14 thoughts on “Mission: Impossible’s Villain Reveal Was a Major Mistake

  1. My mother, who grew up on the show, hated this movie for precisely this reason, so Garth isn’t the only one. I’ve never cared for the franchise in general.

  2. Once the spoiler about this got out, I never wanted to watch the film. I felt it completely disrespected the TV series (and I wasn’t even a big fan!). I’ve no desire to see any of the films, and I’m sure so many others had the same opinion that it crippled the box office …aaaand apparently I’m in the minority.

  3. As a fan of the TV series, this was incredibly annoying to see back in 1996. I got over it of course, but why even go this way at all?

    An alternative idea might have been to have Cruise play a young Jim Phelps, and make Jon Voight into Dan Briggs (the less well-remembered original IMF team leader, whose departure from the show was never explained). That would have tied to the TV series as well and been less difficult of a hurdle for fans to get over.

    But probably the best idea, as you say, would have simply been change Voight’s character all together.

  4. According to Wikipedia, Graves was offered the chance to reprise his role as Phelps but turned it down when he saw the twist.

  5. I watched reruns of the show as a kid and enjoyed it and didn’t have a problem with this in the films.

  6. I would’ve accepted it if they used Dan Briggs (never liked the character), or pulled a James Bond-twist, where “Jim Phelps” was a code name and the villain was the guy who took over after the TV version retired, with Hunt being the new Jim Phelps at the end. But the way they just crapped over the legacy was horrible and insulting.

  7. I recall Greg Morris from the original TV series lambasting this movie in interviews. I’ll bet the studio’s PR flaks were having conniptions whenever he was asked by a reporter or TV news show to comment on the film. He was truly irate, and rightfully so, I think.

  8. The twist was one that cropped up in spec scripts for the TV show all the time (according to the Mission Impossible Dossier — what if the voice on the tape is setting them up? Trouble is, once you do that, how do you ever trust the tape again?
    The movies, by contrast, have used the tape to set the team up what, four times?

  9. Yeah, this twist ticked me off so much I have refused to watch any if the subsequent films.

  10. I wasn’t a big fan of this twist. It was too far removed from years of Jim Phelps proving himself to be a hero and a good guy. If he was at all like the portrayal in the first movie we would have seen cracks in the armor throughout the run of the series. It just didn’t make sense.

  11. Excuse me, good sirs, I was always wondering how Hunt could figure out the true identity of Phelps in the movie. As far as I remember, when Hunt spotted a Bible from Drake Hotel (if I remember correctly) in Chicago, he grew suspicious. But frankly speaking, I really don’t understand what it is to do with the exposure of Phelps. Grateful if someone could explain to me. Thanks.

  12. This twist so disgusted me that I’ve never seen any of the other movies. They could have made the traitor John Smith or anything else. This was so unnecessary and was a grave insult to the fan base of the TV show.

  13. In my mind, this takes place in the same continuity as the show, but this Jim Phelps isn’t the same one Peter Graves played. He’s some newer guy, trading on the reputation of the original. I’ve always kind of wanted to see a novel or comic book or something address this, maybe set after M:I2, and explaining Ethan Hunt’s clear break from reality (the man thought the world moved in slow motion, he could do kung-fu with motorcycles, and maybe he could control pigeons? He probably snapped after M:I1 and after he recovered, perhaps with the help of the original Jim Phelps, was able to come back as a trainer by the time of M:I3).

  14. I love the first film’s twist, honestly. It’s an appropriate viking funeral to the nature of the original series, especially since the films have excelled in ultimately taking M:I into another realm entirely, one that has become vastly more successful.

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