Mission: Impossible 7 is already one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2022 if only because of the daring stunts pulled off by franchise star Tom Cruise. But there’s one element that has longtime fans of the franchise very excited, and that’s the return of actor Henry Czerny in the role of Kittridge. You may remember him: he was the director of the Impossible Mission Force in the original 1996 film who mistakenly thought Ethan Hunt was the mole that plagued the agency.

So what’s Kittridge been up to throughout these past 25 years? That’s something Henry Czerny had to figure out himself when he was asked to return to the franchise. 

Even though we’ll be waiting until May 27, 2022 to see Mission: Impossible 7 on the big screen, the excitement for the sequel is palpable. That’s why /Film’s Josh Spiegel couldn’t resist asking Henry Czerny about his work on the sequel during an soon-to-be-published interview about the 25th anniversary of the original Mission: Impossible movie.

Funnily enough, Czerny got the call to return to the franchise almost 25 years to the day after he was asked to join the first film. However, director Christopher McQuarrie admitted that he wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do with the character yet, but the filmmaker said, “I want to dig around with Kittredge. Are you up to it?”

Czerny took a couple minutes to think about it before he said, “Let’s do it.” And that’s when the work began. One of the things that excited Czerny about digging back into Kittridge was filling in the gap between Mission: Impossible and Mission: Impossible 7. Czerny admitted that those details weren’t something that McQuarrie was concerned with, but for an actor, that’s a big part of shaping the character. Czerny explained:

“I decided that he’d been to all the agencies on some level or other, had a good idea now of how the game is played and what his place is in this mechanism of national intelligence. I figured he’d been through all of them at this point, and he’d been schooled by Ethan 25 years ago. He’s known Ethan, he’s known he’s done these things, and he knows that Ethan is someone to go to, but he also feels that it’s not ever good to have one person controlling anything.”

So it sounds like there might still be some tension between Kittridge and Ethan after all these years, mostly because each of them seems to operate a little differently when it comes to getting the job done. Czerny elaborated:

“There’s a respect, but at the same time, it’s like fire. We need fire because we’ve got to cook, but you got to be careful with it. If you let fire do what it wants, you’re in trouble. The relationship that they had in the first one, Ethan schooling Kittridge on who the mole really was and catching the mole, was the springboard to 25 years of Kittridge going through different agencies so he wouldn’t be schooled again.”

Perhaps there’s a little bit of bitterness on Kittridge’s end after he realized that he was dead wrong about who the mole was in his own agency, as seen in the first film. That’s probably why he’s not so willing to let any one person be in total control. He wants to know what’s going on, and he doesn’t want another Jim Phelps situation.

Beyond putting the character work in, Czerny is just happy to be along for the ride. He added, “The fact that they’ve done it for this long and this well is extraordinary. I’m glad that [the franchise] is up and running after 25 years. And I get a chance to come back as someone who’s 25 years older and offer up whatever I can to it.”

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