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Previously on Mission: Impossible – everything you need to know before seeing Fallout

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On 27th July, daredevil secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) returns in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the sixth instalment in the long-running Mission: Impossible series.

Given the franchise stretches all the way back to 1996, there's a lot of super-spy action to catch up on before Fallout hits cinemas. This is particularly important when one considers the plot involves Hunt's past returning to haunt him.

Our top-secret mission is to brief you on everything you need to know about Mission: Impossible before seeing the new movie. Oh, and beware of some minor spoilers ahead.

Ethan is part of an agency known as the IMF

Being a highly skilled super-spy, Ethan Hunt works with an entire team of crack agents known as the IMF, which stands for Impossible Missions Force. And over the years, Ethan has had a rocky relationship with the organisation.

In the first film, he was left as the only surviving member after the rest of his team were massacred in a set-up. Most recently in 2015's Rogue Nation, the IMF were disavowed by the government, forcing Hunt, along with a small number of trusted allies, to work off the grid and take down a covert network of rogue agents known as the Syndicate.

Moreover, from the look of Fallout's trailer, it seems like Hunt's relationship with the government may have reached breaking point. Co-star Henry Cavill's line "How long before a man like [Hunt] has had enough?" is our clue here. You'd think the IMF would have an HR department by now.


There's a lot of masks

One of the best perks of being a spy has to be all the snazzy gadgetry. However, it looks like the IMF spent most of their budget developing lifelike masks, turning them into duplicates of other people and helping them glean information in the process.

Convincing disguises are important for infiltration missions, but in this franchise, everybody seems to be able to get their hands on dozens of masks of every major character – especially in 2000's Mission: Impossible II, where the sheer number of betrayals left our heads spinning. We hadn't seen as many unmaskings as this since Scooby Doo.

Now that you're aware of just how frequently masks are used in this franchise, you might expect there to be at least one surprise twist like this in Fallout.


Expect adrenaline-pumping action throughout

Aside from its ridiculously catchy theme tune, the Mission: Impossible series is famous for its enormous action set pieces. It's all the more impressive when you realise just how involved Tom Cruise is with his own stunts.

Some notable moments include the now famous vault heist from the first film, alongside its climatic Channel Tunnel fight scene, the opening of Rogue Nation when Cruise clings to the side of a cargo plane during take-off, and the moment in 2011's Ghost Protocol in which he scales Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

The Fallout trailer has given us the tiniest taste of the action we can expect to see during Ethan's next mission. This time around, Cruise got a helicopter's licence and got stuck flying a chopper during a ridiculously dangerous aerial chase in New Zealand. He also infamously busted his ankle during a rooftop pursuit sequence in London.

Would Fallout even qualify as a Mission: Impossible film without high octane action, and will this film be able to top the series' previous action highlights?


Key characters

Several significant faces re-appear in Fallout, so it might do some good to get a bit of context. Firstly, we have Rebecca Ferguson reprising her role as Ilsa Faust. First appearing in Rogue Nation, Faust was an MI6 agent working undercover within the Syndicate, and she ultimately aided Hunt in dismantling the villainous organisation. Given that we see Faust trying to shoot Hunt in the latest trailer, it's possible that their friendship will soon come to an end.

Also appearing in Fallout is Julia (Michelle Monaghan), Hunt's (now ex) wife. So far, Julia's most significant appearance was in 2006's Mission: Impossible III where he had to rescue her from arms dealer Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman). She also made an uncredited appearance at the end of Ghost Protocol. In that movie, it became clear he had to end their relationship and disappear from Julia's life in order to guarantee her safety. We can probably assume that her presence in the sixth film is going to have serious ramifications for Hunt.

Hunt will also again be joined by his closest allies, Benji (Simon Pegg), comic relief and computer whizz, and Luther (Ving Rhames), who's worked with Hunt since the very beginning. (One person who won't be returning is Jeremy Renner as Brandt – a result of scheduling conflicts with Avengers: Infinity War.)

Finally, Rogue Nation antagonist Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) makes an appearance at the start of the trailer, warning Hunt his actions may come back to haunt him. In Rogue Nation, Lane was a former MI6 operative turned leader of the Syndicate who was taken into custody after being outsmarted by the IMF. Is Lane Fallout's main villain, or is there somebody we haven't yet seen?


Ethan has caused a lot of damage

With so many car chases, gun fights and general espionage action, it's not surprising that the IMF have caused massive collateral damage during their recent missions. What should have been a straight forward infiltration mission in the Kremlin in Ghost Protocol, for example, ended when the entire building was destroyed in an explosion. It was this mishap that ultimately led to the IMF being dissolved.

From the looks of things, in Fallout it seems like Hunt may have made a mistake too big for even him to fix. In Rogue Nation, Benji warned him that one day he'd go too far – could this day have finally come?

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to see Mission: Impossible – Fallout when it arrives in Cineworld on 27th July.


Andy Murray is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.