Time and tide wait for no man.  This is especially true if that man does his own stunts in an action franchise with each central stunt trying to top the movie before, and increasing injuries with each attempt.

Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, or Tom Cruise to us mortals, is now 57.  That’s his official Hollywood age too, so in reality he could well be older than that.  As he heads towards a landmark birthday, movie fans have often wondered just how long he will be able to go on leading one of the most action intensive franchises there is?  One that requires the lead to be front and centre when the stunts are going on.

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Being so Cruise-centric it was inevitable that it would have to end somewhere.  It was resurrected after a six year break, and seemingly closed story at the end of MI:III, when Cruise had a number of poor box-office performances and needed a franchise.  So the series is for him, about him, and ends with him.

When it was announced that previous Mission director Christopher McQuarrie would return again, but this time shoot instalment 7 and 8 back-to-back, it did make people wonder if this was the home stretch to ending the franchise.

Today comes news that may give even more credence to that, in the form of a clear attempt at a bookend with some casting.

That news? Eugene Kittridge is back!  Henry Czerny is returning to the role for the first time since the opening movie.  Ethan Hunt clashed with then IMF Director way back in 1996.  The character has not been mentioned since then.

McQuarrie confirmed the news on Twitter today, posting a shot of Czerny with the caption “There is no escaping the past… #MI7MI*”.

Czerny himself has worked steadily since Mission: Impossible, and his breakout role in Clear And Present Danger.  He can currently be found in When We Rise on Netflix.

So an ageing star, a two part conclusion and the return of a previous foil for the hero.  Signs point to a conclusion.