First appearance: “Mission: Impossible”
The moment Luther Stickle (Ving Rhames) arrives on stage, dressed in a white suit and wearing sunglasses, he immediately establishes himself as the coolest person in the room (which is not a small feat considering that his company in the mid-1990s included Tom Cruise and Jean Reno).
As the film, and later the franchise, progresses, Stickle becomes something more important: Hunt’s closest friend and a moral compass he can rely on. In the first film, it’s Stickle that Hunt trusts to keep the NOC list from coming out, having (wisely, it turns out) decided Krieger and Claire Phelps can’t be trusted. It is Stickle who advises Ethan in the third film against marrying Julia when she is unaware of her husband’s spy work. “A normal relationship isn’t viable for people like us,” he says (Gormley agrees, but only after Stickle says so first). And it’s Stickle, in the fourth film, who can call Hunt “nerdy” for saying “Mission Accomplished!” when he averts a nuclear holocaust with only seconds remaining.
Hunt’s romantic relationships with Nordoff-Hall, Meade-Hunt (Michelle Monaghan), and Faust are important, but it’s Stickle’s life in particular that he doesn’t want to sacrifice in “Fallout” to stop a terrorist group from reaching dangerous plutonium, despite Stickle’s pleas, “Don’t do it, Ethan! Not for me!”
After nearly 30 years, it looks like the “Mission: Impossible” series will go on forever. If so, let’s hope Stickle survives all of this.