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‘Mission: Impossible’ Theory: Ethan Hunt Could Be New Head Of IMF

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Tom Cruise’s roles are some of the most iconic. He played Maverick in Top Gun, Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible films, Barry Seal in American Made, and Lt. Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men amongst others. This year Cruise’s Ethan Hunt was again in the spotlight in a new Mission: Impossible film with a part two still on the way.

For decades Ethan Hunt set about saving the world and stopping villains with quite a few twists and turns, and thrilling stunts along the way. Recently, in Dead Reckoning Part One, he was determined to stop a rogue AI from controlling the world. But, considering that Hunt has sacrificed everything he cared about in his past, what about his future? What could happen next for super spy Ethan Hunt?

[Warning: Spoilers from Mission Impossible movies are below!]

Ethan Hunt’s past will shape his future with the IMF

Ethan Hunt’s journey as an IMF agent has been amazing so far. He stopped nuclear rockets, deadly viruses, and cyber-attacks. All those events showed that he has exceptional leadership skills, and great social and communicative skills, leading to seeing people frequently changing their minds. From the beginning, he demonstrated the ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and make split-second decisions.

Before becoming an IMF agent, Ethan joined the army and fought in Desert Storm during the Gulf War. Before that, he earned a degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where he double majored in Engineering and International Relations. Afterward, he met Marie (Mariela Garriga), who was important to Ethan. When Ethan least expected it, Gabriel (Esai Morales) killed her. That’s when Kittridge (Henry Czerny) offered him to either join the IMF or go to prison for allegedly killing her.

After joining IMF, and after the events from the first two Mission: Impossible movies, he decided to settle down and start a family. He married Julia Meade (Michelle Monaghan) who didn’t know about his double life as an agent. Due to the threat of Julia being killed/used against Ethan, he faked her death and hid her. After years, they met again in Fallout, where he learned she married another man and is happy. That’s the second time Ethan lost someone close to him; now because he made the wrong choice and didn’t leave IMF. 

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’ (Paramount Pictures)

Over the years his team has changed, and he worked with different people, the one constant member who never left his side is Luther (Ving Rhames). The second one who’s longest along him is Benji (Simon Pegg). But why those other members from the past are so important? Mainly because they may be a part of his team once again. And they may join him in the new future where he, due to his noble sacrifices over the years and always doing what’s right, may become the new head director a.k.a. Secretary of the IMF.

Ethan Hunt’s IMF bosses know him best

Even when Ethan was disavowed multiple times by the IMF, his team never doubted him and decided he knows what’s right. No matter what, they were always by his side. Every IMF director, besides Kittridge, was on Hunt’s side and played the long game. By disavowing him, they saved their asses, but also kept an eye on him, and let him break the rules to save the world. Some more than others. But in the end, all of them knew, that results are more important than rules when it comes to saving the world.

I think we could even revisit some older directors from the past as we reach the end of Ethan Hunt’s journey. After Kitridge either leaves, is arrested, or dies, someone like that could nominate Ethan for the new director. I’d love to see Anthony Hopkins or Laurence Fishburne return and speak on Ethan’s behalf. 

Ethan Hunt sacrificed everything for not only his country but the whole world. Being nominated by past directors/secretaries would give him a bigger chance to become the new head of the agency. What’s also worth mentioning is that throughout his missions, Ethan has often collaborated with international agencies and formed alliances with their agents to achieve common goals. That’s also one of the things that could help him become the new secretary.

Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Fishburne
Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Fishburne in ‘Mission: Impossible’ (Paramount Pictures)

This ability to build partnerships could prove invaluable in a leadership role. As IMF secretary, Ethan Hunt could strengthen existing alliances and forge new ones. By creating a network of cooperation that enhances the IMF’s capabilities on a global scale, he could become one of the key leaders of this new world.

Hunt may need help from his friends as the new leader of IMF

Everything that happened so far throughout all seven Mission Impossible movies leads to one conclusion. And that is, the fact that Ethan’s greatest mission is this one. He has to stop this rogue AI to save people and keep their free will intact. To do this, he’ll have to choose different solutions that aren’t obvious. But, I don’t want to speculate on how it ends, because it’s somewhat obvious or at least very likely that Ethan Hunt and his allies will stop this AI.

But, after this, and after his potential promotion, there still will be impossible missions to take on around the world. One that wouldn’t require Ethan Hunt, but other people like him. And that’s where it would be his mission to make IMF a place where he recruits skilled agents, and let them save the world. I think that he’ll be even more ready to bend the rules and let agents solve different missions in ways he would never have thought about.

Also, Ethan’s encounters with cutting-edge technology let him gain new abilities to adapt to rapidly changing environments. This could lead to Benji becoming the head of the technology team in IMF. This could, in turn, be responsible for creating new helpful devices, not unlike the ones we see in James Bond films.

Conclusion: this is not a mission: impossible

The main argument that could help Ethan Hunt become the new IMF secretary is being in this agency for a long time and starting from the lowest point possible. He fought his way through difficult and dangerous missions and places many times. This corresponds with skills from the spectrum of field operatives that evolved into the skills of the secretary of IMF. What was also weird is that usually, secretaries of IMF were people from the outside, but now, with Ethan Hunt, that could change.

Having someone who experienced all of it, and knows how it’s supposed to work, could be the way to for the IMF. His leadership qualities, operational expertise, and visionary approach make him the best candidate for steering the IMF into the future. Securing its main goal: to help people and protect the world, and ensuring its continued success in the face of a constantly evolving world.

To see if my theory comes true, we’ll just have to wait and see how it all turns out with Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two in cinemas in 2025. What do you think? Do you want to see Ethan Hunt become the new head of IMF? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or The Cosmic Circus Discord.  For our reviews and other coverage of Part One, see the link and video below!

Cosmic Circus Reviews: Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One

Review: Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One is an Exhilarating Adventure

Mission: Impossible Dead reckoning Part One Banner

Hayley Atwell Reveals Impressive Stunts and More for Mission Impossible 7

Hayley Atwell on Mission Impossible

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Wiktor Reinfuss

Big fan of all sorts of pop culture stuff. I also enjoy ambitious cinema. Games, music and graphics are all within my interests. I have a great fondness for the Arrowverse series, especially The Flash.

Wiktor Reinfuss has 109 posts and counting. See all posts by Wiktor Reinfuss