|Date of birth:||c. 1967|
The man in glasses
The Syndicate (formerly)
Intelligence operative (formerly)
Great physical strength
Very high durability
High speed level
Great fighting skills
|Played by:||Sean Harris|
|First appearance:||Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation|
|Last appearance:||Mission: Impossible – Fallout|
|“||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?||”|
–Lane explains his motives to Ilsa Faust., Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Solomon Lane (1967-2017), also known as "The man in glasses", is the sole recurring antagonist in the Mission: Impossible film series, being the main antagonist in the 2015 film Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and one of the two main antagonists (the second being August Walker) in its sequel, the 2018 film Mission: Impossible – Fallout. He is a former British intelligence operative working for SIS/MI6 who went rogue after the agency's chief Atlee created a mysterious criminal organization named The Syndicate. Now an infamous and very psychopathic terrorist leading the Syndicate, Lane is also Ethan Hunt's archenemy who attempts to create a new world order based on unstoppable sequences of accidents and terrorist attacks and later to blow up several powerful explosives in order to starve a third of the world's population and frame Ethan for the attack.
Solomon Lane is a former British intelligence operative employed by the SIS/MI6, who considered to create the Syndicate, a special unit recruiting ex-agents of other nations and giving them new identities before deployed them against the enemies of Great Britain. The budget for this operation, a total of 2.4 billion pounds, was stored in numbered accounts, which should only be accessed through a virtual Ledger. In order to use this, a voice identification of the British Prime Minister would have been necessary, which nevertheless rejected this project.
Secretly, MI6 boss Atlee had the Syndicate set up and run it from Lane. The latter, however, became rogue by hijacking the project, transforming it into an international terrorist organization in order to implement his own goal - to destabilize and ultimately destroy the global world order. Only the accounts that the MI6 had originally created for the Syndicate, Lane could not access because the data were stolen by a Syndicate agent, which wanted to blackmail Lane with it. Although the Syndicate caught and interrogated the man, the man died in the interrogation and Lane could only learn that the registry was stored on a special computer in a secure power plant in Morocco. Lane is henceforth eager to take this money to make the Syndicate a extra-governmental, supranational superpower to reach his ultimate goal.
One of Lane's best agents is Ilsa Faust, who is a double agent and remains under MI6. While Lane organizes terrorist attacks and apparent accidents throughout the world, killing key political and economic figures, American Impossible Mission Force team chief Ethan Hunt leaves his mark. However, Lane always escapes to him and can achieve his goals. Among other things, a Syndicate-organized plane crash near Jakarta kills the President of the World Bank, the President of Malawi is shot dead on a state visit to Istanbul, and the destruction of a chemical weapons factory in the Philippines, which claims 2,000 civilian casualties, bankrupt a leading gun manufacturer.
Confronting the IMF for the first time
Ethan Hunt is convinced that he can prove the existence of the Syndicate. Reporting into an IMF London substation to receive his orders from a video record, the Syndicate willingly reveals their existence to the American, as it turns that the record is in fact a message from the organization. As Ethan is slowly neutralized by a gas pumped through the ventilation shaft into the chamber where he is, Lane himself kills a young undercover IMF agent under his eyes before the Syndicate captures him.
However, Ethan escapes from the Syndicate custody and begins investigating Lane to identify him. Although he still does not know the terrorist's identity, he can trace his tracks as far as Austria and fears that he wants to slaughter victims at a opera performance in Vienna, where the Austrian Chancellor will also be present. Hoping to thwart the possible attack, Ethan recruits his friend and intelligence specialist Benji Dunn, who was interrogated by a CIA Special Activites Division. In fact, Lane and a total of three agents (Ilsa Faust, Kagan and Richter) are in the building. While the agents follow the plan, Lane sits in the audience and finally gets through an artificial computer lens in the eye of Kagan, as the henchman is attacked and finally killed by Ethan. Finally, the assassination fails, because Ethan himself shoots at the Chancellor and wounded him, whereupon the politician is immediately evacuated from the building, but then explodes an explosive device in the car of the Chancellor and kills him.
That same night Ilsa is brought to Lane in a house to answer for the failed assassination. The MI6 agent goes straight into the offensive and accuses Lane of having placed two more shooters in the victims - one to kill the Chancellor should she fail and one to kill her in this case. She claims that Ethan Hunt was in the opera to find Lane and that this was the reason for the failed mission. Lane says, however, that Hunt was only in Vienna because Ilsa let him escape in London. He mumbles that Ethan has escaped twice already and that this is very strange. Ilsa challengingly asks if Lane doubts her loyalty or abilities. She throws him the gunman's handgun she had previously disarmed, claiming that Lane can either trust her or kill her, but that in the latter case he should be man enough to squeeze himself off. However, Lane shoots directly the henchman with the gun, pretty intimidating Ilsa. Lane later asks her if Ethan has said anything that could be of use to them during the short time he had captured Ilsa after the chaos in the opera. Ilsa reveals that Ethan knows about Morocco, whereupon Lane wants to hear what exactly Hunt knows about Morocco. Ilsa reveals that although Ethan knows about the power plant, he does not know what is hidden in it. Satisfied, Lane orders Ilsa to find Hunt, but Ilsa replies that she has arranged for Hunt to find him.
However, Ilsa secretly partners with Ethan and Benji 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 the IMF agents. She returns to London, passing the file on to her handler, Atlee. However, Atlee discreetly erases the file, forcing Ilsa to return to the Syndicate and prove her loyalty to Lane himself. As she meets with Lane and Janik Vinter at a graveyard, she has come to doubt that the register is really what Lane claims is. The anarchist confirms this thesis, but does not tell Ilsa what was really on the computer. He claims that they both know exactly why Ilsa has actually returned with the register and asks her why she continues to resist. Ilsa replies that it is because Lane is a terrorist but he corrects her and claims that it is not his intention to spread fear. Lane claims that his method is "much more surgical" and when Ilsa accuses him of killing innocent people, Lane replies that he did so while he was still working for his government.
While Lane and Ilsa are still talking, Vinter returns to them and reveals that the USB stick Ilsa has brought is empty. Lane is obviously angry, but can barely control himself. In fact, he even lets Ilsa go and sends her to a meeting with Ethan to bring her a message. As Faust meets with Ethan, 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 Benji is abducted by Lane's men, Ethan realizes that the Syndicate leader 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, William Brandt contacts Alan Hunley and reveals their location. The CIA director arrives at a charity auction to try and prevent Ethan from attacking the Prime Minister, and take him with Brandt and Atlee to a secure room. Having posed as Atlee, Ethan reveals himself and has the Prime Minister confirm the existence of the Syndicate. When the real Atlee arrives, Ethan 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 presumed arrested and taken into custody.
Luther 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. Ethan so memorizes the data and destroys the file to force Lane to release Benji in exchange for what he knows. Frustrated, Lane send Vinter and other henchmen to kill Ilsa and bring Ethan to him but the protagonists defend themselves and kill most of them including Vinter.
Deciding to take things in his own hands, Lane tracks Ethan, who then jumps through a window into a workshop and jumps through a bottom flap. Lane takes up Ethan. As he peeks through the bottom flap and sees Ethan crouching in the hollow below, Lane also jumps down and lands in the chamber. Only then does he realize that he has fallen into a trap. Right after Lane lands in the chamber, bulletproof glass walls close around him and he is trapped. When he looks around, he sees himself surrounded by Ethan's team, which appears outside the glass cage and realizes that he has lost. Ethan then activates a lever to pump narcotic gas into the chamber. Hatefully, Lane sets his silenced pistol on Ethan and fires several shots that do not break through the glass. Ethan makes no expression until Lane is stunned by the gas and collapses. The glass cage with lane in it is strapped to a truck so that Lane can be handed over in IMF custody.
Association to August Walker and second scheme
After his capture, Lane is constantly interrogated for nearly two years by various countries to answer for his actions. However, his presence continues haunting Ethan in his dreams while he's sleeping. In a dream, Ethan and his wife Julia are remarrying after their breakup in 2011, but things change when Ethan realizes that the priest is actually Lane. The criminal 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 his enemies. Ethan 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 Ethan and Julia die. When Ethan 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.
Later, a British arms dealer known as White Widow makes a deal with Ethan which causes the spy to get access to Lane, who is now taken to Paris, where he is to be tried. While being driven through the city under the heaviest security measures in a city, the convoy is attacked by Ethan and his team and the truck where Lane is locked is rammed into the river and fills quickly with water. While Lane tries to save himself from drowning, Luther Stickell and Benji Dunn free the terrorist and carry him away. After Ethan is also collected, the team drive on their boat back to the IMF hiding place in Paris. There they change into a car and drive off. However, the car is tracked by Ilsa Faust, who has come to Paris to kill Lane. She fires at the car, but the first bullet does not break through the windshield. After the interrogation has ended, Lane is led away by CIA agent August Walker.
The group now travels to London with Lane, where the man is once again housed in an IMF hiding place. Benji later 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 Ethan 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. The traitor so tries to kill Benji but is prevented by Alan Hunley and is about to be arrested when a special unit dispatched by CIA new director Erika Sloane arrives to arrest everyone to return to Washington, but some members of the unit turn out to be apostle agents, opening fire and causing chaos. Lane rams Benji's elbow into the pit of his stomach, picks up his pistol, and successfully escapes from the building. He arrives at a helicopter of the Apostles, with which they pick up Walker shortly afterwards and flee together with him despite all efforts from Ethan to arrest them.
Lane, Walker and the remaining Apostles then make their way to the Kashmir Mountains. This has since been quite empty, as the Apostles there had previously caused a smallpox outbreak just so that Julia would go and work at a local medical center that Lane or Walker created while they are preparing on blowing it all up with the plutonium cores just to spite Ethan. Walker's plan is to detonate the remaining two atomic bombs on a glacier in the mountains to contaminate the drinking water fed by the glacier and thus to radiate the drinking water protection of India and Pakistan, with the result that the food would contaminate one third of the world's population. With this mourning, Walker plans to bring about global peace according to his mantra, "The greater the suffering, the greater the peace."
However, Ethan and his team (who had previously discovered their plan) are able to follow them through the tracking device that Luther secretly planted into Lane. The spies discover that Lane's group have their atomic bombs placed in an abandoned settlement and Lane connects both bombs so that one automatically explodes, if the other defused. He sets the countdown timer to 15 minutes to allow Walker and the other Apostles to gain a safe distance while the criminal himself declares that he is no longer running away and announces that the whole thing will end for him in this settlement. Lane also hands Walker the detonator for the bomb and orders him to take both helicopters with him so that no one can escape from the remote valley but Ethan chases the rogue CIA agent in a helicopter while Luther prepares to disarm the bomb and Benji and Ilsa search for the other bomb.
Sadly for Lane, Ilsa sees him standing by on the porch of a building, and chases him. She so finds the bomb and as she begins to deactivate it, Lane brutally grabs Ilsa from behind and pulls her through a wooden wall before knocked her unconscious with a wooden log. Lane then bounds and gags her up on a chair, leaving her to screaming in panic as she is unable to escape. At the same moment Benji storms into the building but Faust is unable to speak with him as he prepares to release her. Lane so comes from behind again however and brutally beats him, before hanging him from a rope, while Ilsa is forced to watch Benji slowly die.
Ilsa, fortunately, can free themselves from her shackles and engages Lane once again, stabbing him on his leg with a piece of broken glass before throwing the shard at Benji to free him. Eventually, Ilsa manages to ram Lane to the ground and she starts hateful to strangle him. However, since Benji cannot breathe and is about to suffocate, she decides to free Benji instead of killing Lane. So she only chokes Lane to unconsciousness and then cuts down Benji, who then captures the unconscious terrorist. The latter comes back a short time later and sneeringly claims that Ilsa and Benji cannot do anything. When this prediction turns out to be wrong and Ilsa and Benji defuse the bomb while Luther defuses the other bomb at the same time, Lane collapses, stunned and bitter.
He is last seen after being once again arrested for his crimes. Erika Sloane hands him over to MI6. Lane was (presumably) finally executed for his past crimes.
Lane is a totally unemotional killer. In service as MI6 agent, he unhesitatingly killed innocents, eventually making him bitter. Even before his time as a secret agent, Lane was skeptical about the motives of governments and saw them as corrupt and destructive organizations, all ultimately equal to their egoism and their actions, with the sole aim of leaving everything as it is - for everyone: price. However, as he worked as a spy, these beliefs deepened, bringing Lane closer to an anarchist and nihilistic worldview. From then on he used MI6's planned Syndicate to commit terrorist attacks worldwide, destabilize the world order, and finally destroy it altogether, believing that only chaos could bring long-term peace. The innocent opera that brings his actions with it, as Lane does not care about it and he justifies himself that he has done nothing else as a MI6 agent, becoming the perfect personification of anarchism.
In planning his operations, Lane is cold and calculating - he leaves out his personal feelings. A silent individual, he shows a different pattern of behavior based on violence, killing and anarchy but wants to show this behavior silently, and made his actions without noise or explosions, describing his killing methods as "more surgical", presumably referring to Janik Vinter and his tools of torture. In his contact with humans - subordinates as well as enemies - Lane is calm, polite, emotionless and can only be led to feelings by serious personal defeats - in most cases, sheer rage. This anger is Lane's biggest weakness, since they make the otherwise brilliant terrorist mistakes. In fact, it is his hatred for Ethan Hunt that makes him forget caution and, in many cases, is the reason for his defeat. Nonetheless, Lane is a brilliant strategist and a criminal genius whose plans always involve several levels and often leave the enemies in the belief that they have won, only to then perform an action that is in Lane's interest.
After the Syndicate was almost crushed by Lane's arrest and unable to act as before, the deluded Lane realizes that the syndicate - which he saw as the last hope of civilization to smash the insane governments - is now gone. Therefore, he takes on a new perspective, which is lived by a new anarchist ally, John Lark. According to the hypothesis that every phase of peace was preceded by a great suffering, Lane and the Apostles now want to cause the world as much suffering as possible in order to bring about peace. Lane is also ready to obliterate a third of the world's population. In fact, Lane is driven by this one goal at the time and is even willing to sacrifice his life for it - even his goal is to die, even though he has options to escape.
Another aspect Lane lives for is revenge on Ethan Hunt, who thwarted his original plans. To see Ethan suffer, Lane sets some levers in motion. So he organizes that Ethan's ex-wife and great love, Julia Meade-Hunt, works as a paramedic in an auxiliary camp in the Kashmir Mountains, because there is the place where Lane wants to detonate his atomic bombs. In addition, while still imprisoned, Lane is continuously haunting Ethan in his dreams and even when meeting him from the reason Hunt wants information about John Lark, Lane psychotically tells him that the end he always feared from is coming for him. The anarchist also gives his henchmen explicit instructions not to kill Hunt, as he is not done with this yet. But these perfidious vices of revenge eventually turn out to be Lane's downfall as Ethan manages to thwart the anarchist's plans a second time.
- Peak Human Condition: Despite being held captive for years, Lane is in excellent shape due to years of training as an MI6 operative. He is strong enough to punch a hole through a wood panel and pull Ilsa through it and then knock her unconscious with a single blow to the head as well as overpower and strangle Benji and then lift him up by a rope with little effort. He is also able to take blows with no signs of discomfort and continuing to fight even after taking a stab wound to the leg. His physical abilities combined with his fighting prowess made him an exceptionally dangerous opponent.
- Skilled Combatant: Lane is a highly skilled combatant. He is able to fight on an even level with and even briefly overpower both Benji and Ilsa and comes extremely close to killing both, only failing due to some quick thinking and luck on both of their parts. His fighting style seems to consist of Krav Maga, Tai Chi, Jiujitsu and Hapkido.
- Skilled Marksman: As a former British intelligence operative working for SIS/MI6, Lane is skilled in the use of handguns.
- Genius-Level Intellect: Lane is a highly intelligent individual. He is a skilled agent and intelligence operative who is able to run a vast terrorist organization and nearly pull off multiple acts of terrorism to achieve his goal. He is skilled in intelligence gathering, the use of technology and even nuclear physics. Ilsa Faust describes him as Ethan's intellectual match and the most dangerous adversary he'd yet faced.
- Master Tactician: Lane is an extremely skilled tactician who is able to predict how people will act in a situation and plan around it and set into motion extremely complex schemes and have them succeed perfectly. His plan to kill off a third of the world's population would have gone off successfully had it not been for Ethan and his team.
Behind the Scenes
Harris was very hesitant to accept the role of Lane, because he felt that he was not well known on the big screen, but rather on the circuit of television. The reason he took the role was because of an exchange scene initially set at the climax where Lane and Ethan talk about the loss of faith of man. This scene was eventually cut off after the premieres, as mentioned earlier, and it did not fit the following revised scenes eventually.
- Lane is the only main antagonist to survive (beyond his starring film) in the Mission: Impossible film series, having already survived two of the films. It is unknown if Lane will re-appear in the 7th film, however with the Apostles still at large it can be presumed he may appear again (depending if MI6 kill him in the process to prevent him from giving vital information to foreign governments).
- He is considered by fans of the franchise as the smartest and most dangerous villain of it.
- He is also arguably the main antagonist of all the cinematographic franchise.