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New The King's Man Trailer Shows How The Prequel Could Save The Franchise

According to Ralph Fiennes' noble spy Duke of Oxford in the new trailer for The King's Man, "Real power is not found running off to war. Real power lies in understanding who you're truly fighting, and how they can be defeated."

The venerated British actor faces off against the legendary Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) in this highly anticipated prequel (originally titled The Great Game) to the Kingsman series of films. In The King's Man, Fiennes takes the reins from franchise favorite Colin Firth to play a slick, suit-clad spy who takes a young mentee called Conrad (played by Harris Dickinson) under his wing to stop a nefarious plot led by the conniving Russian holy leader.

Matthew Vaughn, who helmed both 2015's Kingsman: The Secret Service and its 2017 sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle, will return for The King's Man, continuing his work on the series loosely adapted from the 2012 Marvel Comics series of the same name. By taking the tale of the Kingsman agency, a secret service organization that protects England from impending disaster, back to an earlier time frame in this forthcoming prequel, Vaughn can tell an entirely new story — which might help reinvigorate the franchise after a relatively disappointing second outing.

Why the Kingsman films need a big refresh

The first Kingsman film hit theaters in 2015, with Academy Award winner Colin Firth playing spy Harry Hart (a.k.a. Galahad) alongside then-newcomer Taron Egerton, who starred as his protégé Gary "Eggsy" Unwin. Kingsman: The Secret Service successfully rebranded the gentle, thoughtful Firth as a bonafide action star and cemented Egerton as an actor on the rise. Going forward from the franchise-starter, Egerton would continue his action streak in films like Robin Hood and earn international acclaim for his portrayal of a young Elton John in the 2019 biopic Rocketman

Though the first movie garnered strong reviews, pulled in a solid box office haul, and drummed up good will for Vaughn, Egerton, and Firth, its sequel The Golden Circle went ahead and squandered it all with underwhelming reviews. Despite a star-studded cast that added Channing Tatum, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, and even Elton John (who, of course, Egerton would go on to play two years later), The Golden Circle earned a middling 52 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics concluding that the film simply packed too much into its second go-around while losing the whimsy and "spark" of the original film.

Perhaps as a result to this disappointing outing, Egerton confirmed that he would not appear in the prequel flick, apparently needing some time away from the Kingsman films. This news was disheartening for fans, to be sure, but momentarily taking Egerton out of the picture and placing focus on new Kingsman lore could be just the kind of revival the franchise needs. 

The new trailer for The King's Man shows that the prequel could very well make amends for the sequel. Fiennes could not only save the world in The King's Man, but also the franchise overall, giving the series a much-needed restart as it goes forward. Vaughn may still be at the helm, but the Kingsman films definitely need a creative refresh, and this may be exactly the right move.

The King's Man will hit theaters on February 14, 2020.