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DHS- Ving Rhames in Mission Impossible (1996)

Luther Stickell appearing in the first film

Luther Stickell is the second recurring protagonist of the Mission: Impossible 1996 adaptation and it's sequels. He is portrayed in all of the films and the video game spin-off, Mission: Impossible - Operation Surma, by actor Ving Rhames.

Character Summary[]

He was a computer specialist for the Impossible Missions Force and who was previously disavowed prior to rejoining after first partnering up with Ethan Hunt.

Mission: Impossible[]

DHS- Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) in Mission Impossible (1996)

After Ethan Hunt learned their was an mole in the IMF and the NOC list was faked, he needed a team of operatives off the grid to clear his name. Hunt enlisted disavowed agents Luther and pilot Franz Krieger alongside Jim Phelps' wife Claire.

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 former IMF 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[]

DHS- Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) in Mission Impossible 2

Hunt recruits Luther with IMF Agent Billy Baird to help stop double agent Sean Ambrose 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 - Operation Surma[]

DHS- Ving Rhames in Mission- Impossible - Operation Surma videogame

Luther returns to provide support for the assigned mission and is once again part of Baird and Hunt's team.

Mission: Impossible III[]

DHS- Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) in Mission Impossible 3

Luther reunites with a semi-retired (and about-to-be-married) Ethan Hunt to help rescue Ethan's kidnapped protégé, Lindsey Farris. Luther partners with agents Zhen Lei and Declan Gormley. 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, Brassell comes down hard on the team. Afterwards, Ethan comes across a microdot that was sent to him by Farris before her untimely death.

Hunt 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, criminal mastermind 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 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[]

DHS- Ving Rhames and Tom Cruise in MI4 Ghost Protocol

Luther shared a drink with Hunt in Seattle after Hunt stopped Hendricks. Hunt introduced Luther to Jane Carter, Benji Dunn and William Brandt. Hunt told Luther he'd cover the charge for their drinks as Luther was reaching into his pocket. Luther replied that he knew and flipped him off before leaving.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation[]

DHS- Ving Rhames in Mission Impossible 5 Rogue Nation

Luther reluctantly returns to the service after helping Brandt and Dunn hack into a plane carrying lethal materials set to be sold to a terrorist organization known as the Syndicate. Thanks to Luther's efforts, he manages to help Dunn open the gunship's doors so that Ethan can safely get inside and escape with the weapons.

Later on, after Alan Hunley has revised the procedures of the IMF organization and branded it together with the CIA, Brandt successfully urges Luther to return once more to help him with the various tasks. Luther does it only as a loyal favor to longtime pal Ethan and promises that he shall walk away any minute should Brandt or the other associates suddenly break their promise.