Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning director defends shocking death amid backlash

Cameron Frew
Ilsa Faust in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning director Christopher McQuarrie has explained why a major character was killed off in Part 1, a death that’s become the subject of controversy.

Dead Reckoning Part 1 sees Ethan Hunt and his IMF team in pursuit of the Entity, a Skynet-esque mega-AI capable of penetrating and taking over any technology it can get its digital hands on.

While past missions have revolved around a more tangible MacGuffin, like nuclear launch codes or a bio-weapon, this time the threat is everywhere and nowhere at the same time; all-seeing, all-knowing, and pretty much inescapable for everyone with the tiniest connection to the grid.

Hunt’s efforts to find the Entity and fight Gabriel, an assassin and liaison, carry a heavy toll, and that death has been criticized by many fans of the franchise.

Mission: Impossible 7 director defends major death

Ilsa Faust is killed by Gabriel in a sword-and-knife fight in Venice. Hunt runs with all of his might to get to the bridge in time, but by the time he arrives, she’s lying on the ground with a blade in her chest.

Before her death, Gabriel warned Hunt that either Ilsa or Grace would have to die; in his words, their fate was “written”, and at least one death was inevitable.

Ilsa Faust in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1

Speaking to USA Today, McQuarrie said it was a “really tough decision” to kill Ilsa. “But it was one we knew we had to make for the movie to have stakes and for the movie to remain Mission.

“Mission is primarily Ethan’s journey [and] there is this continuum that the people closest to him, he tends to lose them. It was a really tricky conversation for us to have, and we knew that there would be some reactions to that, but we also knew this is the reality of the world that’s been created over seven movies.”

Mission: Impossible fans predict Ilsa comeback in “f*ck yeah” Part 2 moment

Some fans believe Ilsa will make a surprise return in Dead Reckoning Part 2, given how her death almost mirrors the Jim Phelps fakeout in 1996’s M:I. They may be prayers more than predictions, but we’d love to see it happen.

“I genuinely believe Dead Reckoning Part 1 has been expertly crafted in a way that sets up @chrismcquarrie to devise and unleash Ilsa to have the biggest ‘f*ck yeah’ moment that any character not named Ethan has ever had in the #MissionImpossible franchise,” one user wrote.

“I am still hoping for a plot twist in Part 2. She better still be alive,” another wrote. “Given how much McQ and Cruise love Ferguson and Ilsa, and how it all plays out, I really don’t think she’s dead. Thinking about the opening 20 minutes and the fake out there, and the fact that this is only half the story, I’m betting everything on that she’s back in Part 2,” a third tweeted.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 is now playing in theaters. Check out our other coverage below: