Before seeing Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One in theaters, there are some must-know characters and events to recap. The seventh installment of the majorly successful Mission: Impossible franchise is set to continue the critical and commercial success of its previous movie, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which brought Tom Cruise back to one of his several iconic roles as Ethan Hunt.
Let’s get into a brief recap of the entire Mission Impossible franchise.
The IMF Is Responsible For Averting Global Disasters
The primary outline of the series surrounds the Impossible Mission Force, an independent espionage agency that the U.S. government keeps in its employ. It’s not strictly part of the government itself because the IMF is seen as a risky agency with which the government can cut ties at any point.
The IMF is primarily responsible for things outside of the capabilities of the FBI and CIA, with its agents largely kept a secret from many government members. Ethan Hunt’s role in the series is squarely tied with the IMF as a senior agent who has risen in the agency’s ranks.
Ethan Hunt joining the IMF and the Embassy Mission Explained
In 1996, the “Mission: Impossible” franchise was brought to the big screen with leading man Tom Cruise at the helm. His character’s name is Ethan Hunt, and he works at the IMF under the leadership of his mentor Jim Phelps. In the film, audiences discover that Phelps recruited and trained Ethan in the IMF.
Under his watchful eye, Ethan has become one of the finest field agents to grace the agency, with his career trajectory seemingly limitless if he continues down this path with Phelps leading the way.
While Ethan is an incredibly skilled agent during this time, he can’t let himself truly blossom until he’s taken from the shadow of his mentor and friend, Phelps. Ethan is very comfortable working with this team, so it’s unclear if he would drive himself to become a leader if not for the events of the embassy mission in the first “Mission: Impossible” film.
Unfortunately, once the mission starts, things quickly turn sour. Ethan’s entire team is murdered and betrayed, leaving only Ethan alive. When the IMF sends an agent to debrief Ethan, he learns that the whole operation was a set-up that the agency initiated to suss out a mole.
Since Ethan’s the last one standing (at the moment), they assume it’s him. Ethan manages to escape the IMF and begins his investigation to uncover who betrayed him, why his team was murdered, and stop the list from being distributed. Talk about an impossible task.
The primary storyline here was Phelps killing off his team members and pinning the blame on Ethan.
Moreover, he sold the names of all the IMF agents in Central Europe to an arms dealer named Max, which Ethan managed to intercept. Jim’s betrayal turned Ethan into someone who only trusted those who proved themselves to him. Max’s role became notable in Mission Impossible: Fallout, where Ethan learns her children have become arms dealers.
Who Are Ethan’s Closest Allies?
Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) are Ethan’s most trusted allies throughout Mission: Impossible 4 – 6 and will undoubtedly be by Ethan’s side in Dead Reckoning Part One.
Benji is an advanced hacker that typically helps Ethan remotely during his missions by opening locked doors and granting him access to encrypted locations. Benji first appeared in Mission: Impossible III, while Luther, a field agent and computer specialist, has supported Ethan in every Mission: Impossible movie.
Is Ethan considered an asset or a liability to the IMF?
By Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, it became clear that the world’s governments had been compromised. It’s up to Ethan to convince people in authoritative positions to believe his claim that the Syndicate is responsible for pulling the strings of corruption.
Some of the very best Mission: Impossible movies yet have to do with Ethan’s being questioned by the IMF itself. The agency sees him as a maverick who does what he wants while undermining orders. This sensitive position for the protagonist has gotten him on the wrong side of his superiors.
IMF Secretaries like Alan Hunley have both opposed and supported Ethan’s methods but have faced the brunt of the government for his questionable tactics. Each movie sees Ethan going against orders and dealing with the consequences of his actions.
Ethan rejoins the IMF
Following the events of the embassy mission, Ethan becomes jaded and develops serious trust issues after his mentor and agency’s betrayal. When audiences meet Ethan Hunt again in “Mission: Impossible 2,” he’s returned to IMF but no longer works with a set team.
This time, his Mission is to stop a rogue IMF agent named Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) from unleashing a bio-weapon called Chimera.
Ethan opts to recruit his specialized team to ensure no one has potential ties that might betray him.
The Syndicate And Apostles Corrupted The Governments
The Syndicate is a mighty terrorist organization, the main antagonist for the subsequent two films in the “Mission: Impossible” series. The group is initially proposed to the British government as a way to recruit covert agents from around the globe, providing them with new identities and having them participate in missions outside the law.
Solomon Lane is the Syndicate’s leader after MI6 handler Atlee originally started it. The Apostles are the remnants of the Syndicate after Lane is exposed, still causing corruption by using August Walker/John Lark as the inside man who convinces CIA Director Erika Sloane to distrust Ethan until his villainy is revealed.
Ethan Was Hunted By The CIA In Rogue Nation
Despite Ethan being an undeniably good guy, his insubordinate persona often gets him into trouble with his superiors. In Rogue Nation, CIA operative Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) makes it his mission to track down Hunt. He wanted to stop him from potentially creating international conflicts because he was determined to expose the shadow organization called the Syndicate.
At one point, Hunley even authorizes the assassination of Ethan Hunt, seeing him as a threat to world order.
Ilsa Faust Betrayed The Syndicate To Join Ethan’s IMF
While undercover inside the Syndicate directly connected to Soloman Lane, IIsa Faust compromises her position to join Ethan and the IMF.
After she and Ethan are friendly antagonists throughout Rogue Nation, they ultimately join forces to stop Lark and contain Soloman Lane as a prisoner. Faust essentially defects from MI6 to join Ethan’s IMF after Atlee is exposed as one of the creators of the Syndicate. She, like Ethan, is a warrior without a country.
Ilsa Faust Saved Ethan’s Life Twice In Rogue Nation
Ilsa saved Ethan’s life on two separate occasions in Rogue Nation, making him indebted to her and instantly trusting of her true feelings for him.
Ilsa initially saves Ethan’s life while undercover as a Syndicate member when she is a British intelligence operative that has infiltrated the shadow group. She then saves Ethan again during a mission gone bad but ends up betraying Ethan to regain the trust of Syndicate leader Soloman Lane. She also saves Ethan’s life again in a bathroom brawl in Fallout.
Surprise, Ethan is betrayed again.
Another “Mission: Impossible” film, another betrayal of Ethan. Two years after Ethan managed to arrest Solomon Lane, the Syndicate disbanded and renamed themselves the Apostles. Now Ethan, Luther, and Benji are assigned to retrieve three stolen plutonium cores from the Apostles.
Unfortunately, they fumble the mission, and because of this mistake, the CIA gets involved. They assign August Walker (Henry Cavill) to accompany Ethan for the rest of his mission to ensure no more problems.
It turns out this is a bad call, as August is John Lark, leader of the Apostles. He arranges to break Solomon Lane out of prison, causing Ilsa to come seeking her revenge against him. She eventually teams up with Ethan to help his team take down the Apostles once and for all.
By the end of the film, Ethan bumps into Julia once more as she’s working at a medical camp in the Kashmir region, which just so happens to be the target location of the Apostles. She helps Ethan and his team stop Solomon and John Lark, and while it’s clear that the two still love each other, she’s now happily married to someone else.
This gives Ethan the all-clear to accept his feelings for Ilsa, something he seemingly couldn’t do with the thought of Julia lingering in his mind.
The White Widow Was Introduced In Fallout
The White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) was introduced in Fallout and will appear in Dead Reckoning Part One. White Widow, also known by her traditional name of Alanna Mitsopolis, is a prominent activist and philanthropist who funds her efforts through illegal arms dealing and money laundering.
She teamed up with Ethan and the IMF in Fallout to capture Soloman Lane and return him to the possession of MI6.
Ethan’s Ex-Wife Julia Appeared In M:I III & Fallout
Ethan’s former wife Julia is revealed to be alive in Fallout, a claim Ethan has upheld since she first appeared in Mission: Impossible III. Ethan’s primary objective in Mission: Impossible III is to save Julia from Owen Davian, a dangerous arms dealer that the IMF is trying to neutralize.
After Ethan saves Julia, they agree that they must be apart because the world needs Ethan, who has retired from the IMF, to live a quiet life with her. Julia was revealed to have remarried a man named Erik in Fallout, so it is uncertain whether she will play a significant role in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.
Eugene Kittridge Hasn’t Appeared Since The First Mission: Impossible
One of the most compelling characters set to appear in Dead Reckoning Part One is Eugene Kittridge, Ethan’s original IMF director from the first film. Kittridge (Henry Czerny) initially tried to take Ethan out since he was under the false conviction that Ethan defected from the IMF and betrayed his team members, leading to their deaths.
Kittridge realized that Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) was the mole by the end of the first Mission: Impossible.
Have Ethan And Ilsa become a love interest?
Ethan and Ilsa’s paths crossed during their conflict with the Syndicate. While their goals have been different in both movies, they understand what drives the other. Ethan and Ilsa ended up uniting in their Mission to bring Solomon Lane down, and their respect for one another became an attraction.
By the events of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the two have clarified their feelings for one another. The movie’s end saw them admit their love, whose impact should be the primary arc for both characters when Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One begins.
About Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is an upcoming American action spy film written, produced, and directed by Christopher McQuarrie.
It is the sequel to Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) and is the seventh installment in the Mission: Impossible film series.
The film stars Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Esai Morales, Pom Klementieff, Mariela Garriga, Henry Czerny, Shea Whigham, Greg Tarzan Davis, Charles Parnell, Frederick Schmidt, Rob Delaney, Cary Elwes, Indira Varma, and Mark Gatiss.