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May there be peace on Earth...
~ Kurt Hendricks' most famous quote.

Kurt Hendricks, also known as Cobalt, is a Swedish-born Russian nuclear strategist and the main antagonist of the 2011 American live action spy film Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

He was portrayed by the late Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist, who also played Viggo Tarasov and Nikola Kozlow.

History

Kurt Hendricks served in Swedish Special Forces in his youth. Hendricks became the Professor of Physics at Stockholm University where he specialized in the minutiae of the nuclear endgame theory. He was regarded as a genius, with an IQ of 190. Despite this, he was forced to resign by the university because of his outlandish theories and claims of insanity. Following this, Hendricks was affiliated with the Russian central command during the Cold War, wherein his job was to "predict the unthinkable". After twenty years in his role, Hendricks came up with the concept of nuclear war in the place of natural order after following the examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hendricks then worked in the Kremlin as a chief strategist, where he formulated a plan to steal a briefcase with nuclear launch codes to facilitate his concept of world destruction.

Overview

Hendricks' plan was to instigate a nuclear conflict between Russia and the United States. In order to facilitate this, Hendricks arranged the destruction of the Kremlin in Moscow in order to steal a nuclear launch control-device while ultimately placing the blame for the attack on the Impossible Mission Force. Hendricks also later acquires the launch codes for the missile from Sabine Moreau, whilst posing as his right-hand man Marius Wistrom. His strategy for this conflict was to ignite a global nuclear exchange and eliminate most of the world's population. With most of the world's people wiped out (and presumably their old conflicts and hatreds along with them), a new era of human evolution could be ushered in. Hendricks also used his code-name, "Cobalt," to protect his true identity. After officially being disavowed because of the Kremlin bombing, Hunt and his team consisting of agents Jane Carter, Benjamin "Benji" Dunn and chief analyst William Alexander Brandt, are tasked with stopping Hendricks and bringing his conspiracy to light, or be hunted down as terrorists responsible for the bombing. Extremely resourceful, Hendricks made use of latex masks to fool Hunt and his team into believing that they were dealing with his right-hand man, eventually escaped with the case containing Russian nuclear launch codes.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Kurt Hendricks first appears at the Kremlin where he is passing through the security checkpoints just ahead of Hunt and Dunn, who are infiltrating the Kremlin. After Hunt attempts to search the archives for evidence of Cobalt's existence, Hendricks hacks the team's communication frequency, alerting the Russian guards to the IMF's presence in the Kremlin. As Hunt orders the mission to be aborted, he briefly passes Hendricks in the corridor, who nods in compliance.

When Hunt meets with the IMF's Secretary and his chief analyst William Brandt in their SUV, Brandt confirms that the individual whom Hunt met at the Kremlin was indeed Kurt Hendricks. He explains that Hendricks is an intelligent, but deranged nuclear strategist and that he bombed the Kremlin in order to steal a nuclear launch-control device from the Russians undetected. Upon viewing archival footage of Hendricks during the Cold War, they realize that his plan is to start a nuclear war so he can usher in the next phase of human evolution. When Leonid Lisenker, a nuclear code expert, attempts to leave Russia in the wake of the Kremlin bombing, Hendricks and his right-hand man Wistrom hold his family hostage, forcing him to grudgingly work alongside him.

Hendricks (disguised as his right-hand man Wistrom) and Lisenker proceed to travel to Dubai to rendezvous with the assassin Moreau, who stole the nuclear launch codes from IMF Agent Trevor Hanaway. Hunt and his team mislead both parties into believing that they exchanged a meeting with one another, as Hendricks escapes with the launch codes, killing Lisenker after fulfilling his usefulness. Hunt chases Hendricks out to the street, just as an enormous sandstorm envelops the area, decreasing visibility to a minimal level. Although Hunt manages to destroy Hendricks' getaway car, he manages to escape in the truck after Hunt is injured in the process.

After acquiring the launch codes for the missile from Hunt and his team after a botched operation, Hendricks and Wistrom head to a television broadcasting center in Mumbai, India where he shuts down the satellite that Hunt and his team had thought he would use to launch the missile. Having anticipated that Hunt disabled the satellite, Hendricks instead uses the broadcast center to launch the missile from a Russian Navy submarine, sending it hurtling towards San Francisco. Hunt and his team reached the broadcasting center just as Hendricks and Wistrom are exiting, a chase then ensues where Hunt pursues Hendricks, who has the launch device that could stop the missile in mid-flight.

Hendricks' death

Hendricks after leaping to his death from the top of a car factory.

Wistrom runs back into the broadcasting center to shut down its power generator, with Brandt, Jane and Dunn in pursuit. Hunt pursues Hendricks into a vehicle assembly factory where they brutally fight over the device, and after being beaten by Hunt, Hendricks jumps from the top floor of the factory with the device in his arms in an attempt to bring it outside Ethan's range and ensure the missile's detonation, mortally wounding himself in the process. However, Hunt finds a way to reach it by riding a car down to the bottom floor and retrieves the launch device, and after Dunn kills Wistrom, Brandt brings the broadcasting center back online, enabling Hunt to use the device to disarm the missile and causing it to crash harmlessly into San Francisco Bay. Hendricks witnesses Hunt foiling his plans before succumbing to his injuries.

Abilities

Being a former special forces soldier, Hendricks is trained in hand-to-hand combat as shown in the final scene where he had a fight with Hunt in the vehicle assembly factory before he committed suicide by jumping from the top floor while taking the launch device with him in order to make sure than Hunt would never get it on time until the latter found a way to reach it.

Not just Hendricks being trained in this ability, but also form a strategy to ignite a nuclear conflict between Russia and the United States. He can arrange the Kremlin's destruction so Hendricks could steal the launch control device while placing the blame on the IMF.

Trivia

  • Hendricks' death was completely unnecessary; instead of letting himself fall with the device, he could have simply dropped it from the top floor and continued engaging Hunt.
           Mission: Impossible Villains

Movies
Mission: Impossible: Jim Phelps | Franz Krieger
Mission: Impossible II: Sean Ambrose
Mission: Impossible III: Owen Davian | John Musgrave
Ghost Protocol: Kurt Hendricks | Marius Wistrom | Sabine Moreau
Rogue Nation: The Syndicate (Solomon Lane, Attlee & Janik Vinter)