Long gone are the days of stories ending with the defeats of the antagonists. The Marvel, Star Wars and Game of Thrones Universe shows us how we can and should tie stories, characters and plots together so that every drama gains dimension, and you don’t want to stop consuming everything you can about a franchise.
As I mentioned last week, in 1996, when Tom Cruise was at the height of his acting career, he began to develop as a producer when he bought the Mission: Impossible brand, a very successful piece of content on TV in the 1960s. Rewriting and updating the series, some fans were offended that Ethan Hunt, Tom’s character, “took” the place of classic team leader Jim Phelps in charge of the Impossible Mission Force (IMF). Even more, by putting Jim as a traitor and corrupt, it seemed arrogance from the star. None of that, Tom had gold in his hands and 26 years later he reaches the seventh production without falling into the obvious or failing to enchant. It was not for nothing that I put the franchise as my number 1 of the top 5 actor.
In the trailer he released today, Tom Cruise once again delights fans with easter eggs, lots of action scenes and a big surprise, the return of his first major antagonist, Eugene Kittridge, again played by Canadian actor Henry Czerny. That’s right, Kittridge returns in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two. Without Vanessa Redgrave as Max(ine), it’s her daughter, who we know as the White Widow, in 2018’s Mission: Impossible: Fallout Effect that guarantees Vanessa Kirby‘s return as well.
And it makes sense. To remember the relevance of Kittridge’s return, now an assumed villain (he was annoying, but Jim Phelps was the villain in the original film) we have to go back where everyone unites.
In 1996, Ethan Hunt was Jim’s top agent on spy missions. As we came to find out, Jim formed the Impossible Missions Force from a former elite Special Forces squad, but with the end of the Cold War, he became disillusioned because he believed he was expendable. Frustrated, he decided to sell the confidential information to the arms dealer, Max(ine), letting the blame fall on Ethan’s shoulders. The plan was to sell a classified list of unofficial or NOC coverage agents. Jim faked his own death and pitted Kittridge in opposition to Ethan.
Ultimately, Ethan Hunt was able to prove his innocence and ended up becoming the IMF’s field leader, but it was never clear whether Kittridge resigned from his post and was replaced by Theodore Brassels (Lawrence Fishburne) or Swanbeck (Anthony Hopkins). His return, with all its resentment and history, promises to be dramatic. Remembering that he was the one who falsely accused Ethan’s family of drug trafficking to force him to show up, stifled the case that his team managed to steal confidential information inside the CIA headquarters, and failed to arrest Max. So he’s no fan of Ethan.
The best? All easter eggs from classic scenes from previous Quests. Every franchise is available on the platforms, so by 2023 we’ll have time to catch up! Here again the trailer released today.