The Mission: Impossible franchise always focused on a team coming together to complete an impossible mission that would save the world. And as such we've seen a collection of big names move through the movies over the years, with many returning for multiple appearances. Mission: Impossible 7 was setting up to have the biggest cast yet, as even some actors that hadn't been seen since the early days of the franchise were set to return. However, one actor who originally said they were on board the new film is now saying that's not, as Angela Bassett now says she won't be back.
Back in November Angela Bassett was very clear that, when filming resumed on the new movie, she'd be flying off to reprise her role as Erika Sloane, the Director of Central Intelligence. She appeared in Mission: Impossible - Fallout as the new boss, overseeing Alec Baldwin's Alan Hunley and the IMF. Collider recently spoke with Bassett and asked her if she could tease anything about Mission: Impossible 7, but she could not, because she's not in it. According to Bassett...
I can’t tease anything about Mission: Impossible 7 except that, well, COVID took me out, literally. Or kept me out, how about that? So that’s all I know about that, but maybe I’ll be able to tease 8 when that comes along.
COVID has been a bigger headache for the new Mission: Impossible movies than a lot of other projects. The new movie was just about to get started filming in Italy when the early days of what would become the global pandemic closed down the country. Production on the film has closed down a couple of times due to reported positive virus tests as well.
In addition, Angela Bassett isn't the only actor who had to step back from appearing in the movie due to the pandemic. Nicholas Hoult was originally cast to play the movie's bad guy, or at least one of them, but had to drop out when the movie's production delay resulted in a scheduling conflict. It's possible something similar happened to Angela Bassett. She doesn't go into details about how COVID kept her out of the movie but a scheduling conflict seems like a likely scenario.
The other possibility is that changes to the production brought about by COVID have actually resulted in changes to the movie itself and that Angela Bassett's character simply doesn't appear in Mission: Impossible 7 anymore because the story has changed somewhat. On the plus side for Angela Bassett fans, her statement here can be read as somewhere between an implication and an indication that she is still on board Mission: Impossible 8, and that movie is set to begin filming as soon as the current shoot wraps up.