Warning: Minor SPOILER ahead for Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Mission: Impossible – Fallout has a surprising family connection, as Vanessa Kirby’s smooth-talking black market broker, the White Widow, is actually the daughter of Max, Vanessa Redgrave’s character from the first Mission: Impossible movie.
In Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) makes a difficult decision that results in three nuclear bombs being on the loose in the black market. In an effort to retrieve them, he must intercept a planned deal being brokered by the White Widow, but naturally things don’t go quite according to plan. Like her mother, the White Widow is a somewhat enigmatic figure, seemingly just out to find the best deal for herself. As for her true allegiance… well, we won’t give that away.
Kirby confirmed the connection in an interview with Digital Spy, saying, “Vanessa Redgrave is my mum in this one.” In the movie, the information is revealed in Kirby’s very first scene, as the White Widow makes a speech at a fundraiser for a charity founded after her mother died (yes, Max has passed away since the events of Mission: Impossible). Interestingly, though, Fallout seems to redeem Max by revealing that she funneled all of the money she made from her arms dealing into charitable causes. White Widow explains:
“There was another side to her. A side most people never saw. It is that part of her spirit that has brought us all together tonight. Max was something of a paradox. She had a fascination with paradoxes – a fascination she passed on to me. Max had no illusions about the world we live in, but she had dreams of a very different future. One in which her unique talents were no longer required. All she earned from the way the world is went into making it what it could someday be.”
The mention of Max’s fascination with paradoxes is a callback to Max’s memorable exchange with Ethan in Mission: Impossible, as she peers closely into his face and says, “You are something of a paradox.” Unfazed, Ethan replies, “Well that depends… whether you like a paradox.” Their meeting is mostly about careful bargaining, but there’s also a lot of flirtation in there, and Ethan certainly remembers Max – even 20 years later. When the White Widow mentions her mother’s name, there’s a reaction shot of Ethan’s moment of realization.
Fallout not only introduces Max’s daughter – who seems to have followed very closely in her footsteps – but also her son, Zola (Frederick Schmidt). Zola works with the White Widow and is protective of his sister, but it’s clear that he’s not the brains of the operation.
This was definitely a worthwhile callback to a relatively minor, but nonetheless memorable, character from the first Mission: Impossible movie, which manages to elaborate on her unique view of the world. Of course, we wouldn’t put it past Max to have faked her death, so perhaps Redgrave could still return in a future sequel.
Read more: screenrant.com