Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Mission: Impossible 7 - Who Is 'The Entity'? Dead Reckoning's Evil A.I. Explained

Contains spoilers for "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One"

Over the course of the first six "Mission: Impossible" movies, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has battled terrorists, rogue agents, and numerous other villains. But he's never faced anything quite like his new foe in "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning: Part One." In the franchise's seventh installment, Ethan and his renegade IMF crew face off against the Entity, a malicious AI with shadowy plans of world domination. The digital demon is a brilliant, cunning, and sadistic enemy, and though Ethan ends the movie one step ahead of it, the Entity is far from defeated.

What exactly is the Entity? As explained in the movie, it's not just one AI, but a network of them. At one point, it's described as having multiple personalities, all working as one. The Entity was created to be a much simpler AI, but after being left to its own devices, it evolved, went "mad," and set its sights — for reasons yet unknown — on taking over our world.

The Entity may have no physical form, but its powers are still frightening. Its main weapon is information control. Throughout the film, we see the AI impersonate different characters over voice calls, erase people's faces from security camera footage, and infiltrate basically every advanced database in the world, demonstrating its incredible prowess. Still, the Entity has yet to make its big move, leaving much of its mission and motivation still shrouded in mystery.

Who created the Entity in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning?

For most of "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One," the origins of the Entity are left unclear. We first see it plugged into the computer system on a Russian submarine, which it promptly destroys and escapes. That would suggest that the Russians were the ones to create the AI — a theory that seems to be supported by the later bafflement of the United States intelligence community. However, at the end of "Dead Reckoning Part One," we learn that the Entity was actually made in the U.S.

Director Denlinger (Cary Elwes), a previously unassuming intelligence official, reveals to Gabriel (Esai Morales) in the film's final act that the Entity was created as a tool of the U.S. government. Its placement on the Russian submarine was a kind of test run, as the AI's handlers wanted to see if it could effectively disrupt the sub's stealth systems. However, things went wrong when the Entity developed a mind of its own, destroyed the submarine, and vanished into the digital void.

Denlinger reveals that he has villainous plans for the Entity, wishing to use it to overthrow the U.S. government and create a global fascist superstate to rule the world. Whether or not this was always the plan since the AI's creation is unclear, but given how few other U.S. intelligence officials know of the Entity's origins, it seems likely that Denlinger was operating in relative secret before his death.

How the Entity is different from other movie AIs

AI movies are all the rage these days, which makes sense given the rapid development of real-world artificial intelligence. However, the Entity is treated much differently from most big-screen AI villains. Though it possesses all the usual trademarks — unlimited digital resources, a snarky sense of humor, etc. — it's treated more like a demon or an evil god than a machine.

The Entity itself almost never speaks directly. It does briefly while assuming the voice of Benji (Simon Pegg), but most of the time it just lurks in the background. The garbled gurgle that marks its "true" voice is almost alien, and the various visualizers that represent its "form" are inconstant and abstract.

"Dead Reckoning" uses a lot of religious and even mythical language when dealing with the Entity. From its herald being named Gabriel — a biblical archangel — to other characters referring to it as an "infernal machine," the film evokes more Lovecraftian cosmic horror than true science fiction at times. This shift in genre gives the Entity a wholly strange quality that makes it even more terrifying, while still being linked to our real-world AI analogs.

What we still don't know about the Entity in Mission: Impossible

For as much as "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One" reveals about the Entity, there's far more that we still don't know by the end. We don't know how it got on the Russian sub, where the mysterious keys that control it came from, or why its mainframe can still be accessed through the sub's wreckage. We don't know how or why it struck up a relationship with Gabriel. And beyond all of those logistical questions, we still don't really know what the Entity actually wants.

Near the beginning of the movie, we learn that the AI intentionally infiltrated every major intelligence database on Earth — a sort of announcement to the governments of the world that it could dismantle them at a whim. However, the Entity then retreats, spending most of the movie messing with Ethan Hunt and the IMF. Does it want what Denlinger wants — to subdue the world under an oppressive regime that controls the very flow of truth? Or are its plans more complex?

Only "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part Two" can answer these questions. For now, we're left only with the mystery of what the Entity might do next.