“It was actually something I debated”: The Fall Guy Writer Almost Did the Unthinkable With Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible That Would Have Made Fans Hate Him Forever

While fans will miss Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa in the franchise, we cannot imagine the uproar Benji’s death would have caused among the fandom.

Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and Fall Guy

SUMMARY

  • The writer of ‘The Fall Guy’ and ‘Rogue Nation’ talked about the death of Rebecca Ferguson’s character in ‘Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One.’
  • He was instantly reminded of the time when he wanted to kill off Simon Pegg’s Benji Dunn in ‘Rogue Nation.’
  • Christopher McQuarrie revealed the reason why he and Tom Cruise decided to kill off Ilsa Faust.
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Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible franchise has given fans many remarkable and unforgettable characters over the years, whether they are the protagonists or the antagonists. While each character has made their mark on the franchise, fans obviously have their favorites picked out and Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust has a long list of admirers behind her.

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Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning
Tom Cruise in a still from Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning (2023)

Unfortunately, Ilsa met her demise in the latest installment in the franchise, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning. Needless to say, fans were absolutely heartbroken including the writer of The Fall Guy, Drew Pearce, who also worked on Rogue Nation’s story. Ilsa’s death took the writer back to his time on Rogue Nation where for a brief moment he contemplated killing off an important character whose death would’ve sent fans into a frenzy.

Drew Pearce Almost Killed Off an Important Character in Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible

A still from Rogue Nation with Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg
Simon Pegg and Tom Cruise in a still from Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust allied with Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in Rogue Nation and Fallout and quickly became one of the fan-favorite characters in the franchise. Unfortunately, in Dead Reckoning Part One, Ilsa meets her end at the hands of Esai Morales’ Gabriel leaving both Ethan and the fans devastated.

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While talking about her death in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Drew Pearce first complimented her performance in the Dune films where she played the role of Lady Jessica then added,

“She’s untouchable. What’s been so good about watching the Dune movies is seeing Rebecca really start to get the recognition that she deserves. In a weird way, she didn’t off of Rogue, but listen, it’s the brave move in Dead Reckoning. You’re like, ‘F-ck, I’m going to miss her.’”

The Fall Guy writer then let the interviewer in on a little secret admitting that he initially wanted to kill off Simon Pegg’s Benji Dunn while writing the story for Rogue Nation. According to him, it would’ve added the perfect emotional touch to the film since Benji is also another fan-favorite character and a friend of Cruise’s Ethan.

“Weirdly, killing Benji [Simon Pegg] was actually something I debated at the beginning of Rogue Nation. Simon Pegg, if you’re reading, I apologize, but you are the easiest person to fridge in a weird way, because you have one of the longest relationships with Ethan. But I don’t think there’s a political repercussion for fridging him. It’s just an emotional one, which is what you want.”

Luckily, he decided not to go down this path otherwise the fans would’ve been absolutely furious with the writer. Benji went to live on in the franchise and will soon be seen as a part of the eight Mission: Impossible which is currently filming and is a direct sequel to its predecessor.

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Director Explained the Death of Ilsa Faust

Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation
Rebecca Ferguson in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

Probably the worst thing for a fan that has been sucked into a franchise is that there is always a sense of impending doom that one of their favorite characters will die sooner or later. Sure, in an ideal world, characters won’t have to die all the time but in reality, this just raises the stakes for the films, doesn’t it?

In a podcast interview with Empire, director and co-writer Christopher McQuarrie talked about why he and surprisingly, Cruise, decided to kill off Ferguson’s character.

He revealed that the idea came to him while working on Top Gun: Maverick. McQuarrie said

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“It was one of the earliest conversations. We were on the set of Top Gun, we were already talking about it. We knew that that emotional arc was of a certain emotional tone… Ilsa is a wonderful character, and a character of which I am enormously proud, and Rebecca is an actor of such unmitigated power and presence.”

Since he was so proud of Ferguson and her performance, it seems rather odd that he decided to kill the character. Why? Well, he simply didn’t want Ilsa to become redundant in the franchise’s future.

“And yet, where we had gone with the character from Rogue to Fallout…[the] place you took that character would either make less of her, it would suddenly become frivolous… or she would just become a romantic interest.”

McQuarrie never intended for Ilsa to be defined by her love story with Ethan, no matter how much the fans shipped them together.

“It was never about creating a character who was defined by her love story with Ethan Hunt. Their relationship transcends a traditional loving story… They’re doomed to be together and yet doomed never to be together…It felt like that story was looking for its resolution and so we said this has got to happen.”

Well, while we are still not over Ilsa’s death, we cannot deny that the filmmaker had quite the noble reason behind killing her off.

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You can stream all the Mission: Impossible films on Paramount+ and Mission: Impossible 8 releases in theatres on May 23, 2025.

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Written by Mishkaat Khan

Articles Published: 1135

Mishkaat is a medical student who found solace in content writing. Having worked in the industry for about three years, she has written about everything from medicine to literature and is now happy to enlight you about the world of entertainment. She has written over 500 articles for FandomWire. When not writing, she can be found obsessing over the world of the supernatural through books and TV.