Where is Jeremy Renner in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning?

Cameron Frew
Jeremy Renner in Mission: Impossible - Ghost ProtocolParamount Pictures

Now that Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 is in cinemas, one question fans have is: where is Jeremy Renner, and will he ever return to the franchise? Here’s what you need to know.

Renner made his M:I debut in 2011’s Ghost Protocol, playing William Brandt, a high-ranking analyst with suspiciously good combat skills. After being confronted by the team, he revealed he was once a field agent, but he resigned after feeling responsible for the death of Ethan Hunt’s wife Julia.

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Fortunately, Hunt had it all under control: Julia’s death was staged so she could have a quiet, safe life with a new identity, and he protects her from afar. In Rogue Nation, Renner returned, this time working for the CIA after the IMF is disbanded. He later teams up with Luther on the mission and wears down CIA Director Hunley, who becomes the new IMF Secretary.

However, he didn’t appear in Fallout, nor is his name even mentioned in Dead Reckoning Part 1 – so, here’s what we know.

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What happened to Jeremy Renner in Mission: Impossible?

During the development of Ghost Protocol, Renner nearly became the new lead of the franchise, with Tom Cruise’s Hunt becoming the new IMF Secretary at the end of the film. This idea was nixed by Christopher McQuarrie, which is probably the first seed that led to his character being phased out.

Cinematographer Robert Elswit earlier told the Light the Fuse podcast: “The original version of Ghost Protocol… most of the people involved probably wouldn’t speak about this, but I can because nobody gives a sh*t about what I say.

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“The original version of this movie was at the end of it Tom Cruise stops being Ethan Hunt the agent and becomes Ethan Hunt the Secretary. The whole version of this was they were gonna put another IMF Mission unit together with another actor – maybe it’s Jeremy Renner, who knows who it is – and they’re gonna go through this series of wild events, and at the end Tom gets to be the Secretary and a new agent takes over the franchise. Which I think seemed kind of nutty, but that was kind of the marching orders.”

Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner in Mission: Impossible - Rogue NationParamount Pictures

McQuarrie reworked the script and kept Hunt as the anchor of the series. The director brought Renner back for Rogue Nation, but another blockbuster got in the way of him starring in Fallout: Avengers Infinity War.

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“Jeremy had his commitment to Avengers. And we didn’t know what [Fallout] was, so we couldn’t provide a schedule. We needed absolute freedom,” McQuarrie told Empire. However, he did offer him the chance to reprise his role one final time.

“Hey listen, I have this idea for an opening sequence where you sacrifice yourself to save the team, and that the mission-gone-wrong not only involves losing the plutonium but involves the death of a team member,” McQuarrie told Renner, but he had a swift response: “Thanks, but no thanks.”

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“He was smart not to take the short paycheck for three days of work and getting blown up,” the director said.

There’s a chance Brandt could return in Dead Reckoning Part 2, but let’s pour one out for all the other IMF folks missing in action: Jane Carter (Paula Patton), Zhen Lei (Maggie Q), Theodore Brassel (Laurence Fishburne), and Mission Commander Swanbeck (Anthony Hopkins).

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 is in cinemas worldwide now. Check out our other coverage below:

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About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, Oscars enthusiast, and a staunch Scot. He earned a First-Class Honours Degree in Multimedia Journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University, accredited by the NCTJ and BJTC. He began his career at UNILAD, starting as a Junior Journalist and becoming Entertainment Editor prior to joining Dexerto. You can contact him at cameron.frew@dexerto.com.