James "Jim" Phelps was the Director of the Impossible Missions Force and the "captain" of its most reliable "mission team" for several years. As the IMF leader, it was his job to plan out the missions that his team would accomplish, considering all known, suspected, or possible angles. If anything failed to go according to plan during the mission, Phelps was quick enough to improvise so that the objective could still be obtained. The central character of the series, Phelps is the main protagonist and a hidden antagonist.
Name: James "Jim" Phelps
Occupation: Field Operations Agent, Impossible Mission Force (formerly)
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States
Date Of Birth: March 12th, 1934
Place Of Birth: San Francisco, California
Marital Status: Widower
Known Relatives: Unnamed parents (deceased), Claire Willliams-Phelps (wife, deceased)
Group Affiliations: United States Army, Pan American Airlines, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Impossible Mission Force
Base of Operations: San Francisco
Weight: 175 lbs.
Hair: Sandy Brown/Blond, later Grey
James Phelps was born in a small town in California on March 12th, 1934. His father ran a shipbuilding business. At one point, early in Jim's life, his father ran a bait and tackle shop "A. Phelps & Son" in the town where Jim grew up in Norville County.
Jim joined the U.S. Navy as teenager and fought for the Korean War before he entered government service. He briefly joined the Central Intelligence Agency, where he went through a thorough medical and psychological exam, before joining the United States government's covert Impossible Missions Force in 1963, led by Daniel Briggs. He would join a five person team called the "IM Force" as the team's point man.
In 1966, Phelps, along with Cinnamon Carter, Barney Collier and Rollin Hand, was sent by Briggs to stop a terrorist plot in Germamy by Soviets to start a nuclear war by infiltrating the submarine pen where the missiles were stored and destroying it. During the mission, Briggs was murdered by the Soviets. Afterwards, Jim was appointed as the IMF team leader.
As the IMF team leader, Jim would partake in many missions along with his team during the 1960's and the 1970's. By 1973, Phelps and his team battled against a terroist organization called The Syndicate. Phelps also became an associate to Theodore Brassel and Dr. Vladimir Nekhorvich. He also befriended Franz Krieger.
By the 1980's, he has married a much younger woman named Claire, and has been given an entirely new team.
Kidnapped by the Syndicate
In 1994, Jim was captured by The Syndicate. He was replaced with a Syndicate member Roderick Quinn who used reconstructive surgery to get Jim's appearance. By 1996, Quinn portrayed a Phelps who became disillusioned as he believes he is no longer necessary, despite having served his country for over four decades.
Finally snapping, "Phelps" convinces Claire to go along with his plan to sell sensitive IMF information to an arms dealer, Max, for a large sum of money. He is almost caught, but manages to kill off his team during a Prague mission to stop the theft of a non-official cover (NOC) list of the IMF (which is later revealed to be a mole hunt) and frame rookie team member Ethan Hunt, who looks up to Phelps as a father figure.
For the job, Quinn hires Phelps' old friend Franz Krieger to help carry out the murders. In the end, "Phelps", Claire, and Krieger successfully kill off three of their teammates as well as their target. During this, Phelps manages to fake his own death by getting shot and falling off a bridge.
Phelps then has Claire return to use her charms on Ethan, who has been successfully framed for the murders, as well as being the mole. Ethan concocts a plan to avenge the rest of the team and clear his own name by catching the real mole and stopping him, as well as Max. As the NOC list the team recovered in Prague was a fake, Hunt decides to steal the real list in order to draw the mole out of hiding. After making a deal with Max in exchange for some money, Ethan hires a couple disavowed agents for his mission. He chooses computer expert Luther Stickell, while Claire "suggests" Krieger.
After Ethan's plan succeeds, the IMF has his family framed for drug trafficking. After Hunt uses a payphone to alert the IMF of where he is (London), Phelps reveals himself to Ethan, claiming he survived getting shot. He then names IMF Director Kittridge as the mole. However, Phelps had underestimated Ethan, who is able to quickly determine that Phelps himself is the mole, and that he hired Krieger to pull off the murders, though he remains unsure if Claire was involved. When Hunt asks why "Kittridge" would do such a thing, Phelps uses his own reason: that he had believed he was becoming "a worthless piece of hardware not worth upgrading" due to the end of the Cold War. Hunt returns to the hotel his team is using for a temporary base of operations and, clearly distressed over what he has learned, lets Claire seduce him.
The next day, aboard a high-speed train, Phelps, realizing Ethan likely figured him out, hides as he watches Hunt reveal that Claire was in fact in on the treason. By this time, Hunt has given Max the real NOC list and is having Stickell use a jamming device to prevent Max from uploading it. After a tense standoff in one of the rear luggage cars (during which Phelps takes the money from Ethan), Claire reveals she feels guilty about what she has done and tries to prevent Phelps from killing Hunt, causing Phelps to kill her instead. An enraged Ethan then gives chase to Phelps, who is using suction cups to make his way along the top of the train to the end, where Krieger is flying a helicopter to make their escape.
During the fight, Ethan manages to hook the tether of the helicopter to the train, forcing Krieger to pilot the copter into the Channel tunnel. After freeing the tether, "Phelps" motions for Krieger to simply pick him up with the bottom of the copter. However, Ethan hops onto the copter as well, and plants a piece of exploding chewing gum (a relic of the Prague mission) onto the copter, before jumping back onto the train. The gum causing an explosion which kills Krieger, and causes the copter to fall onto "Phelps", crushing him.
Personality and traits
Jim Phelps is a very skillful spy and puts his mission first before everthing else. He is also a very intelligent, having knowledge about the Syndicate more than his former protegè, Ethan Hunt. He is also a very complicated man, due to his tragic and mysterious past as a spy.
Jim had often displayed a calm and collected demeanor, rarely showing any signs of fear in extreme circumstances during a mission. He also shows loyalty to those few who can gain his trust, mostly his teammates. He is completely ready to sacrifice his life if it will save someone he loves, and will stop at nothing to protect his friends and family. He also showed love and care for his wife, Claire Phelps, and sees Ethan as his son. Unlike Ethan, he seems to distrust Ilsa Faust, due to the latter being a member of the Syndicate.
While he was not as personally cold Daniel Briggs, Phelps ran equally risky missions and, unlike Briggs, ran missions that put non-combatants in harm's way.
Jim is a man of vice, loving to smoke cigars. At point of his youth, he was alcoholic but quit drinking at some point.
Jim Phelps had a sandy brown hair during his youth but as he became older, it became grey. He also has blue eyes and is 6'2 ft tall.
When he was young, Jim always wore brown leather jackets and blue jeans with a buckle or trousers. In 1996, he is seen wearing a white shirt and brown trousers with with straps and black shoes. He also wore a green trechcoat. In 2006 and 2014, Jim is seen wearing his casual clothes usually consisting of a brown trenchcoat and a black fedora hat.
Claire Phelps was Jim's wife. They were married eight years before NOC List Recovery.
Phelps is a skilled IMF spy. Due to his experience in the Korean War, Phelps is a master of stealth and tactical espionage. Phelps is well trained in martial arts, havning been taught in Eskrima, Karate and Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu.
Phelps is shown a handcase in using weapons, but his weapon of choice was the Colt M1911A1 .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol, which he held it since 1963 to 1994. After losing his M1911 pistol, he used a Smith & Wesson 12 revolver as his new sidearm.
- Mission: Impossible (First appearance)
- Mission: Impossible II (Only in Flashback) (Mentioned)
- Mission: Impossible III (Cameo)
|Mission: Impossible||Jim Phelps - Ethan Hunt - Claire Phelps - Eugene Kittridge - Franz Krieger - Luther Stickell - Max - Sarah Davies - Jack Harmon - Hannah Williams - Gennady Zoismov - John Waltzer|
|Mission: Impossible II||Ethan Hunt - Nyah Nordoff-Hall - Sean Ambrose - Luther Stickell - Billy Baird - Vladimir Nekhorvich - John C. McCloy - Hugh Stamp - Swanbeck|
|Mission: Impossible III||Ethan Hunt - Julia Meade - Owen Davian - Luther Stickell - John Musgrave - Declan Gormley - Zhen Lei - Theodore Brassel - Melissa Meade - Nyah Nordoff-Hall - Jim Phelps|