise’s close working relationship with the filmmaker may mean it’s some time before the right director is found to continue the series—if that’s where Cruise and Skydance want to go.

As for what Waddingham’s role in the film could be, it’s anyone’s guess. The franchise certainly has no shortage of femme fatales (Ilsa and the White Widow will both be returning for Dead Reckoning Part One) and it certainly would be entertaining to see Tom Cruise’s Ethan hunt go toe-to-toe with Rebecca Welton herself. In all likelihood, though, it seems like Waddingham will be one of the good guys—alongside the announcement of her addition to the cast, McQuarrie shared the following photo to his Instagram:

While the caption doesn’t provide much info about her character, the costuming and background might: Waddingham’s fur-lined pilot’s jacket and embroidered baseball cap seem to imply she’s a member of some sort of Air Force program (from which country, though?), which would line up with previous reports of Tom Cruise filming scenes on a U.S. Aircraft Carrier off the Italian Coast. Regardless of the nitty-gritty details of her role, Waddingham’s addition to the cast is an exciting development for the franchise. While we may be two years away from seeing her in action (Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part Two hits theaters June 28, 2024), fans can catch her in season 3 of Ted Lasso, which premieres March 15 on Apple TV+.

(via The Hollywood Reporter; featured image: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images)

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Lauren Coates is a Chicago-based film & television critic and freelance journalist who works as a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. You can find her on Twitter @laurenjcoates and read more of her work on Culturess.