Sometimes they are hard-bitten covert operatives, sometimes they are femmes fatales, but the women of Mission: Impossible are every bit as important to the franchise’s success as Tom Cruise himself. Though the film series has a serious problem with female representation overall, there are a few characters who held their own with Ethan Hunt. More importantly, all of these actors have done their best to showcase how important women are to the action-intrigue genre. If the series creators worked a little harder, they could create some of the juiciest roles for women since Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton first hit the screen.
As it stands, the franchise has created its own take on the Bond girl — a sexy, possibly deadly woman — while giving her more to do. Still, one of the series’ major issues has been lack of continuity for its female characters, as they anchor the plot in some films, then vanish without another mention. Mission: Impossible – Fallout may be trying to right some of those past wrongs as it brings back not only Hunt’s wife, played by Michelle Monaghan, but also the incredibly capable Rebecca Ferguson.
With Henry Cavill joining the series, Ethan Hunt may be getting phased out to recharge the franchise. That could bring even meatier roles for the female characters, a possibility that gives us all the feels. But here’s a look at the ladies who have gotten us this far.