Tom Cruise Really Regrets Killing Off One Mission: Impossible Character

Emilio Estevez says Tom Cruise regretted killing off his character in the first Mission: Impossible film.

By Zack Zagranis | Published

Emilio Estevez, seconds before his demise in Mission: Impossible (1996)

Tom Cruise thinks you can handle the truth. The Mission: Impossible-Dead Reckoning star regrets wasting Emilio Estevez in a cameo at the beginning of the original Mission: Impossible. According to, Estevez remembers being on a run with Cruise when the star told him, “Man, we made such a mistake killing you off.”

Estevez was part of a group of well-known actors, including Kristin Scott Thomas, that was cast specifically to die at the beginning of the first Mission: Impossible. As Estevez remembers it, Tom Cruise was very forthcoming about how limited his role would be in the franchise. “The whole opening number where everybody gets wiped out, it’s going to be a lot of well-known people,” Cruise told Estevez. “It’s really going to set up the level of peril for Ethan.”

While Emilio Estevez is fine with the length of his contribution to the Mission: Impossible franchise, it’s Cruise that seems to be still struggling with it. Estevez claims that both Tom Cruise and Mission: Impossible 2 director John Woo tried to think of a way to bring Emilio back for the sequel but couldn’t come up with anything that would make sense in the context of the franchise. Estevez, meanwhile, has a simple solution: masks.

One of the staples of the Mission: Impossible franchise right from the beginning was believable disguises, the most effective of which is the seemingly magic latex masks characters wear that fully transform the wearer’s face into that of a different person. The masks, however, already require a pretty big suspension of disbelief on the audience’s part. It’s possible Tom Cruise didn’t want to make it even harder for fans to take the world of Mission: Impossible seriously.

tom cruise
Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt making one of the Mission: Impossible franchise’s many unmasking reveals.

Regardless of the reason, Emilio Estevez was never brought back for any of the numerous Mission: Impossible sequels, and now it’s too late. Mission: Impossible-Dead Reckoning Part One—most likely not named after the tank in George Romero‘s Land of the Dead, but to paraphrase Matthew McConaughey, it’d be a lot cooler if it were—and its follow-up, next year’s Mission: Impossible-Dead Reckoning Part Two are intended to be Tom Cruise’s las hurrah as uber-spy Ethan Hunt.

While that doesn’t mean that Paramount won’t continue the Mission: Impossible series with another actor, it does seem like any interest in bringing Emilio Estevez back to the franchise lies solely with Tom Cruise. With the Top Gun star hanging up his spy gear for good, it’s likely Emilio Estevez’s IMF agent Jack Harmon will remain dead. Of course, given that Estevez’s role in the OG Mission went uncredited, there’s always the chance he is secretly part of Dead Reckoning, and fans just don’t know it yet.

And even if that’s most likely not the case, every franchise has a multiverse now, so who’s to say a variant of Jack Harmon isn’t out there somewhere, just waiting to pick up the slack after Tom Cruise’s departure? Probably not, but still, there’s only one hard and fast rule in Hollywood these days, no one’s truly dead if there’s money to be made. If enough fans read about Emilio Estevez coming back to Mission: Impossible and decide that it’s a really good idea, Paramount will make it happen. One way or another.