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Mission Impossible 7 ending explained

The new action movie sees Tom Cruise return yet again as Ethan Hunt. Here we lay out everything that happens in our Mission Impossible 7 ending explained.

Mission Impossible 7 ending explained: Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible 7

What is the Mission Impossible 7 ending explained? It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for a new MI movie, but the time has finally arrived! Ethan Hunt and Co. are finally back on the big screen, delivering some of the biggest action punches we’ve seen all year.

Mission Impossible 7 is no short fare, and with a 2 hour 43 minute runtime as well as a litany of new characters, there’s a lot going on in the finale of one of the best action movies of 2023. That said, as endings go, it’s a pretty brilliant one, and perfectly sets up the oncoming action for the Mission Impossible 8 release date.

But where exactly does the MI:7 finale leave our Mission Impossible cast and characters? How are things looking for Ethan and his team? Well, wonder no more, because we’ve got you covered. Major spoilers ahead, because here’s the Mission Impossible 7 ending explained.

How does Mission Impossible 7 end?

Mission Impossible 7 ends with Ethan in possession of the key for The Entity’s source code, and escaping government agents to begin his journey to finding the Sevastopol submarine.

Much of the final act for Mission Impossible 7 takes place on the Orient Express, where the majority of our characters come together for one final (for now) showdown. Grace has been enlisted by Hunt and his team to assume the identity of Alanna with the classic MI mask gag. (It truly never gets old!) She’s taking Alanna’s place to meet with the as-of-yet unrevealed buyer, who’s after her half of the key in order to complete it.

Grace intercepts the real Alanna and knocks her out with an injection, taking her place and going to the meeting with Alanna’s brother Zola in her stead. When she finally meets the buyer, she’s shocked to find out that it’s Kittridge, the current director of the IMF. Kittridge is there with Denlinger, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Gasp.

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It’s revealed in a conversation between Gabriel, Paris, and Denlinger that the latter is after both halves of the key so that he can have control of The Entity, and will therefore make the US a global super nation. Essentially, he’s in a race to gain control of the sentient computer algorithm before the rest of the world’s other nations. He also reveals that he knows the location and purpose of the Sevastopol submarine, where The Entity’s source code is located.

But it turns out, sharing this was a big mistake, since Gabriel, who’s working on behalf of The Entity, confirms that Denlinger is the only one with this information before killing him by slitting his throat. He then tells Paris that he knows she will eventually betray him and reveal everything to Ethan, so he attacks her too. Being the badass she is, she fights back, but before Gabriel slips away he manages to stab her in the chest, leaving her alive but mortally wounded.

Gabriel also heads to the engine car, where he kills the engineers and breaks the train’s systems, meaning that it cannot be slowed down or stopped. Now, the train is a runaway locomotive pummeling through the mountains. Where are they headed? Towards a bridge where he has rigged several bombs to go off. Soon, everyone on board will be dead.

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Meanwhile, Ethan is trying to get on board the train while Benji drives along the roads and directs him. The plan is for him to motorcycle above the train and jump on board when it slows down on a curve. But because the train is now speeding ahead, there’s no opportunity for him to do so. As a last resort, Benji instructs him to a new path, where an unknowing Ethan is to launch himself off an incredibly high cliff and onto the train. …Just another day at the office.

Elsewhere, Grace (as Alanna, remember) is taking payment from Kittridge for the key. Knowing it must be authenticated by the other half, she connects both sides and confirms that the key is legitimate. While he’s wiring her the money, she has a change of heart, and tells him (as Alanna) that she doesn’t want the money any longer. She leaves the carriage, but not before using her pick-pocketing skills to take back the now completed key.

Ethan reaches the top of the cliff, and realizes that it’s now or never to launch himself onto the train. So, working himself up, he flies his motorcycle off the cliff, abandoning it in mid-air. He launches his parachute, guiding himself towards the Orient Express below.

Mission Impossible 7 ending explained: Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible 7

Eventually, the real Alanna wakes up dazed and disoriented, stumbling into the carriage with Kittridge and Zola. When they realize what’s happened, Zola takes after Grace, who has now removed her mask. They chase her down the carriages, eventually catching up to her. He looks as though he’s about to shoot her, but Ethan comes spectacularly crashing through one of the windows, knocking him to the ground.

There’s a scuffle, and Gabriel eventually comes into the carriage, stealing the key. Ethan follows him up to the roof of the train where he chases him down. The two become engaged in an exhausting fight, evading each other’s punches while they try not to fall off. Grace, meanwhile, heads to the front to try and stop it or slow it down, but discovers that she cannot do either.

Two government agents, Briggs and Degas, have been chasing Ethan down for going rogue, and eventually they find him and Gabriel. While they’re distracted, Gabriel flings himself off the train and onto a passing truck, making his escape, thinking he has the key. (But alas, he’s wrong, since Ethan likely learned a thing or two from Grace and stealthily nabbed it from him.)

Mission Impossible 7 ending explained: Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible 7

Ethan convinces the agents to let him try and save the passengers, so he and Grace run to detach the rest of the train from the engine car. Unfortunately, they’re not quick enough, and while the first carriage plummets off the cliff side, the train still starts to roll off the edge.

Ethan and Grace attempt to scramble their way through gradually falling carriages, including an explosive kitchen, glass-covered dining car, and now vertical bar. Ethan hoists them both up by holding onto the ledge of the bar, but the metal breaks and they both appear to fall. However, Paris, who is miraculously still alive, saves them both by pulling them up.

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They finally make their way into a safer carriage, where Paris collapses from her earlier wounds. She manages to reveal to Ethan the location of the source code for the key, which will allow him to destroy The Entity. Eventually, Briggs and Degas make their way into the carriage, but Ethan manages to parachute out with the key before they can arrest or shoot him.

Paris, though badly hurt, appears to still have a pulse. Kittridge comes in, and Grace tells him that she wants to join the IMF, as Ethan told her she could do earlier in the movie to atone for her previous criminal lifestyle.

Ethan finds Benji, handing him the key, and the two get into the car and drive away. The final shot of the movie is the Sevastopol submarine wreckage deep beneath the ocean, setting up Part Two in which Ethan must locate the source code and end things once and for all.

For more MI:7, check out our Mission Impossible 7 review, our interview with Hayley Atwell, and our guide on everyone who dies in Mission Impossible 7. You can also check out all the Mission Impossible movies in order, and take note of all the new movies coming out this year. Don’t forget about our list of the best movies of all time.