The “Mission: Impossible” movies have always had a flexible connection with their own past. Many characters have played significant roles in one film but never returned to the franchise. Keeping track of the history of the Impossible Mission Force (IMF) that Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) are part of can be quite complicated. However, the latest film in the series, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One,” also known as “Mission: Impossible 7,” brings back a character from the very first movie. In the new film, Henry Czerny reprises his role as Eugene Kittridge from 1996’s “Mission: Impossible.”
Who is Eugene Kittridge in “Mission: Impossible”?
In the first “Mission: Impossible,” Kittridge is the director of the IMF. He is in charge of finding a mole in the IMF, and he suspects Ethan. Kittridge even has Ethan’s family arrested to lure him out of hiding. Eventually, Ethan proves his innocence, and Kittridge reinstates him. However, Kittridge feels uneasy about what happened, which is a recurring theme in the films.
Who is Eugene Kittridge in “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”?
Kittridge does not appear in any other “Mission: Impossible” movie until he reappears in “Dead Reckoning Part One.” In the movie, a malevolent artificial intelligence known as “the Entity” is making its way through the world, and every country wants to get its hands on it. Kittridge sends Ethan on a mission to retrieve a key that unlocks something about the Entity. However, he is no longer the head of the IMF publicly; Kittridge is now the director of the CIA.
In “Dead Reckoning Part One,” Kittridge is even more morally ambiguous than in his previous appearance, even bordering on being a secondary villain. The United States wants the Entity and its powers not to improve the world or save its people but to control the future and the inevitable resource wars.
Who is the head of the IMF in “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”?
Although Kittridge is not officially referred to as the head of the IMF (usually referred to as the secretary in other films) in “Dead Reckoning Part One,” he seems to have taken on a de facto version of the role. Ethan instructs Grace (Hayley Atwell) to go to Kittridge to be admitted into the IMF, and Ethan’s mission at the start of the film comes directly from Kittridge. In “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” (2018), Alec Baldwin’s Alan Hunley is a former CIA director turned IMF secretary, but he is killed by John Lark (Henry Cavill) in the movie. It appears that no replacement secretary was chosen in the intervening years (it’s unclear if Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt, who appears in the fourth and fifth films, is still alive and active in the IMF at this point).
Interestingly, in one of the first scenes of “Dead Reckoning Part One,” the head of the NSA has no knowledge of the IMF at all. This is inconsistent with what was previously established about the IMF in other movies; the fifth movie even has a congressional hearing about the IMF. It appears that there is some retconning of the IMF’s place in the US government. It is also unclear how many people are still in the IMF at this point. Ethan, Luther, and Benji have access to the organization’s remarkable technology (such as the famous face masks), but they seem to be essentially on their own in the movie.
“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” is currently in theaters.