For all its ongoing, decade-spanning success, the Mission: Impossible franchise has never been all that kind to any of its characters not named Ethan Hunt. (Or Luther Stickell, the Ving Rhames-played badass buddy who’s the only other person to have appeared in all six extant films.) Although it’s gotten a bit more consistent about this since 2006's Mission: Impossible 3—when Simon Pegg and Michelle Monaghan both joined the franchise on an at least semi-permanent-unless-we-don’t-feel-like-springing-for-a-cameo basis—the early films are full of fairly prominent characters who disappear after a single appearance, and not always because they ended up on the receiving end of a Tom Cruise exploding helicopter special. Take, for instance, Henry Czerny’s Eugene Kittridge, a.k.a. the guy who takes a fish tank to the face for daring to smugly suspect Hunt of treason in the first Mission: Impossible film.
Czerny’s Kittridge was the first in a long line of obstructive higher-ups the M:I films employed to remind us that Ethan Hunt is a Bold And Fearless Maverick Who Doesn’t Need Your Oversight, at least until the franchise just sort of shrugged and said, “Fuck it, let’s have Alec Baldwin do it instead.” (A.k.a. the Saturday Night Live approach to all high-profile character casting.) A veteran character actor, Czerny lovingly sank his teeth into the role, creating a character who was arguably more hateable than any of the film’s actual murderous villains.
And now he’s coming back! At least, that’s according to Rogue Nation and Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie, who would presumably know, given that he’s been functionally in charge of the franchise for the last five years. McQuarrie posted the above picture to Twitter this morning, along with hashtags suggesting that the character will return for both Missions: Impossible 7 and 8. (Due out in 2021 and 2022, respectively.) It’s easy to imagine Czerny—wonderfully slimy in last summer’s Ready Or Not—taking on the role of a rogue agent, or maybe even a high-ranking official still bearing a grudge against his old enemy Ethan. Personally, though, we’re hoping for something a lot more prosaic. Picture this: Ethan Hunt, out of the game at last, settles into suburban life with his wife Julia. Out on a family shopping trip, he reaches to grab the last carton of eggs, only for another hand to intercept him. He turns, razor-honed instincts still sharp. Who does he see? Eugene Kittridge, grinning back at him, sitcom arch-nemesis status achieved at last.
Call us, McQuarrie.