‘Mission Impossible’ Recurring Characters That You Should Know About

No classic fictional covert operative gets their job done without the assistance of a team of agents acting as foils to the more brooding, serious lead, nor can they show off their skills without having an established archenemy, and the “Mission Impossible” franchise is no exception in that regard. Along with the charismatic, daring super-spy Ethan Hunt in the lead, the franchise boasts a number of series mainstay characters in supporting roles, acting either with or against the overseeing organization, the IMF. With the latest, 7th entry of the franchise, Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1, to be released, let’s take a look at some of the franchise’s recurring characters and discuss their potential role in the upcoming movie.

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Spoilers Ahead


Luther Stickell 

Like Watson to Holmes and Alfred to Batman, the senior IMF agent Luther Stickell is to Ethan Hunt, a watchful guardian, a loyal friend and guide. The mild-mannered, genius techie prefers to keep his feet on the ground, and his choice of arena for espionage and deep-state missions is mostly confined to computer screens. Even beyond his duty to the organization or nation, he values his loyalty and friendship to Ethan the most, and likewise, Ethan trusts Luther with his life. During the first appearance of Ethan Hunt in the franchise in “Mission: Impossible” (1996), the young spy assembled his team by reinstating the previously disavowed Luther in the organization, and from that point on, the bond between the two has only gotten stronger through the years. In his most desperate situations, Ethan looks to Luther for counsel and relies on his level-headedness.

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Most of Ethan’s death-defying escapades would have ended in failure if not for Luther’s unwavering faith and constant assistance, and the daredevil acknowledges this too. Just like Luther, Ethan values his most trusted ally more than loyalty towards his organization and his country, which is shown in the last entry, Mission Impossible: Fallout. The terror organization Apostles takes Luther hostage, forcing Ethan to abandon his duties and gaining an initial advantage. Ethan’s friendship with Luther is likely to be tested once again in the upcoming movie, as the trailer indicates he will be faced with the toughest choice of his life: saving the world or the ones most close to him. Ving Rhames will reprise his role as Luther for the seventh time in the upcoming movie, and we feel the character deserves a solo entry of his own.


Benji Dunn

Simon Pegg’s eccentric, chirpy, quirky take on another of the brilliant minds of the IMF, Benji Dunn, is undoubtedly one of the most memorable characters of the franchise. Despite being a master techie, much like Luther, Benji looks for opportunities to take on field duty alongside Hunt and serves as comic relief through all his nagging and tantrum-throwing during that. Like Luther, Benji, too, is fiercely loyal to Hunt and has betrayed IMF on a number of occasions to assist his friend. In the character’s first appearance in Mission Impossible 3, Benji’s peppy personality balanced the more emotional, dark overtone of the narrative, and the character has appeared in all MI movies since. Honestly, it’s tough to even imagine how Ethan Hunt’s career would have been shaped if not for the presence of Benji and Luther—a little less exciting, we presume.

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Julia Meade

For someone like Ethan Hunt, who finds himself cheating death every now and then in his everlasting battle with corrupt governments, heinous terrorists, and worse, the concept of family should seem like a far-fetched fantasy. But even Ethan got a chance to adopt a quaint family life when he fell in love with Dr. Julia Meade and married her in Mission Impossible 3. However, keeping the truth of his identity a secret from her spells disaster, as Julia gets entangled in the conspiracy of ruthless arms dealer Owen Davian, resulting in her getting abducted and Ethan facing a near-death situation. Contrary to most spy movie’s love interests, Julia is no damsel in distress, as she shows exceptional courage in gunning down the villainous agent Musgrave and bringing Ethan back to life. Unfortunately, to keep Julia from getting dragged into these kind of dangerous situations that follow Ethan, he has to fake her death, and the couple gets separated eventually. We meet Julia in a smaller capacity in Ghost Protocol and in Fallout, where she has married a guy named Erik. We wish to see Michelle Monaghan appear once more in the upcoming movies to portray Julia, as the farewell between Ethan and her deserves more emotional closure.


Ilsa Faust

The concept of a triple agent in spy movies isn’t unheard of but is surely tricky to pull off, but it didn’t prove to be much of a challenge to the enigmatic Rebecca Ferguson, who portrayed the character of Ilsa Faust (the said triple agent) with relative ease. The former MI6 operative and skilled assassin Ilsa Faust was a part of the villainous deep-cover organization The Syndicate, which transformed into the terrorist group The Apostles later on. Ilsa gradually turns on her former organization and helps her initial adversary, Ethan Hunt, take it down. Her oscillating allegiance, shifting either to the greater good or to herself, makes a compelling character drama in itself, and her relation to Ethan almost evokes 70s detective noir vamp character vibes. Pardon another DC comics reference, but Ethan and Ilsa’s complex relationship, changing trust, and differing motivations, feel extremely similar to the character dynamics between Batman and Catwoman in comics. Even at one point during Rogue Nation, Ilsa asks Ethan to leave the life of an agent behind and start a new one with her, similar to what Selina asked Bruce in The Dark Knight Rises. In both cases, the responsibility factor seems to be a priority for the male protagonists over their personal choices, and they reject the chance of a lifetime. Ilsa is going to play a significant role in the upcoming seventh entry of the franchise, and fans are waiting with bated breath to see her jumping into action side by side with Ethan.

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Solomon Lane

A ‘perfect man’ archetype like Ethan Hunt needs a villain of equal or greater caliber to match, and the psychopathic sadist Solomon Lane, played by Sean Harris, proves to be such a diabolical force. The ex-MI6, who got disenchanted after serving the forces, got a knack for genocide after taking numerous lives, despised the bureaucrat-controlled world order, and had the radical idea of changing the existing system by turning the British government agency “The Syndicate” into the terror-for-hire organization “The Apostles.” As a brilliant criminal mastermind, Lane’s nihilism drives him to operate with a cold, calculative perspective while bringing doom to the world’s governments. However, Lane often finds the Ethan Hunt-led IMF foiling his plans, making the latter his worst enemy, with whom he would have a personal score to settle still, which can be explored in the upcoming movie as well.


William Brandt

The most curious case in MI lore might be that of IMF agent William Brandt, who was slated to replace Ethan Hunt in the future of the franchise. That, thankfully, didn’t take place, and Tom Cruise is still pacing through high-octane action sequences in the franchise’s movies, but the character who played a pivotal role in Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation vanished altogether from the franchise. Perhaps it was due to actor Jeremy Renner’s ties with the MCU in his role as Clint Barton/Hawkeye that prevented his appearance in the sixth MI movie, but fans will surely like to see the character return in Dead Reckoning and his arc get a conclusion.


Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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