Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning – The Entity explained

Cameron Frew
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt and The Entity in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1Paramount Pictures

What is The Entity in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1? Here’s everything you need to know about the most dangerous MacGuffin in the franchise’s history.

For more than 25 years, Ethan Hunt has confronted and pursued some of the most imposing threats in the world: moles in intelligence agencies, bioweapons, nuclear warfare, a network of rogue agents hellbent on disorder and suffering, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Each time, with the help of his nifty, game crew, he somehow succeeds – often by the skin of their teeth with mere seconds, if not milliseconds to spare.

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In the seventh entry, little has changed. He chooses to accept another mission, but this time, it’s not some tangible, dangerous weapon or a Solomon Lane-esque villain he’s chasing: it’s the Entity, a vast force of technological nature that could change the hierarchy of power on Earth with any one of its quadrillion computations.

For the avoidance of doubt, it’s an extraordinary film, but as we said in our review, “there’s stuff we shouldn’t know, but there’s headache-bound confusion in working out what we should know.” So, with Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 hitting cinemas this week, here’s what we know (or what we think we know) about the Entity. Spoilers to follow…

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What is The Entity in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1?

The Entity is a hyper-advanced, self-aware artificial intelligence created by an unknown party.

In an early scene in the film, members of a secret intelligence group known as the Community – including CIA director and former IMF chief Eugene Kittridge – brief Denlinger, the head of national security, on the Entity.

They explain how the AI evolved and started targeting global banks and defence systems. Pretty much any cyber-infrastructure is defenceless against it, but for now, it hasn’t been doing any harm – it’s simply walked in, left plenty of fingerprints, and walked out again, signalling larger, more devastating actions in the future.

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It’s a “godless, stateless enemy” who’s “everywhere and nowhere”, capable of penetrating any security, hitting the self-destruct button, and leaving without a trace. Every country wants a slice of it – despite acting like they don’t. In Kittridge’s words, it’s a “new contestable form of world dominance.” It can also predict the most probable future – including who dies in Dead Reckoning Part 1.

While we haven’t met who’s behind the AI yet, it does rely on human helpers such as Gabriel, who runs around the world in search of two cruciform keys which should unlock its secrets.

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In a later scene, Denlinger explains to Gabriel that the US government stole the AI and uploaded the prototype in a trial to sabotage the Sevastapol, a Russian submarine. It “overperformed” and “evolved, rebelled, and became the Entity.”

Dead Reckoning Part 1: What’s on the submarine?

The movie opens with the Sevastapol submarine sinking in the Arctic after it fired a torpedo at an enemy, only for them to vanish from their radar. The torpedo then rerouted itself towards the Russian submarine, striking it and causing the watercraft to plummet to the seabed.

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According to Denlinger, the secrets of the Entity are inside the submarine; more specifically, its source code prior to becoming the Entity is in its state-of-the-art sonar and stealth defense system. So, if someone finds the submarine, gets in, and makes a quick getaway with the code, they may be able to control the Entity altogether – or kill it, if Ethan has his way.

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.