Mitch Rapp

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Mitch Rapp
First appearanceAmerican Assassin
Created byVince Flynn
Portrayed byDylan O'Brien (film adaptation)
AliasMitch Kruse
NicknameIron Man
TitleSpecial Assistant to the Director of the CIA on Counterterrorism
OccupationCounter Terrorism Operative
FamilySteven Rapp (brother)
SpouseAnna Rielly (from Executive Power to Consent to Kill)

Mitch Rapp is a fictional character in a series of novels by Vince Flynn and in the film adaptation of American Assassin. Since Flynn's death in 2013, the series has been continued by Kyle Mills.

The character first appeared in Transfer of Power.

Character introduction[edit]

Rapp is a counter-terrorism operative[1] employed, first unofficially then officially, by the CIA; the primary focus of the character is thwarting foreign terrorist attacks on the United States and he is presented as an aggressive operative who is willing to take measures that are more extreme than might be considered commonly acceptable.

Character sketch[edit]

Rapp's high school sweetheart Maureen Eliot, who was attending Syracuse University with Rapp, was killed in the December 21, 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, she had been one of thirty-five Syracuse students returning from a semester overseas. One year later he was recruited into the Central Intelligence Agency by Irene Kennedy.

Over the course of the series Rapp terminates a large number of terrorists both on foreign and domestic soil, his main conflicts center on foreign terrorists.

Biographical summary[edit]

Rapp attended Syracuse University, where he majored in international business and minored in French, he attended the college on a lacrosse scholarship[2] and was an All-American. Rapp was also offered a scholarship by the University of North Carolina, but turned that one down because his high school sweetheart Maureen was attending Syracuse with the hope of getting into broadcasting. Maureen, whom Rapp had known since he was sixteen years old, was killed in the December 21, 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, she had been one of thirty-five Syracuse students returning from a semester overseas.

Nearly a year after Maureen's death, Rapp was recruited into the CIA by Irene Kennedy, he began training the week after graduating from Syracuse. Only twenty-three years old at the time, Rapp did not go through the standard CIA training program at "The Farm", outside Williamsburg, Virginia. Instead, for a year straight he was shuttled from one location to the next, sometimes spending a week, sometimes a month; the bulk of the training was handled by Stan Hurley, a former CIA operative, who taught him "how to shoot, stab, blow things up, and even kill with his bare hands". In other words, he was schooled in firearms and marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat, and explosives. Endurance was stressed. There were long swims and even longer runs. Between all the heavy lifting, they worked on his foreign language skills. Since he had minored in French at Syracuse, within a month at the CIA he was fluent in the language, he was then taught Arabic and Persian and can passably speak Urdu and Pashto. He also speaks German and Italian, he is ambidextrous, but naturally left-handed.

Rapp then became an operative of the Orion Team, a highly secretive organization supported by the CIA but outside the Agency, it is funded by money that has been diverted out of congressionally funded programs. The job of the Orion Team in a nutshell is to take the war to the terrorists, it was formed in response to the Lockerbie disaster by the then CIA director of operations Thomas Stansfield. The unit operates in secret, independent of the U.S. national security apparatus and circumvents the leviathan of politics and gets around small impediments like the executive order banning assassinations. The team is headed by Rapp's recruiter, Irene Kennedy, whose official role is as director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center.

Rapp has been the Orion Team's star operative almost from the day he started and has been honed into the most effective counterterrorism operative in America's arsenal. He's spent significant amounts of time in Europe, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia collecting intelligence and when the situation called for it, dealing with threats in a more final manner.

Officially, Rapp has nothing to do with the U.S. government; rather, he is referred to in the business as a private contractor. Rapp lives a life completely separate from the Agency, his cover is that of a successful entrepreneur. With the help of the CIA, he runs a small computer consulting business on the side that just happens to do a fair amount of international business, which gives him the cover to travel frequently. To keep things legitimate, Rapp often does indeed conduct business while abroad.

One of Rapp's aliases is Mitch Kruse. In the special ops community he is often known only by his call sign, "Iron Man" after the annual Ironman Triathlon in which he has participated on several occasions and has twice won, his only remaining family is his brother, Steven Rapp, a millionaire financial genius. Mitch and Steven grew up in McLean, Virginia.

Throughout the books, Rapp works with several special operations units including Navy SEALs and DEVGRU, Delta Force, Air Force Special Operations Command, the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), he also has close ties with "SEAL Demolition and Salvage Corporation", a private military company specializing in underwater salvage such as getting rid of debris for ports and shipyards and training law enforcement divers, but whose employees also work from time to time as freelance operatives for the CIA. The company is owned and operated by Scott Coleman, former commanding officer of SEAL Team Six and friend of Rapp.

Relationship with other characters[edit]

  • Thomas Stansfield, the director of CIA (Transfer of Power, The Third Option, American Assassin, Kill Shot)
  • Irene Kennedy, the Director of the Counter-terrorism Center (Transfer of Power and The Third Option, American Assassin, Kill Shot) and the Director of the CIA (Separation of Power through Pursuit of Honor)
  • Stan Hurley, his Trainer and Mentor (Pursuit of Honor, American Assassin, Kill Shot, The Last Man)


Screen adaptation[edit]

The New York Times bestseller, Consent to Kill,[3] was intended to be the first Mitch Rapp film in a proposed series of films by CBS Films.[4] Consent to Kill was scheduled to be produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler; the screenplay was written by Jonathan Lemkin; the studio's last few films have performed poorly causing them to delay the production of this film. Antoine Fuqua was originally attached to direct[5] with several names being rumored to play Rapp, including Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell and Matthew Fox,[6] but the studio announced some major changes in June 2011.[7] One of these changes is that the first film in the series was initially based on an earlier novel; this was changed to basing it on a later novel, American Assassin, which explains how Rapp became a CIA officer. Another change is the leading man will consequently be younger to reflect Rapp at a younger age and still at the beginning of his covert career. On 19 January 2016 CBS Films announced that American Assassin will be directed by Michael Cuesta and written by Stephen Schiff. Production must start by April 30, 2016 or the rights to the film will revert to the Vince Flynn Estate. On May 10, 2016, Deadline announced that 24-year-old actor Dylan O'Brien was in talks to play Rapp, with the "idea that O’Brien’s Mitch Rapp is college aged, and the hope is the actor grows as the series progresses."[8]

The movie filmed between the months of September and December 2016,[9] with shooting taking place in London, Rome,[10][11] Valletta,[12] Phuket,[13][14] and Birmingham;[15] the upcoming action film follows the rise of Rapp (O’Brien), a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). The pair is then enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets. Together, the three discover a pattern in the violence leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Iranian agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (Taylor Kitsch) intent on starting a World War in the Middle East.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Killing terrorists: Is there a real Mitch Rapp?". The Daily Caller. 2010-10-18. Retrieved 1 February 2011.[deprecated source]
  2. ^ "Former Orange All-American Mitch Rapp coming to the big screen". 2009-10-07. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  3. ^ "New York Times best seller list for September 10, 2006". New York Times. 2006-09-10. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Mitch Rapp Movie Coming, Says Vince Flynn". Movie Rewind. 2010-09-05. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  5. ^ "Consent to Kill". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Consent to Kill Movie (Pre-Production): Mar. 21, 2010 - added Matthew Fox (Rumored) to the credits - Movie Insider". Movie Insider. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike (June 8, 2011). "CBS Films Targets 'American Assassin' To Launch Mitch Rapp Franchise, Sets Ed Zwick To Direct". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  8. ^ Mike Fleming Jr (May 10, 2016). "'Maze Runner's Dylan O'Brien In Talks To Play Mitch Rapp In Vince Flynn Spy Novel Adaptation 'American Assassin'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  9. ^ Ninajager27 (December 12, 2016). "End of filming for AmericanAssassin". Instagram. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  10. ^ American Assassin [@VinceFlynnFilm] (12 September 2016). "@cookiedough53 filming has begun" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  11. ^ Borys Kit (August 18, 2016). "Taylor Kitsch Joining Dylan O'Brien in 'American Assassin' (Exclusive)". HollywoodReporter. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  12. ^ droneservice_aerialfilming (December 1, 2016). "Aerial shoot in Valletta, Malta". Instagram. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  13. ^ lailadegala (December 6, 2016). "Filming in Phuket, Thailand I." Instagram. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  14. ^ ksenialeschuk (December 7, 2016). "Filming in Phuket, Thailand II". Instagram. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  15. ^ Roz Laws (December 17, 2016). "Birmingham becomes Warsaw for the weekend as Hollywood film makers move in". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  16. ^ Max Evry (September 12, 2016). "'Dylan O'Brien in first look at American Assassin'". Retrieved September 13, 2016.