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The King's Man - What We Know So Far

Kingsman: The Secret Service was a unique, refreshing take on classic spy films in the Bond movie tradition. Taron Egerton nailed his first major role as Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, a stereotypical chav who has to prove himself after he gets recruited into a secret intelligence agency by Harry Hart (Colin Firth). With raunchy humor, exciting action sequences, engaging cinematography, and a memorable cast of characters, it's no surprise that fans wanted to see more of the Kingsman universe. 

Since the release of The Secret Service and its unexpected success, Kingsman has steadily been expanding into a larger franchise. Although the sequel, The Golden Circle, was released to mixed reviews in 2017, there was still plenty of interest in more Kingsman films. The latest installment, The King's Man, is set to take the story in a new direction. Here's all of the info that's been released about The King's Man so far, as well as a few hints about the future of the series.

What's the release date for The King's Man?

The date and title of the sequel ended up changing during the production process. At the first, the film was announced with the working title Kingsman: The Great Game. Eventually, it was decided that it would be titled The King's Man instead, which is a good fit — it references the original films while still making it clear that this movie will be different.  

Originally, the release date for The King's Man was planned for November 15, 2019. However, the date was pushed back to Valentine's Day of 2020 so that Fox could give that prime awards season spot to Ford vs. Ferrari. Then, it was pushed back yet again to September 18. And then came the COVID-19 pandemic, which shuttered theaters worldwide and led to a lot of schedule-shuffling on the part of the studios, bumping "The King's Man" back yet again — all the way to December 22, 2021, when it'll be poised to satisfy holiday cravings for big-screen spy hijinks. Better late than never, right?

What can we learn from The King's Man trailers?

The first teaser trailer for The King's Man was released in July 2019. A second, longer trailer revealing a little more detail about the plot followed in September 2019.

In the second trailer, it's established that the Kingsman organization is the "first independent intelligence agency," operating outside the military and the confines of government bureaucracy. Their goal is to preserve peace during wartime, using their own unorthodox methods without waiting for permission from any authorities. The notorious Grigori Rasputin will be making an appearance — perhaps as a sworn enemy of Kingsman. 

We can definitely expect more of the highly stylized action sequences that the Kingsman films are known for. And there's a callback to one of the most important scenes in the first film: the Duke stands outside of the tailor shop that secretly leads to the Kingsman headquarters with Conrad, just as Harry did with Eggsy in The Secret Service

Who is directing The King's Man?

Matthew Vaughn, who directed The Secret Service and The Golden Circle, is getting behind the camera again for The King's Man. "I wanted to scratch an itch that I've had for ages in making a movie [like] the big, epic adventure films that I grew up on," Vaughn said during a panel discussion at New York Comic Con. He added, "Making a movie like that on this sort of scale is not exactly easy to raise money for so I thought if I entwine that into the King's Man universe, Hollywood wouldn't be as scared of it." Vaughn named Lawrence of Arabia, The Man Who Would Be King, and The English Patient as films that inspired his vision for The King's Man

This time around, Vaughn worked with screenwriter Karl Gajdusek on the script. Previously, Gajdusek served as a writer on the series Dead Like Me and films like Oblivion. He was also an executive producer for the first season of Stranger Things

When do the events of The King's Man take place?

While The Secret Service and The Golden Circle took place in modern times and featured the Kingsman organization dealing with contemporary issues, like Valentine's plot to kill off most of the population to save the planet from climate change, The King's Man is going to be a prequel to those films. The plot of the film will play out against the backdrop of World War I. 

Why did Vaughn decide to work on a prequel, rather than jumping straight into working on another sequel? According to the director himself, he saw it as an opportunity to start with a blank canvas, rather than building on the previous films. "It's hard to do plot twists with characters that are known, so I wanted to do an origin movie that had hardly anything to do with original Kinsgmen," Vaughn told Entertainment Weekly. He also says that you can watch and enjoy The King's Man even if you haven't seen the other Kingsman films yet. 

Will Taron Egerton and Colin Firth be in The King's Man?

Since The King's Man takes place so many years before the events of The Secret Service and The Golden Circle, Taron Egerton and Colin Firth will not be returning to their starring roles as Eggsy and Harry. 

Although a Kingsman film without Egerton and Firth will definitely have a different tone, this gives Vaughn the chance to bring some fresh faces into the fold and go in a new direction with this film. Plus, both actors have been quite busy lately. Egerton starred as Elton John in the musical biopic Rocketman, which earned overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and even generated some Oscar buzz. More recently, he voiced Rian in the Netflix/Henson puppet series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and his voice will again be heard in Sing 2, in which he'll return as Johnny the gorilla. 

As for Firth, his recent roles include the war drama 1917 as well as The Secret Garden and Supernova. Clearly not averse to acting through big-scale conflict, he's also set to appear in another war drama, Operation Mincemeat.

What is the plot of The King's Man?

There are very few concrete details floating around about the plot of The King's Man. We definitely know that it's a period film set during World War I, but judging by the irreverent tone of the previous Kingsman films, it's not going to be a run of the mill historical drama. According to the official synopsis, the story goes as follows: "One man must race against time to stop history's worst tyrants and criminal masterminds as they get together to plot a war that could wipe out millions of people and destroy humanity."

Sounds suspenseful, but one thing is clear: in The King's Man, we will learn exactly how the organization was originally founded and why. While it looks like most of the film will be set in Britain, the trailer makes it clear that the Russians definitely get involved, too. 

Despite the secrecy so far, a few scenes from The King's Man were screened early at New York City Comic Con. In one scene that expanded on a moment from the trailer, Shola and Rasputin get into a sword fight while Conrad tries to rescue his father from drowning in icy waters — and Polly has to intervene to save their lives. We can expect a few more sneak peaks as The King's Man's release date approaches. 

Harris Dickinson will star in The King's Man

Harris Dickinson is starring in The King's Man as Conrad, whose aspirations to become a solider and fight in the war end up leading him in a very different direction than he originally planned. Dickinson has raved about his experience shooting The King's Man, revealing that he felt like he had lots of creative freedom in his role because they were telling a new story that didn't necessarily rely on the previous films. 

"It's not like the pressure of a sequel, necessarily, where you've got to come in and continue the story," Dickinson told Collider, adding, "There are definitely moments where you pinch yourself and think, 'This is my job.'"

In some ways, it looks like his character is comparable to Eggsy: a young man who gets recruited to work with Kingsman, without much of a clue about what's really getting himself in to. But while Eggsy's father died when he was young, sacrificing himself to protect a fellow spy, Conrad's dad is alive and well — in fact, he's the one who recruits him for espionage in the first place. 

Ralph Fiennes will co-star in The King's Man

Ralph Fiennes will play the Duke of Oxford, who also happens to be Conrad's father and the founder of the Kingsman organization. He acts as a mentor to Conrad throughout the film, teaching his son that while the government might not take action to stop injustice in time, Kingsman can — and espionage is a more effective way of fighting than using brute force. 

"His son's growing up and is full of sense of duty and wanting to prove himself as a soldier and as a man of honor," Fiennes told ComicBook.com, continuing, "I try to give him another perspective ... how you can do more damage to the enemy by the right intelligence/undercover work than all-out war."

If you're a Kingsman fan feeling a little let down by the fact that Egerton and Firth won't be appearing in this film, it does seem like Conrad and the Duke will have a similar dynamic to Eggsy and Harry.

Rhys Ifans will play Rasputin in The King's Man

While it's still unclear exactly how the Russians will factor into the plot of The King's Man, it looks like Rasputin will play a significant role. He appears in the trailer, and we know that he's going to have at least one important fight scene. Will he be one of the villains of the film, or will he end up helping out Conrad and the Duke? Only time will tell. Right now, all we know is that Rasputin will be played by Rhys Ifans.

Even if you don't recognize Ifans' name, you might know his face. He played the Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man, and he also appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 as Xenophilius Lovegood. And you might also be familiar with his voice: he narrated the 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. In addition, Ifans played Corbin O'Brian in Snowden, and he also had recurring roles in Berlin Station as Hector DeJean and Elementary as Mycroft Holmes.

Who else will appear in The King's Man?

The cast of The King's Man is rounded out by several accomplished actors. Gemma Arterton, who recently lent her voice to the TV adaptation of the novel Watership Down, will have a leading role as Polly, a woman involved with Kingsman. She is featured prominently in the trailer, so it's safe to assume she's going to be an important character. Djimon Hounsou, known as Korath in Marvel films like Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy, also makes a few appearances in the trailer — he'll be joining the cast as Shola.  

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is set to play Lee Unwin, who is likely one of Eggsy's ancestors. You may also recognize Stanley Tucci, who appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger and voices Herb Kazzaz on BoJack Horseman. And if you're a fan of Game of Thrones, look out for Charles Dance, who played patriarch Tywin Lannister masterfully for five seasons and will be appearing in The King's Man as Arthur. 

Will Liam Neeson be in The King's Man?

While The King's Man was still in production, it was reported that Liam Neeson would be appearing in the film. Neeson did seem like a great fit for a Kingsman film — after all, he had already proven that he could play a convincing secret agent in the Taken series. 

Unfortunately for those who were hoping to see Neeson join the organization, this turned out to be nothing more than a rumor. "I just wrapped the movie and unless he's got some amazing prosthetics and he's playing some character I didn't know about, he ain't in the film. Never had a discussion," Vaughn told The Playlist. "I love Liam Neeson. And I'd love for him to be in it, but no, I have no idea where that came from." Vaughn joked that if he had wanted to drum up more publicity for the film with fake casting announcements, he should have spread a rumor about someone even more famous, like Leonardo DiCaprio

Will there be future Kingsman films?

The King's Man is a prequel, but that doesn't mean we'll never find out what happened after the events of The Golden Circle. Vaughn has already confirmed that an untitled Kingsman film (tentatively referred to as "Kingsman 3") will be released in the future, picking up where The Golden Circle left off. The script is already written, and as far as the plot, Vaughn says that audiences should "expect the unexpected." And this time, Egerton and Firth will be back as Eggsy and Harry. 

Egerton has said he's glad that he'll get a chance to return to the role, and he's hoping that the new film will fare better with the critics than The Golden Circle. "I would like the third one to be better received than the second one was," Egerton told Empire, continuing, "What I would like to happen is for us to do a third one and for it to feel like a worthy third installment to what has been a great part of my life." 

There is also a Kingsman spinoff film planned, titled Statesman. This film will be about Kingsman's American counterpart organization, which was featured in The Golden Circle

A Kingsman TV series is in the works

If the upcoming Kingsman films still aren't enough for you, you're in luck: there is also a Kingsman television series planned. The series will supposedly include eight hour-long episodes. As of right now, there's very little info out about the series — it's simply known as the "Untitled Kingsman Project," and there's no release date yet. Production on the show has not started, and there's no word about who the cast will be. Basically, we're in the dark for now, although Vaughn reportedly has "something like seven more Kingsman films" up his sleeve.

If you're feeling a bit impatient about the upcoming projects, you can always check out the animated Archer and Kingsman crossover, titled #TBT to That Time Archer Met Kingsman. It features Eggsy alongside Sterling Archer, with Egerton voicing Eggsy. Archer happens to find the secret Kingsman lair and outsmarts Eggsy at his own game during a drinking contest. 

With so many things in the works, fans will be getting plenty of new material for years to come. There's still much to explore in the world of Kingsman.