|Mission: Impossible character|
|First appearance||Mission: Impossible|
|Portrayed by||Ving Rhames|
Luther Stickell is a fictional supporting character in the Mission: Impossible film series who first appeared in Mission: Impossible in 1996 and is the only character besides Ethan Hunt to appear in all four films.
In the films, Luther is an expert computer hacker who works for the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) division of the CIA alongside Ethan Hunt. He has been portrayed in all four movies by Ving Rhames and in the 2003 video game Mission: Impossible - Operation Surma.
Over the course of four movies, Luther's character has gone from being a soft-spoken, down-to-business and reliable team member to being Ethan's most trusted friend and confidant.
IMF Agent Ethan Hunt (portrayed by Tom Cruise) has been "disavowed" by the CIA following a botched mission in Prague, a "mole-hunt" for an agent who planned to steal the CIA's Non-official cover (NOC) list, a detailed file of all the IMF agents situated in Eastern Europe. Framed as the mole, with only his teammate Claire Phelps alive, Ethan plots to steal a copy of the list for himself as leverage to lure the person responsible for framing Hunt out of hiding. Hunt enlisted the help of two other "disavowed" IMF agents: Luther Stickell and Franz Krieger (portrayed by Jean Reno). Stickell is chosen as "Cyber-Ops" for his reputation as a well-known hacker and phreaker. Reluctant at first, Luther is baited into the hack when Ethan played to Stickell's ego, selling the job proposal as "The Mount Everest of hacks". Posing as a team of firefighters putting out a small blaze within the building, the rogue IMF group breaches the CIA and infiltrates the main computer mainframe via a remote computer terminal at CIA Headquarters at Langley, Virginia. In order to gain access to the floor with the NOC List, Luther hacks into the building's computer-controlled electrical system, triggering the fire alarm on that floor. Because of his agility, Hunt performs the physical act of obtaining the information himself but has Luther, in his ear via headset, instructing him on performing the hack. Luther, from the team's stolen firetruck parked outside the building, obtains the password to the terminal by hacking into the CIA's online network from a laptop. After obtaining the list, Hunt discovers that his team leader Jim Phelps not only survived the initial mission in Prague, but also suspected that he is the real mole and the man responsible for framing him, despite Jim's insistence that CIA Director Kittridge was the mole. After learning this from Ethan, Luther helps him double-cross Claire and Jim together. Aboard a train headed for Paris, the arms dealer called Max (Ethan's buyer of the NOC List) and her bodyguard are caught with the stolen data, the CIA drops their case against Hunt and reinstates him, along with Luther. When Ethan and Luther celebrate together at a British pub, Luther proclaims he's "The Flavor of the Month", indicating that the CIA is now treating him like royalty thanks to his help. At the same time, he muses that he's "gonna miss being disreputable" as he is no longer in hiding and incapable of the illegal computer activities he was privy to performing before he was reinstated. Before going their separate ways, Hunt smiles and tells Luther that, if it makes him feel any better, he will always see Luther in that light.
Mission: Impossible II
In Mission: Impossible II, Hunt recruits Luther (along with IMF Agent Billy Baird) to help stop Sean Ambrose, a former IMF agent, from unleashing a deadly virus (code-named, "Chimera" after the mythological beast) upon Sydney, Australia. This time around, Luther utilizes GPS tracking satellites to keep tabs on Nyah Nordoff-Hall, a GPS-bugged mole they have planted inside of Ambrose's complex. As the mission progresses, Ethan enlists Nyah to lift a memory card containing information on the virus from Ambrose's jacket so that Luther can analyze the virus and its capabilities. Luther also provides Ethan with an entrance to a biological lab in the city of Sydney through a jammed-open vent on the roof by hacking into the building's computer-controlled electronics system. During the infiltration of the building, however, Luther is nearly killed when one of Ambrose's men plants a bomb on the underside of the van Luther is using as an observation station in an attempt to trap Ethan in the building without a second pair of eyes to get him out. Luther manages to escape just in time with only some cuts and bruises but finds that his main laptop is damaged in the bombing and that the rest of his computer equipment has been destroyed. After repairing it, he eventually assists Ethan in infiltrating an island complex where Nyah has been tracked and Ambrose is selling the virus. Luther helps Ethan find his way around once the fight moves above ground but backs off when the helicopter he's in comes under fire by Ambrose's troops. He eventually injects Nyah with the cure to the virus (symbolically named, "Bellerophon" after the Greek hero who managed to slay the Chimera according to myth) and helps Ethan escort her safely away from Ambrose.
Mission: Impossible III
In Mission: Impossible III, Luther reunites with a semi-retired (and about-to-be-married) Ethan Hunt to help rescue Ethan's kidnapped protégé, Lindsay Farris. Along with being Ethan's usual "second set of eyes" and manning his routes through the building from a van, Luther also activates and utilizes remote-controlled sentry machine guns in order to cause chaos and confusion so that Ethan doesn't have to bother taking out several armed and alert men under pressure. Despite the team's effort, Farris dies from a small explosive that was implanted in her head. As the mission was not authorized by Assistant Director Brassell (portrayed by Laurence Fishburne), Brassell comes down hard on the team. Afterwards, Ethan comes across a microdot that was sent to him by Farris before her untimely death. He immediately consults Luther about it but Luther finds that the microdot contains nothing, much to Ethan's dismay. Luther gently prods Ethan for reasons why Farris would send Ethan a blank microdot, let alone anything at all, eventually implying that Ethan slept with Lindsay. When Ethan tells Luther that Farris is "like his little sister", Luther skeptically asks, "And you never...SLEPT with your little sister?" Nonetheless, Luther continues to be of assistance to Ethan, helping him abduct the man responsible for kidnapping Lindsay, Owen Davian. On top of providing his usual computer navigation, Luther also assists Ethan by providing him with a pull-away mask and specially-encoded voice patch so that Ethan can imitate Owen Davian. On their way to bring Davian to authorities, Luther finds out that the microdot Agent Farris sent is not blank but that the data was merely hidden and encrypted. The "data" is in the form of a video file shot by Lindsay in which she tells Ethan that she has found out that Brassell is a mole and has been leaking IMF data to Davian. Things take a turn for the worse when the convoy is attacked, Davian gets rescued, Ethan's fiancée is nabbed by Davian's muscle and Ethan and Luther are briefly separated when the CIA, believing that Ethan is the one who was behind the attack, apprehends Ethan. Luther is reunited with Ethan in Shanghai after Musgrave allows him to escape and, once again, becomes his eyes, helping him to steal the "Rabbit's Foot", the film's MacGuffin and escape the building in one piece, musing, "Langley was a cakewalk compared to this." However, that's the extent of Luther's help as Ethan is instructed to bring the Rabbit's Foot to Davian alone. He doesn't meet with Ethan again until the mission is over and everything is settled.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Luther is never involved in Ethan's mission of stopping a Swedish extremist from starting a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia. Instead, Luther meets Hunt for a beer in a bar in Seattle (at the very end of the film) following the mission's success. Luther playfully mocks Ethan's over-dramatic method of aborting the missile that was to take out the city of San Francisco, saying that he cannot believe that, as he aborted the launch, Ethan actually yelled, aloud, the words, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!" Ethan laughs at it, too, and confirms this. Luther shakes his head and laughs and just says, "You're so corny, Ethan." At this point, Luther is introduced to Ethan's team, IMF agents Jane Carter (portrayed by Paula Patton), William Brandt (portrayed by Jeremy Renner) and Benji Dunn (portrayed by Simon Pegg), the latter of the three, Luther had already met in the third film. Luther reveals that, thanks to them, he and his IMF mission clean-up crew "blew the entire weekend at the bottom of the San Francisco Bay" searching for the disabled nuclear warhead that Ethan aborted. He leaves after this, fist-bumping Ethan and says, "See you in Kandahar", possibly setting up another storyline in a future film.
The character of Luther Stickell has also appeared in video games.
In 2003 Atari released Mission: Impossible - Operation Surma for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube game consoles. The game features Rhames as Stickell. GameSpot noted that the voices were great and added that having Rhames reprise his role made Luther "a little more authentic (and badass)."
- Brian DePalma (Director) (1996). Mission: Impossible (DVD). United States: Paramount Pictures.
- John Woo (Director) (2000). Mission: Impossible 2 (DVD). United States: Paramount Pictures.
- JJ Abrams (Director) (2006). Mission: Impossible III (DVD). United States: Paramount Pictures.
- "Mission: Impossible: Operation Surma Info".
- ""allaboutgames.co.uk Review for "Mission: Impossible: Operation Surma"". Retrieved 2003-03-12.
- Shoemaker, Brad. "Mission: Impossible: Operation Surma Review - GameSpot.com". Retrieved 2003-09-12.