Matthew Vaughn’s “The King’s Man” is the latest installment in the “Kingsman” franchise that began in 2013 with “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and continued with 2017’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” but if Vaughn has his way it won’t be the last.
Tangentially based on the comic book series “The Secret Service” by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, the first two films established a private spy organization run out of a Savile Row tailor shop. The first two films also cemented a tone for the franchise that sets it apart from other similar spy series, namely its uninhibited nature – unlike 007 or “Mission: Impossible,” “Kingsman” is gleefully R-rated.
“The King’s Man” inherits many of the aspects from the earlier films while setting it in a new time and place – on the eve of World War I, before the organization has been formalized. It’s a bold move, to distance itself so much from the modern-day spy movie shenanigans that audiences come to expect, but a rewarding one as well, as it lays mythological bedrock and thoroughly surprises.
There was a time, too, when the plan was to shoot two “Kingsman” movies back-to-back – “The King’s Man,” and a proper sequel to the first two “Kingsman” films (which would reunite Taron Egerton and Colin Firth). “That was sort of the plan, and I was ready to go, but let’s just say the world got turned upside down and we’re still trying to,” Vaughn told TheWrap in an interview about his new film. “We would like to shoot [‘Kingsman 3’] late summer, sort of August, September, next year.”
As to whether or not Vaughn will return to direct the next “Kingsman” movie, like he has for the other entries in the franchise, well that remains to be seen. “I haven’t decided. Are you asking me whether I want to direct right now when I’m just finishing ‘Argyle’ off, literally today, as well … Not the time to ask someone whether they want to direct or not,” Vaughn said, referred to completing post-production on his 80s throwback actioner for Apple. “At the moment, I don’t know. I mean, yeah. Give me a couple of months. Maybe.”
There’s also the question of whether there be future movies that follow the “King’s Man” timeline, set long before the events of that first movie. “If people like this one, I think, that’d be fascinating to go through every decade – the history of espionage, how it changed,” Vaughn explained. “I’ll be sort of fast forwarding as quickly as I can to get into the 60s to start doing the Cold War.”
This makes sense considering Vaughn took the “X-Men” franchise back to the 60s with 2011’s exemplary “X-Men: First Class.” Vaughn even has a scene he’d love to see in the hypothetical swinging 60s “Kingsman” movie: “Imagine a scene where you’re in the Kingsman tailor shop and you’ve got the Beatles on Savile Row playing. It’d be amazing to go through British history through the eyes of the Kingsman.”
Of course, the past (and the future) of the franchise depends on how well “The King’s Man” (which opens today) does this holiday season.