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If you want to bring down the Syndicate, you have to let me out.
~ Ilsa talks to Ethan about defeating the Syndicate, before dropping her off.
Please don't make me go through you.
~ Faust to Ethan in Fallout.

Ilsa Faust is one of the supporting characters of the action spy film series Mission: Impossible.

She is a former intelligence operative employed by MI6 who worked for an international terrorist organization called The Syndicate as a cover assassin before helping Ethan Hunt and his IMF team to fight her former colleagues.

She is portrayed by Rebecca Fergusson.

Biography

Early life

While little is known about Ilsa's early life, she was born in October 19th, 1983 in England. At some point, she was trained by the Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, and became a highly trained operative in the field. During her time as an MI6 operative, her handler was Chief Atlee.

Some point around 2013, she went undercover as a spy for MI6 by joining the Syndicate, a formerly proposed project consisted of former covert operatives who were recruited from around the world to conduct clandestine operations before a rogue MI6 operative named Solomon Lane hijacked and turned it into an international terrorist organization.

History

Rogue Nation

Meeting Ethan Hunt for the first time

In 2015, Ilsa was summoned to question the captured IMF agent Ethan Hunt. She prepared medicines, removed her shoes and calmly observes Ethan. Janik Vinter and his men came in and Janik beat up Ethan. Ethan mentioned he knows who Janik is and he prepared to brutally torture Ethan with various butcher tools. Ilsa distracted Janik long enough for Ethan to knock him out with a kick. Ilsa threw him the keys of the cuffs, but the other men saw it and attacked her. Ilsa defeated two, but the third overwhelmed her and started to beat her into submission. Ethan managed to break free and took him out. In the ensuing melee, Ethan and Ilsa fought the guards. Ilsa disarmed one, but was knocked down before she could use the gun. Using teamwork, Ethan and Ilsa managed to kill all the guards and fled the scene before reinforcements arrived. Ilsa told him to run and then faked to Janik that Ethan had killed the guards and she had tried to stop him.

Assassination at the Opera

Six months later, Ilsa went to the opera to assassinate the Austrian Chancellor. Infiltrating the backstage, she hid in the decoration pieces high above the stage with a sniper rifle. Ilsa waited for a high note during a song so her shot would be masked. However, before she could shoot, Ethan shot the Chancellor in the shoulder which made her shot miss. Realizing Ethan had foiled her attempt, she tried to shoot him. However, as she shot at him, Richter, another operative of the Syndicate, tried to shoot her. The operative was engaged in hand to hand combat with Benji. Ilsa shot the operative, but Benji put on the lights which revealed her position. Ilsa dropped her rifle and tried to escape the building, but it got locked down by the police. Ethan offered her a way out and the two went to the rooftop. With a rope, they left the roof and saw the Chancellor getting killed as his car was blown up. Ilsa, Ethan and Benji escaped by car. Ilsa told them they had to let her go but Ethan searched her for weapons, took her eye shades and questioned her. Ilsa told him her name and that she was ordered to kill the Chancellor to make up for letting him escape. They were chased by The Syndicate agents and Ilsa convinced them to let her escape the car.

Ilsa was brought to Solomon. Ilsa was pushed by a henchman and she jumped on the men and pinned him down before taking his gun. Solomon mentioned he questioned her as Ethan had escaped her now two times and she had failed at the opera. Ilsa threw him the gun and told him to trust or kill her, but he should do it himself instead of his assassin. Solomon shot the henchmen and asked her how she would find him. Ilsa mentioned Ethan would come to her as she had information about Morocco in a USB key hidden in her lipstick.

Stealing the ledger

Leaving traces behind for Benji and Ethan, she stayed at a house in Morocco where she trained to stay underwater. She explained to them that Solomon was former British intelligence and that the Syndicate had been created by them. Solomon had a ledger with information about the Syndicate which was stolen by a agent hoping to blackmail him. The agent died during questioning and the ledger could only be retrieved in a secure server beneath a power plant by changing access control profile stored in an underwater turbine tank. Ilsa had been send by Solomon to do this. The three designed a plan to steal the ledger in which Ethan will go underwater without oxygen tanks to avoid detection and change the security profile so Benji can access the server room and steal the ledger. They succeed but Ethan is unable to open the tunnel to get out. Ilsa followed him and saves him just when he passes out by lack of oxygen. She opens the tunnel and drags Ethan to safety. Using a defibrillator, she saves his life. Benji comes in with the ledger and mentions he misjudged her.

Ilsa shocked Benji and escaped with the ledger. The Syndicate agents wait for her to escort her with motorcycles. She knocked them over with her motorcycle and flees. During the chase Ethan follows her and takes out the Syndicate agents. Ilsa stopped and suddenly stepped in front of Ethan to make him crash to avoid running her over. She then escaped with the ledger.

After that, she returned to London to meet with MI6 Chief Atlee and handed him the ledger. However, he said that it might be false and she should keep working with Salomon to find more evidence. Atlee blamed her for compromising her position while saving Hunt and that the next time she should kill him. Ilsa refused, but he threatened her that only few people knew of her being undercover and that she had to obey him.

Ilsa met with Solomon and handed him the ledger. Calling himself a terrorist, he explained to her that the Syndicate would be able to take out threats with surgical precision and made the world a better place. The ledger turned out to be empty and Solomon ordered her to take the ledger from Hunt and his team.

Stopping Solomon Lane

Meeting with Ethan, he revealed that the disc was real and he wanted to allow her to free herself from Solomon. They realize that Attlee has erased her version. Ilsa proposed Ethan with three options; go to the CIA, let her go with the disk to Solomon or be with her and leave the intelligence life behind. Ethan realized she was going to deliver him a message. Ilsa warned him that she cannot save his life again, before activating her smartphone that jams the signal of their communications. Benji gets abducted and she flees the scene. Solomon used Benji as leverage to force Ethan to activate the ledger. This will allow the Syndicate to access untraceable funds to keep them operational for decades.

Ilsa was sent by Solomon to trade Benji for the retrieval of the disk and a bomb was strapped to Benji's chest. Ilsa explained to Ethan that she will kill him and Benji after the trade or Solomon would blow them up.

Ethan revealed the disk was destroyed and he memorized the bank accounts. Lane was forced to disarm the bomb and ordered his men to kill Ilsa and capture Ethan. The two took out multiple Syndicate agents but end up separated and out of bullets. Ilsa got pursued by Vinter. She tried to do a sneak attack, but it failed and the two ended up in a knife fight. Both of them take slashing wounds, but Ilsa was able to climb on top of him and impale his chest, killing him.

Ethan ended up capturing Lane with the help of his team. Ilsa and Ethan shared a moment and Ilsa left after telling him that he knew how to find her, assuming they would meet again.

Fallout

Meeting Ethan once again

Two years later, Ilsa was sent by MI6 to Paris and saved Ethan when he was in ensuing fight with a decoy John Lark, by shooting him on his chest. When Ethan asked why Ilsa was there when he couldn’t contact her, she claimed that she couldn’t tell him and Ilsa warned Ethan about the possibility of being assassinated should he insisted on meeting White Widow as John Lark, because some paid assassins and contract killers are hired to kill “John Lark”. She helped Ethan to escort White Widow out from the Grand Palais, and escaped afterwards.

Capturing Lane

Following this, Ilsa tracked an armored prisoner convoy transporting Solomon Lane to an unknown location, and eventually followed Ethan and his team who successfully captured Lane with their own agenda. She appeared to try to kill Lane with unknown purpose, which she failed.

Later she finally met Ethan, and revealed her purpose: she had to kill Lane as an order from MI6, for her to regain her nationality and trust from her government. The main agenda for her was to protect “John Lark” for him to save Lane and kill Lane after “John Lark” saved Lane, but she could not do it because she wanted to save Ethan. She asked Ethan to reveal Lane’s whereabouts, because she needed to do her job.

In the end, it was actually a plan to identify the real John Lark, which is Walker. Ilsa followed the team and helped them in the ensuing fight against The Apostles who disguised themselves as CIA agents. While Ethan and his team finally let Lane and Walker escaped, it was actually a plan to let them go and learn what their plan is. While talking about the plan, Luther explained to her that she is one of the two women Ethan cared so much about; the other one is Julia, Ethan’s ex-wife. Luther asked her to leave, but instead she comes with Ethan to help him whenever he needs, and officially joining Ethan’s team.

Stopping Walker and Lane

They followed Lane to Kashmir, where they discovered that Lane’s agenda was to radiate the Nubra River with nuclear exposure, in which the river was the world's natural irrigation system, in order to starve one-third of the world’s civilian population, with Ethan and Luther reciting the quote from Lark/Walker’s manifesto. There, Ilsa finally met Julia in person. She was then helping the team to find and defuse the bombs. She went to find the other bomb with Benji, while Luther was trying to defuse the bomb as Julia finally came to help him.

While trying to look for the other bomb in the medical camp, Ilsa realized that they were looking in the wrong place. She then saw Lane on a house near the village, and followed him to find another bomb. Before she could inform Benji, Lane ambushed and rendered her unconscious, and tied her up in a chair. Soon after, Benji followed her to the house, only to be ambushed and overpowered by Lane and almost got hanged to death. Unwilling to let Benji die, Ilsa broke free and fought Lane with Benji's help. She finally managed to overpower Lane with her agility, and strangled him unconscious with the rope Lane used to tie her up. Benji and Ilsa then proceeded to defuse the bomb in time while a tied up Lane taunted them. In the end, the team managed to save the world by foiling Lane's plans once again.

After handling Lane back to MI6 through the White Widow, Ilsa’s freedom was finally achieved. She appeared to reconnect with Ethan after having a moment with his ex-wife Julia.

Personality

Ilsa Faust is a disciplined and strong-willed woman. Bound by a moral code and sense of duty, she goes in deep cover to take down the Syndicate. When Ethan is about to be killed, she risks her life and blows her cover to help him escape.

During the events, she constantly seems to struggle between her loyalty towards MI6, her desire to do the right thing, her feelings for Ethan and keeping her cover for the Syndicate. She saves Ethan's life multiple times, but has no problems of manipulating or betraying him to fulfill her mission for MI6 and the Syndicate.

Saving his life and, using subtle manipulation, she keeps Ethan off balance and uses his curiosity about her to deceive him and makes him do what she wants. This went as far as that she forced him to lose control of his motorcycle and crash to avoid running her over. During the opera, she even tried to kill him when he stopped her assassination attempt - though it is unclear that she knew it was Ethan. At a certain point, she was touched by Ethan himself who was trying to help her and she even offered to leave together and leave the intelligence world behind.

Ilsa is also a very courageous woman and shows it several times, especially when she encourages Lane to kill her. That implies that Ilsa is either not afraid of death or she knew he would not kill her.

Abilities

Ilsa Faust is a highly trained MI6 operative. As a skilled assassin, she is an expert in the use of firearms, ranging from handguns to sniper rifles. She is an exceptional swimmer and can hold her breath for minutes while swimming underwater. Ilsa is also a proficient driver and she was able to stay ahead of Ethan and Syndicate agents in a motorcycle chase.

Always preparing for the worst, Ilsa has deep tactical awareness and constantly positions herself at dominant angles and with her near (improvised) weapons. While preparing to fight in the torture chamber, she already removed her shoes and unbuttoned her blouse to avoid hindrance. Her tactical savvy is further shown by her choice of clothing, wearing a dress with a deep split which allows her to infiltrate the opera, while still being able to climb, fight and run without any difficulty. She was also carrying hidden knives in her possession while wearing the dress.

Fighting Style

As an MI6 operative, Ilsa Faust is a skilled martial artist because she uses a unique fighting style, relying on her feline agility and use of momentum and incorporating methods from Taekwondo, Muay Thai and Hapkido, as well as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In combat, Ilsa moves graceful yet ruthless, moving in as fast as she could, using powerful movements to build up momentum to create maximum effect. Highly creative, Ilsa was also seen using various unorthodox striking methods, including elbow drops and headbutting a weapon out of an attacker's hand.

Her signature fighting movement consists of leaping or climbing onto her opponent and wrapping her legs around their head, shoulders or waist. She then twists her body and uses the momentum to knock them off balance and flick them to the floor.

She was also able to kill a Syndicate agent by wrapping her thighs around and snap his neck.

External Links

Ilsa Faust - Mission Impossible Wiki

Gallery

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