With each Mission: Impossible movie that comes out, the ending always leaves viewers with the thought that Ethan Hunt may have just completed his final mission. But alas, he will never be done. Ever. As long as Tom Cruise is around, Ethan Hunt will continue to accept missions — and the ending of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation keeps that promise alive. (You might want to stop reading here if you don't want to avoid spoilers.) Even so, the movie's conclusion is a bit different from what we would expect — actually, a lot different. Shockingly, Ethan Hunt isn't even in Rogue Nation's final scene.
As a whole, the movie's conclusion has everything you would expect in a grand finale of a Mission: Impossible movie. There's a life-threatening situation, this time involving Benji, a likable, moral character. During the last act of the movie, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), an eerie-looking and evil-voiced man, straps a bomb to Benji. He states that if Ethan doesn't give him the money he needs to fund the Syndicate, his dangerous anti-IMF group, then the poor guy will be blown to bits. There's also a gripping knife fight between Isla and one of the main henchmen that rivals the one seen in Michael Jackson's "Beat It" video.
At the very end, there is the final showdown between Ethan and Lane, all the more intense because the two have only previously communicated through phone or video. The only instance beforehand when Lane had seen Ethan face to face is in the beginning, when he traps Ethan in a booth and gasses him in order to have his henchmen take him captive. Funny enough, this is exactly how Ethan ends up taking him down. It's a contrast to your typical big action movie, when the hero takes the villain down and the bad guy dies a glorious death. In Rogue Nation, Lane's defeat is quieter. There's a poetic symmetry to it. In fact, the viewer doesn't even see him die, but only watches him get hauled off in a glass box in a truck.
I have a strong feeling that this isn't the last time fans will see him, though — he's the perfect kind of villain for a franchise like Mission: Impossible, and if a sequel to Rogue Nation ends up happening, I suspect he'll make a re-appearance. It's not just Lane, though, that gives off that hint. All throughout the movie, Isla (Rebecca Ferguson), one of Ethan's associates, keeps viewers guessing if she is good or evil. She had been controlled by the baddies, but at the end, after Lane "dies," she becomes free. She leaves saying to Ethan, "You know where to find me." But they don't kiss! The lack of a romantic relationship is a first for Ethan, and it makes me believe that the duo's story will be continued if the franchise goes on.
That being said, who really knows. Each Mission: Impossible movie has been its own self-contained story. No villain has carried over to another movie. Yet the ending of Rogue Nation strongly hints that its story is not over, so perhaps this is the start of an entirely new series of films. Besides, the franchise (as far back as the TV series) has made it clear the Syndicate is IMF's number one enemy, so it's unlikely that the enemy is going anywhere. At the very end of the movie, Hunley is shown ordering the reinstatement of IMF with Brandt (not Hunt) by his side, opening the door even wider to a sequel: a Rogue Nation Part 2, if you will. Get ready for the possibilities.
Images: Paramount Pictures (2); Giphy