We get the answers to the film's most pressing questions

By Jessica Shaw
Updated June 07, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

Mission: Impossible

  • Movie

Warning: Important Plot Lines Revealed Reading this story before you have seen Mission: Impossible may be harmful to your enjoyment of this film.

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, nearly a kajillion people saw Mission: Impossible. And they’ve spent every day since trying to unravel the twists and turns of the serpentine plot. Aside from such big-ticket questions as how the filmmakers could make the noble Mr. Phelps such a heartless villain, the movie is riddled with holes. Our mission? To answer some of the most baffling questions.

Did Mr. Phelps (Jon Voight) know that the Prague mission was a mole hunt?
Although moviegoers are kept in the dark, Mission director Brian De Palma says: ”Phelps knows they’re onto him from the moment he gets the message on the plane. That’s when he realizes that the CIA is [aware of] his scheme.”

Was Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) supposed to die in Prague?
”No, Phelps was setting up Hunt as the fall guy,” says Cruise’s spokeswoman, Pat Kingsley. ”Phelps wants the IMF to go after Ethan as the mole.”

Did Ethan and Claire (Emmanuelle Beart) sleep together?
Yes. ”There was a love scene on the train after they recruit” disavowed agents Luther and Krieger (Ving Rhames and Jean Reno), says De Palma, ”but it wasn’t essential.”

If that exploding gum works on contact, how can the two unstable substances be on one stick without detonating?
”It looked better to have one piece of gum,” says a Mission insider.

Why does Phelps shoot Claire and not Ethan?
”It’s rage,” says De Palma. ”It hits him that he has started something he has no control over. There’s a struggle. You see very specifically that he has two bullets in the gun. All three struggle, and the gun goes off. That’s it — the two bullets.”

What’s a rat doing in the carefully monitored air ducts of CIA headquarters?
”The rat shouldn’t have been there,” says the insider. ”But rats are famous for being in places they’re not supposed to be.”

Based on the ending, is Ethan the new Phelps?
”Ethan does get the mission tape, but we don’t know if he accepted it,” says Kingsley.

What, no sequel?
If we told you, this page would self-destruct in five seconds.

(Additional reporting by Casey Davidson and Jeffrey Wells)

Episode Recaps

Mission: Impossible

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 110 minutes