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|“||Ethan Hunt is a gambler. And one day his luck will run out, and thousands of innocent people will pay the price. Which one of us will be the villain then?||„|
|~ Solomon Lane explaining his motives to Ilsa Faust.|
|“||My running days are over. This is where it ends for me.||„|
|~ Solomon Lane to August Walker upon activating the nuclear weapons.|
Solomon Lane is the main antagonist in the Mission: Impossible film series, serving as the main antagonist of the 2015 film Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and one of the two main antagonists (along with August Walker) in the 2018 sequel Mission: Impossible – Fallout. He is the arch-nemesis of Ethan Hunt.
Solomon Lane is a former MI6 agent who went rogue and after Atlee created The Syndicate, a mysterious international and powerful terrorist organization that consists of former government agents who faked their deaths, betrayed their countries and became his assassins and operatives. Lane is bent on killing Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, so they will not be able to stop him from creating a new world order based on unstoppable accidents and terrorist attacks that will actually turn the entire world into a massive terrorist superpower. After his arrest, he makes a deal with August Walker to assist him with his terrorist attacks in exchange for framing Hunt for them as revenge for his previous defeat.
Agent Ethan Hunt of Impossible Mission Force is convinced that he can prove the existence of the Syndicate, an international terrorist consortium consisting of former government agents and well-trained killers. Reporting to an IMF substation to receive his orders, the Syndicate reveals their existence to Hunt, as Lane infiltrated the substation to capture him. Hunt is rescued by Ilsa Faust, a disavowed British MI6 agent and an operative for The Syndicate who offers no explanation for her actions. With their existence confirmed, Hunt begins following his only lead: a blond man in glasses who oversaw his capture.
Six months later, Hunt leads a CIA team to an empty safe-house as a means of passing new information on the Syndicate to his friend and an intelligence specialist Benji Dunn. Suspicious of Alan Hunley's actions and believing he will capture Hunt at the first opportunity, William Brandt recruits former agent Luther Stickell to discreetly find Hunt, using a likeness of Ilsa found at the safe house. Hunt arranges for Benji to attend an opera in Vienna, recruiting him to take part in a covert mission to locate the man in glasses. Realizing that the Syndicate plans to assassinate the Chancellor of Austria at the opera, Hunt intervenes by shooting him before the Syndicate can. Escaping with Ilsa, one of the intended shooters, he is powerless to prevent the Chancellor from being killed by a car bomb put in place as a redundancy.
Ilsa partners with Hunt and Dunn to locate a file hidden by a Syndicate traitor on a high-security server used to regulate a Moroccan power station. Believing it to be a ledger containing the names of all Syndicate agents, the trio secure it before Ilsa betrays Hunt and Dunn. She returns to London, passing the file on to her handler, Chief Atlee. However, Atlee discreetly erases the file, forcing Ilsa to return to the Syndicate and prove her loyalty to its supreme leader, Solomon Lane, who Hunt knows as the man in the glasses.
Regrouping with Brandt and Stickell, Hunt and Dunn follow Ilsa back to London, where they debate the nature of their work.
Having betrayed one another so many times, they can no longer be certain of their own loyalty, question what to do next as they cannot be sure that Lane has not anticipated and moved to manipulate them. When Dunn and Ilsa are abducted by Lane's men, Hunt realizes that Lane will always have his plan to acquire the files and that the only sure way to stop him is to force a confrontation with him. He agrees to Lane's ultimatum to abduct the British Prime Minister and use his voice print to unlock the file.
Disturbed by this turn of events, Brandt contacts Hunley and reveals their location. Hunley arrives at a charity auction to try and prevent Hunt from attacking the Prime Minister, and take him with Brandt and Attlee to a secure room. Having posed as Attlee, Hunt reveals himself and he has the Prime Minister confirm the existence of the Syndicate: a top-secret project that sought to recruit disavowed foreign government agents to carry out clandestine missions; an initiative that the Prime Minister opposed as too extreme. When the real Atlee arrives, Hunt subdues him, and he admits that Lane hijacked the project for his own ends and went rogue, which Atlee has been covering up its existence ever since. Atlee is arrested and is taken into custody.
Stickell discovers that the file is not having a ledger of known agents, but contains the locations and access codes for billions of dollars in untraceable funds that Lane has been desperate to get to keep the Syndicate active for decades. Hunt memorizes the data and destroys the file to force Lane to release Dunn and Ilsa in exchange for what he knows. He lures Lane out into the open and into a trap set up by Stickell and Brandt. Imprisoned in a bulletproof cell, he is gassed and taken into custody and the Syndicate is dismantled once and for all.
Lane first appears in Ethan Hunt's dream while he's sleeping. In the dream, Julia and Hunt are remarrying after their breakup in the fourth film, but things change when Hunt realizes that the priest is actually Lane. Lane starts talking about how hard it would be for Hunt to marry her, due to his job and how hard it would be to protect her from Hunt's enemies. Hunt says "that's enough" before seeing that the priest is actually Lane, and Lane says "you should have killed me". An explosion is seen in the background, and both Julia and Hunt die. When Hunt wakes up from the nightmare, he sees the tape announcing his mission, and it is trying to stop an enigmatic terrorist going by the name of "John Lark" who is recreating The Syndicate, under the name of the Apostles. Lane is suspected to be involved in this, but possibly even more dangerous this time around.
At the middle of the film, the arms dealer White Widow, Alana, makes a deal with Hunt which causes Hunt to get access to Lane. When they interrogate him in order to make a mask for him and copy his voice, but Lane threatens Hunt as they are copying his voice, saying that he is planning on ruining Hunt's entire life, "the fallout of all [your] good intentions". Benji uses the mask to disguise as Lane in order to see who is the true John Lark, until it's revealed; August Walker. Walker steps in and it is revealed that, while Walker is planning on killing a third of the world's population so that the world powers will work together, which may cause peace in the future, Lane does it just so that he can frame Hunt for the attack and get him arrested, making him rot in prison for years to come, seeing everything around him being slowly ruined and destroyed, which Walker gets frustrated on, asking Lane why he has to make everything so complicated. Eventually, Walker realizes that the Lane he is seeing is Benji on disguise.
At the climax of the film, in Kashmir, it is revealed that either Walker or Lane created a medical center after spreading a disease through the village, just so that Julia would go and work at the center, preparing on blowing it all up just to spite Hunt. Ilsa sees Lane standing by a house, and prepares to kill him. Lane hides, until he attacks Ilsa from behind and ties her up on a chair, screaming in panic as she is unable to escape. As she is unable to speak with Benji through their microphone, Benji comes as well and prepares to kill Lane. Lane comes from behind again however and brutally beats him, before hanging him from a rope, while Ilsa is forced to watch Benji slowly die. Before he is able to tie Benji to the rope however Ilsa comes from behind and beats Lane unconscious, before saving Benji. Lane is seen after this being arrested for his crimes, once again being the only villain in the series who has never been killed, and has now survived two films in a row.
It is unknown if Lane will reappear in the next film, although it can be presumed due to the Apostles still at large and Lane still alive. However, it's very possible he was executed by the MI6 for his crimes.
|“||Your mission, should you choose to accept it… I wonder, did you ever choose not to? The end, you've always feared… it's coming… and the blood will be on your hands! The fallout of all your good intentions.||„|
|~ Lane in Fallout, talking about how he's preparing on destroying Hunt's life.|
|“||To shield from terrors unknown, to lie, to cheat, to deceive, to fail to prevent her abduction, force her into hiding, take away all she has known. And Julia, do you choose to accept?||„|
|~ Lane in Hunt's nightmares, as Hunt is dreaming about marrying Julia, only to notice that Lane is the priest.|
|“||When the clock runs out, Ethan Hunt will lose everyone and everything he ever cared about...||„|
|~ Lane to Ilsa, during the final battle scene in Fallout.|
- Solomon Lane is the first antagonist in a Mission Impossible film who is captured instead of killed or ending up dead at the end.
- Despite being the only villain in the franchise to live on for more than one installment, Lane's actor Sean Harris said that he didn't want to appear in a film series and would only join the cast if they promised that Lane would die in the film. Reportedly, Harris pleaded Christopher McQuarrie throughout filming of Rogue Nation to kill off Lane. Interestingly enough, Lane hasn't been killed so far and has appeared in two films. Whether or not he's been executed by MI6 after being arrested is unknown.
- This may be an indicator that Harris ultimately changed his mind or was somehow convinced to return.
- Lane is the second antagonist of the franchise to face Ethan Hunt in a personal way, the first was Owen Davian.
- He's considered by fans of the Mission Impossible franchise as its smartest and most dangerous villain.