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Is Luther The Real Villain Of Mission Impossible 7?

"Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One" introduces a remarkably prescient threat to the franchise — artificial intelligence. A rogue AI, known as The Entity, draws the attention of world powers that all want to obtain a key that would allow them to control its source code and thereby control what's "real." Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team want to get the key so that they can destroy The Entity, in a plot eerily reminiscent of "Terminator 3," but the code has human operatives doing its bidding, such as Gabriel (Esai Morales).

Naturally, as a "Part One," there's still a lot the audience doesn't know about The Entity. All should be revealed in the sequel, so in the meantime, plenty of fan theories abound, including who could really be behind the creation of The Entity. It may be a little out of left field, but what if Luther (Ving Rhames) is responsible? 

Luther has long been Ethan's computer technician, handling the more technical aspects of a job while Ethan goes out in the field. He would certainly have the technological know-how to develop an AI system. And who's to say it didn't go beyond his control to the point where it jeopardizes the world's safety? It would be heartbreaking if Luther became an outright villain, but there's some evidence from "Mission: Impossible 7" to lend the theory credence.

Luther caught on to The Entity's abilities quickly

The "Mission: Impossible" movies are prone to double-crosses and characters going from good guys to bad ones. Luther has been a fixture of the franchise for a long time, so while it would be disheartening to see him develop something that could feasibly destroy the world, there's evidence from "Dead Reckoning Part One" to suggest he played a hand in creating The Entity.

For starters, there's the scene in the Abu Dhabi airport where Luther detects a suspicious bag. Benji (Simon Pegg) is the one who checks it out and discovers what looks like a nuclear explosive. But Luther was the one who set him onto the bag, so what if he was the one to put it there in the first place? After all, the device didn't actually contain any explosives, which would fit Luther's M.O. of still being good and not wanting anyone to get hurt. 

Throughout the rest of the movie, Luther and Benji provide technical support, and Luther always seems to catch on quickly when The Entity gets involved. Toward the end, he leaves for an off-grid site to investigate traces of the AI on his hard drive. There's a chance he did this to cover his tracks or better understand his creation and where it's at now. Maybe Luther isn't a full-blown villain at this point. He could've been working under someone else (either of his own accord or under duress) to develop The Entity and is doing everything he can to keep the AI going while hurting as few people as possible. It may be a stretch, but we'll have to see how everything plays out when "Dead Reckoning Part Two" tentatively comes out on June 28, 2024.