Kingsman (franchise)

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Kingsman
Kingsman. logo.svg
The current logo of the franchise.
Created by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons
Original work The Secret Service (2012 – 2013)
Owner 20th Century Fox
Print publications
Comics
Films and television
Film(s)
Short film(s) #TBT to That Time Archer Met Kingsman (2017)
Television series Kingsman (TBA)
Games
Traditional See the Merchandise section
Video game(s) See the Video games section
Audio
Soundtrack(s)

Kingsman is a British-American media franchise based on the adventures of the agents of Kingsman, a fictional secret organisation. It began in 2012 with the comic The Secret Service. Two sequels, Kingsman: The Big Exit and Kingsman: The Red Diamond, followed in 2017 and 2018. The series was rebranded following the release of the film adaptation of The Secret Service.[NB 1] The series was created by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. The comic series is set in Mark Millar's shared universe, the "Millarverse"; with the celebrity kidnappings taking place in Kingsman Vol. 1 being referenced in Kick-Ass 3.[1]

Kingsman: The Secret Service, directed by Matthew Vaughn and co-written by Jane Goldman, was released in February 2015. The film stars Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Sophie Cookson, Sofia Boutella, Jack Davenport, and Mark Hamill.[2] A sequel to this film, subtitled The Golden Circle, was released in September 2017. Sequel and prequel films in the series are in development, and the franchise is due to expand to television with an eight-hour limited series. Novelizations of the films have been published, and numerous Kingsman video games have been released since 2012.

Comic series[edit]

Kingsman
Transparent bar.svg
Publication information
Publisher Icon Comics
Format Limited series
Genre Spy
Publication date 2012
Main character(s) List of Kingsman characters
Creative team
Written by Mark Millar
Artist(s) Dave Gibbons

Overview[edit]

Kingsman Vol. 1 The Secret Service - Collected Edition. Cover art by Dave Gibbons.

The first volume, The Secret Service (2012) is set over the course of three years. Gary "Eggsy" Unwin is recruited by his uncle, Jack London, to work for Kingsman, the British Secret Service. Eggsy is put on an extensive three-year training course, performing various assassinations and apprehending a Colombian drug lord. Whilst investigating a series of celebrity kidnappings perpetrated by Dr. James Arnold, a very wealthy cellphone entrepreneur who plans to use a satellite signal to make the poor of humanity slaughter each other in order to solve the overpopulation problem, London is killed by Arnold for sleeping with his girlfriend, unaware of his Kingsman allegiance. Horrified by his uncle's death, and learning that Arnold is supported by higher-level members of Kingsman, Eggsy recruits his fellow trainees to an assault mission on Arnold's base, hidden inside a mountain in Switzerland. After ambushing and battling Arnold's troops, freeing the captured celebrities, including Pierce Brosnan, Patrick Stewart and David Beckham, Eggsy engages in a fist fight with Arnold's henchman and former Kingsman agent Gazelle, and leaves to confront Arnold. Arnold activates the satellite signal and waits for the people to slaughter each other, but instead, due to one of Eggsy's colleagues having changed the frequency, people worldwide begin to make love to one another. Eggsy then kills a confused Arnold. In an epilogue, Eggsy reads his uncle's will, revealing that two-thirds of Jack's estate will go to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the British Heart Foundation, the final third going to Eggsy's mother, informing Eggsy to take good care of his gadget-laden car, or he will "come back and bloody haunt him." As Eggsy reports to Kingsman Headquarters, Sir Giles briefs him about a mission that concerns "trouble in Moscow".

The original cover of The Secret Service before the series was re-titled.

A stand-alone sequel to The Secret Service titled Kingsman: The Big Exit was published in the September/October 2017 issue of Playboy Magazine, by Rob Williams with art from Ozgur Yildirim. Set shortly after Brexit, The Big Exit follows Eggsy as he's tasked with safeguarding the controversial Brexit "divorce fee" on its journey to Brussels, consisting of £100 billion of solid gold bars, from a group of pro-Brexit terrorists, "The Union Jacks", disguised as French activists to steal the gold back for the UK. It is eventually revealed that Eggsy's mission is in fact a decoy so that Kingsman themselves can destroy "The Union Jacks" and swipe the gold from both the British Parliament and the European Union and use it to fund hospitals and education services back in England.[3]

The second volume of Kingsman, subtitled The Red Diamond, was released through Image Comics in September 2017, taking place over the course of one week. After knocking out Prince Philip after saving him from a group of Greek terrorists ignorant of the fact that the prince is Greek himself, Eggsy is put on a week-long leave of absence. Returning to Kingsman headquarters to retrieve a pill to treat his little brother Ryan's norovirus, an alert comes in from the South African Secret Service (SASS) regarding an encrypted message that was sent to a wanted hacker named Alias at Times Square in Manhattan. As the only agent present, Eggsy is sent out on a rocket to find Alias before the SASS. Upon finding him, Eggsy is confronted by Kwaito - a SASS agent, and Ingot - a Red Diamond agent. Upon restraining Alias, Alias explains that he was trying to shut down the servers in the financial district to protect them from a virus released by the Red Diamond’s virus. Ingot snaps Alias’ neck and makes his escape, trapping Eggsy and Kwaito. Once he leaves, the virus is released onto computers worldwide, causing a global blackout. The Prime Minister of Britain receives a betamax tape from the head of the Red Diamond, self-made South African mining magnate Jakobis Du Preez, who explains his plans to replace the world's physical money with gold and jewels; in a separate tape he invites the “Kings and Queens of the new material world,” to a remote location in the Hunan Province, the People’s Republic of China. Eggsy and Kwaito independently go undercover to the event only for Du Preez to set off a bomb to get rid of "the competition". Retrieving a map to the Red Diamond base from Ingot and crashing into a forest with Kwaito, Eggsy and Kwaito make love. Later finding civilisation and a phone to use, Eggsy discovers that Kwaito has stolen the map. Having memorized it, Eggsy travels to Guam where he is reunited with Kwaito. Making their way inside the base, the pair find Du Preez sitting naked on a hill of jewels and gold bars. Du Preez explains that they cannot kill him lest a fail-safe he attached to his heart open the airlocks and kill everyone. After a confrontation with Ingot, Eggsy shoots Jakobis with a poisonous spy-dart which will slowly kill him, and makes his escape with Kwaito and Treeman, a hacker held captive by Du Preez. Whilst fleeing, Treeman gains access to a Red Diamond computer and uploads an override to delete the Red Diamond virus. In the epilogue, a ceremony is held in Eggsy's honour. Several esteemed guests are invited -- including Prince Philip, who wants to apologise and shake Eggsy's hand. However, Eggsy instead takes his family and Kwaito to his favourite pub.

Development[edit]

Film series[edit]

Kingsman
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Produced by
  • Matthew Vaughn
  • David Reid
  • Adam Bohling
Screenplay by
Based on The Secret Service series
by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons
Starring
Music by
Cinematography George Richmond
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget Total (2 films):
$198 million
Box office Total (2 films):
$824.7million

Overview[edit]

The first film, Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) is set over the course of two years, from 2014 to 2015. Having dropped out of training for the Royal Marines, becoming a stereotypical chav and being arrested for stealing a car, Gary "Eggsy" Unwin's release is arranged by Harry Hart, a Kingsman and his late father's colleague. Hart, a veteran spy of a secret organisation, Kingsman, recruits Eggsy into the agency’s competitive training program as a global threat emerges from a billionaire, Richmond Valentine.[4]

The second film, 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) is set over the course of one week. When Kingsman's headquarters are destroyed, their agents discover an allied spy organisation in the United States, the Statesman. Two secret organisations join together to defeat a common enemy, in order to save the world.[5]

Development[edit]

The concept of a The Secret Service adaptation originated when Mark Millar and Vaughn were at a bar discussing spy movies, lamenting that the genre had become too serious over the years and deciding to do "a fun one."[6] To have the time to make the film, Vaughn had to opt out of directing X-Men: Days of Future Past, which he called "a really tough decision".[6] He reasoned that if he did not do it, "somebody else ... [would] wake up and do a fun spy movie. Then I would have written a bloody screenplay that no one would want to make."[6] Colin Firth joined the cast to lead the film on 29 April 2013.[7] It was initially reported in 2013 that Leonardo DiCaprio was in talks to play a villain,[8] although Vaughn himself later denied that he was ever considered, stating that he came as close to playing the role "as I am to becoming the Pope."[9] Instead the role of the villain went to Samuel L. Jackson, Jackson took the role, in part because of a career long dream to be in a James Bond movie. As he felt that this was unlikely to come true he took on the role stating "I felt like this was an opportunity to play a really great Bond villain.” [10] Jackson's character has a notable lisp, a choice he decided to make based partially on the stutter he had as a kid.[10] In September 2013, Vaughn cast Sophie Cookson for the female lead, preferring a newcomer over more obvious candidates like Emma Watson and Bella Heathcote.[11] Mark Hamill was cast as Professor James Arnold, a reference to his character in the source comic book being himself.[12]

Principal photography began 6 October 2013 in Deepcut, Surrey,[13][14][15] on a budget reported to be one-third of the $200 million budget of Skyfall.[16] The Alexandra Road Estate in Camden[17] was used for Eggsy's home area, and some scenes were filmed at Imperial College London. The Black Prince Pub in Kennington, South London, was used for various fight scenes and the car chase. Savile Row in Mayfair was also employed as a location and the exterior of tailors Huntsman, which provided the clothes and James Lock & Co. in St James's which provided the hats.[18] Elton John was rumoured to have a role in the film,[19][20] although this would prove untrue, John would appear in the film's sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Kingsman: The Secret Service was released in the United Kingdom on January 29, 2015.

Near the release of Kingsman: The Secret Service, Mark Millar and Matthew Vaughn stated that a sequel would be possible if the first film was to perform well at the box office, and Vaughn expressed interest in directing the sequel.[21][22] Vaughn also noted that he had hoped to have Firth back in the sequel, though it was later reported that Firth would not be returning.[23][24]

On 29 April 2015, Fox announced that a sequel was in production, but that it was unclear if Vaughn would return to direct due to his interest in directing a Flash Gordon film.[25] On 11 June 2015, Vaughn told Yahoo that he had begun writing the script for the sequel and that he could be returning to direct.[26] In September 2015, Millar reiterated that the sequel was in development and that Vaughn was looking for ways to bring Firth back without sacrificing the integrity of the story. Later that month, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Egerton had also signed on for the Robin Hood: Origins franchise, which would begin shooting in February 2016; Egerton's schedule was accordingly in conflict with the Kingsman sequel. However, in mid-October, it was confirmed that the scheduling issues had been settled between both studios. Lionsgate plans to begin Robin Hood's production right after Egerton wraps filming on Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which was expected to begin production in April 2016.[27]

On 17 February 2016, it was revealed that Julianne Moore was in negotiations to play the villain role in the film.[28] On 10 March 2016, Halle Berry was cast to play the role of the head of the CIA.[29] Her role later turned out as that of Statesman's tech support. In late March, Vaughn confirmed Berry's and Moore's casting, as well as the title, Kingsman: The Golden Circle. On 8 April 2016, Pedro Pascal was cast in the film as Jack Daniels.[30] On the same day, a promotional poster was released for the film featuring Firth's character's glasses confirming Firth's return for the film;[31] Firth's return was later officially confirmed on 11 July 2016.[32] Channing Tatum confirmed his casting through his Twitter account, while Variety confirmed that Elton John was in talks for a role.[33] In late April, Vaughn talked about writing the sequel, he stated "writing this was the hardest thing I've ever done."[34] Jeff Bridges was added to the cast on 28 May 2016.[35] Vinnie Jones announced on Twitter that he had been cast in a role.[36]

Principal photography on the film began on 15 May 2016 in Birmingham.[37][38][39] Filming also took place in Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden. On 13 September 2016, Kingsman: The Golden Circle completed initial filming.[40] However, additional footage was filmed on location in London in December 2016.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle was originally scheduled for a summer release on June 16, 2017 by 20th Century Fox, but was pushed back from its original release date of June 16, 2017 to October 6, 2017.[41] The film was pushed up from October 6, 2017 to September 22, 2017. The film was given an IMAX release.[42] It eventually opened two days prior in the UK on September 20, 2017.

Future[edit]

Untitled third Kingsman film[edit]

Vaughn, who co-wrote the first two films, stated that he had planned a third Kingsman film, and added that he and co-writer Goldman mapped out the next installment while writing Kingsman: The Golden Circle.[43] In the September 2017 edition of Total Film, Vaughn revealed that his personal choice for the role of the villain in Kingsman 3 is Dwayne Johnson.[44] In June 2018, Vaughan stated that “the third regular Kingsman film” would film back-to-back with prequel film Kingsman: The Great Game, serving as “the conclusion of the Harry Hart-Eggsy relationship,” and that Colin Firth and Taron Egerton would reprise their roles.[45][46]

Kingsman: The Great Game[edit]

In June 2018, Vaughn announced that a prequel film titled Kingsman: The Great Game was in active development, stating that the plot would take place during the early-1900s and will depict the formation of the spy agency, and that the project would film back-to-back with “the third regular Kingsman film”.[45][46]

Statesman[edit]

In an interview with Cinema Blend, Vaughn revealed that a spin-off film of Kingsman: The Golden Circle revolving around the American secret agent organization called Statesman, tentatively titled Statesman, is in early stages of development.[47] In June 2018, Vaughan announced his new film studio along with several films in development including Statesman, confirming that Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges and Halle Berry would reprise their roles in the film.[45]

Animation[edit]

#TBT to That Time Archer Met Kingsman[edit]

On July 20, 2017, FOX released an animated crossover short film between Kingsman and Archer entitled #TBT to That Time Archer Met Kingsman, featuring Eggsy and Sterling Archer.[48] The short was unveiled at the 2017 Comic-Con’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle panel in Hall H, following Eggsy as he discovers Archer to have stumbled into the Kingsman’s secret arsenal hidden in the bespoke suit shop, helping himself to guns and alcohol. Fighting to reclaim the goods, Eggsy challenges Archer to “the most gentlemanly of competitions”: a drinking contest, while planning to kill him with a drugged glass; Archer instead drinks the bottle and passes out. Eggsy, insulted by Archer's behaviour, vows to go to America and "teach them a lesson". Taron Egerton and H. Jon Benjamin respectively reprise their roles as Eggsy Unwin and Sterling Archer.[49]

Television series[edit]

In June 2018, upon announcing his new film studio, Vaughn revealed that an eight-episode Kingsman television series was in early development.[45]

Video game[edit]

In August 2017, it was confirmed that Kingsman: The Golden Circle would have a tie-in game to accompany its release, and that it would be a turn-based match-3 role-playing combat game, released on iOS and Android by the Korean mobile game company NHN PixelCube.[50] The game also includes characters from Kingsman: The Secret Service, and was released globally on 14 September 2017, about a week before the film's release.[51] Unlike the films, the game does not have graphic violence or explicit language, but it is classified a "12+" rating for "mild realistic violence".[52][53] In the days before the film's release, another mobile game based on the Kingsman franchise, simply titled Kingsman: The Secret Service, was announced to be in development also for iOS and Android, by American mobile game developer YesGnome. The game is a hybrid action adventure-construction simulator, where players construct impregnable secret bases, similar to Fallout Shelter, while infiltrating enemy bases in run-and-gun missions based on the plot of at least the first film.[54] The Android version is currently in early access.[55] Both games are free-to-play, offer in-app purchases, and support online player-versus-player multiplayer, with the former game requiring an Internet connection to play.

Several months later after the launch of the tie-in mobile game for Kingsman: The Golden Circle, on April 24, 2018, it was announced that the game's servers will be shut down on May 23, 2018, after "careful consideration" and the game's poor player base.[56] As of that date, YesGnome's Kingsman: The Secret Service is still in development, with the Android version remaining in early access.

Literature[edit]

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: The Official Movie Novelization, the novelization of the 2017 film Kingsman: The Golden Circle, written by Tim Waggoner, was released on September 22, 2017.[57]

Marketing[edit]

Luxury retailer Mr Porter has been a marketing partner of the franchise since the first film, when it worked with costume designer Arianne Phillips to design the bespoke suiting, while everything from the ties and shirts to eyewear, umbrellas, shoes and watches were designed by heritage brands such as Cutler and Gross, George Cleverley, Mackintosh, Bremont, and Adidas Originals. The collaboration is the first of its kind, making Kingsman: The Secret Service the first film from which customers can buy all of the outfits they see.[58][59] On 8 September 2017, Mr Porter opened its first Kingsman shop between Berry Bros. & Rudd and Lock & Co. Hatters on St James's Street in Central London. Both the Kingsman shop and Berry Bros. & Rudd were integral locations for Kingsman: The Golden Circle, while Lock & Co. was featured on the first film.[60]

In May 2017, TAG Heuer partnered with Fox to make the TAG Heuer Connected the official watch of the Kingsman agents.[61] In August 2017, Fox partnered with Old Forester to release a Statesman edition of their 95 proof Bourbon whiskey for the U.S. market.[62] In addition, GlenDronach released a Kingsman Edition 1991 of their Scotch whisky. Director Vaughn cited GlenDronach as his favourite scotch whisky brand, and the distillery used casks from 1991, as it is the fictional year of Eggsy's birth. Only 240 bottles have been allocated to the U.S. market, all of which are signed by Vaughn.[63] In addition, Berry Bros. & Rudd released a Kingsman edition of their No. 3 London Dry Gin.[64] In September 2017, Hard Rock Cafe introduced the "Poppy Burger" in their menu to promote The Golden Circle.[65]

Funko released Pop! Vinyl figures of Harry, Eggsy, Valentine, and Gazelle in 2017.[66]

Cast and crew[edit]

Main cast[edit]

List indicator(s)
  • This table shows the recurring characters and the actors who have portrayed them throughout the franchise.
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's presence in the film has not yet been announced.
  • A Y indicates an appearance as a younger version of a pre-existing character.
  • A C indicates a cameo appearance.
  • A V indicates a voice-only role.
  • An A indicates an appearance through archival footage or audio.
Characters Main films Short film Spin-off film
Kingsman:
The Secret Service
Kingsman:
The Golden Circle
Unitled third
Kingsman film
#TBT to That Time
Archer Met Kingsman
Statesman
2015 2017 TBA 2017 TBA
Gary “Eggsy” Unwin
Galahad
Taron Egerton
Alex NikolovY
Taron Egerton Taron EgertonV TBA
Harry Hart
Galahad
Colin Firth
Crown Princess
Tilde of Sweden
Hanna Alström TBA
Hamish Mycroft
Merlin
Mark Strong
Roxanne “Roxy” Morton
Lancelot
Sophie Cookson
Charles “Charlie” Hesketh Edward Holcroft
Liam Thomas Turgoose
Jamal Tobi Bakare
Morten Lindström Bjørn Floberg
Michelle Unwin Samantha Womack Samantha WomackC
President of the
United States of America
Uncredited actor
(Barack Obama lookalike)
Bruce Greenwood
Richmond Valentine Samuel L. Jackson Samuel L. JacksonA
Gazelle Sofia Boutella Sofia BoutellaA
Chester King
Arthur
Michael Caine
Professor James Arnold Mark Hamill
James Spencer
Lancelot
Jack Davenport
Poppy Adams Julianne Moore
Ginger Ale
Agent Whiskey
Halle Berry TBA Halle Berry[45]
Agent Tequila Channing Tatum Channing Tatum[45]
Champagne
Champ
Jeff Bridges Jeff Bridges[45]
Jack Daniels
Agent Whiskey
Pedro Pascal
Augustin Edmonds
Arthur
Michael Gambon
Elton John Elton John
Clara Von Gluckfberg Poppy Delevingne
Sterling Malory Archer
Duchess
H. Jon BenjaminV

Crew[edit]

Occupation Film
Kingsman:
The Secret Service
Kingsman:
The Golden Circle
Kingsman:
The Great Game
Untitled third Kingsman film
Director Matthew Vaughn
Producer(s) Matthew Vaughn,
David Reid,
Adam Bohling
Writer(s) Jane Goldman,
Matthew Vaughn
Director of photography George Richmond N/A
Editor(s) Eddie Hamilton,
Jon Harris
Eddie Hamilton

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Production budget Ref(s)
United States Outside United States North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America
All time
worldwide
Kingsman: The Secret Service February 13, 2015 (2015-02-13) January 30, 2015 (2015-01-30) $128,261,724 $286,089,822 $414,351,546 450 254 $81 million [67]
Kingsman: The Golden Circle September 22, 2017 (2017-09-22) September 20, 2017 (2017-09-20) $100,234,838 $310,667,824 $410,902,662 699 260 $104 million [68]
Total [69]
$228,496,562 $596,757,646 $825,254,208 $185 million

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Kingsman: The Secret Service 74% (235 reviews)[70] 60 (50 reviews)[4] B+[71]
Kingsman: The Golden Circle 52% (248 reviews)[72] 44 (44 reviews)[73] B+[71]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In newer collected editions of the first volume of the series, the book The Secret Service was renamed after the film adaption Kingsman: The Secret Service and all references to MI6 were replaced by "Kingsman".

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mark Millar Explains How All The Millarworld Books Tie-In Together - Wanted, Kick Ass, Jupiter's Legacy, Superior, Nemesis, MPH, Supercrooks And More - But No News Yet On The Unfunnies (UPDATE) - Bleeding Cool News And Rumors". 6 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Mark Hamill Talks 'Star Wars,' Prepares For 'Secret Service' Role". splashpage.mtv.com. 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  3. ^ Feature: Kingsman: The Big Exit, By Rob Williams with Illustration by Özgür Yildirim - September 7, 2017 - Playboy - Entertainment for All
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  5. ^ "Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved November 22, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Scott, Collura. "MATTHEW VAUGHN TALKS CHOOSING KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE OVER X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, CHANGING THE COMIC, AND BRINGING FUN BACK TO SPY MOVIES". Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
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  41. ^ Relations, Exhibitor (23 November 2016). "KINGSMAN THE GOLDEN CIRCLE has been reassigned to fall duty instead of summer: October 6, 2017 is in, June 16 is out". 
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  44. ^ Total Film - September 2017
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  49. ^ 20th Century Fox (20 July 2017). "#TBT to That Time Archer Met Kingsman" – via YouTube. 
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  51. ^ "Kingsman: The Golden Circle mobile game official website". NHN PixelCube. Retrieved 7 September 2017. 
  52. ^ "Apple App Store listing for Kingsman: The Golden Circle". Apple App Store. Retrieved 14 September 2017. Rating: Rated 12+ for...Frequent/Intense Cartoon or Fantasy Violence [and] Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence. [dead link]
  53. ^ "Google Play Store listing for Kingsman: The Golden Circle". Google Play. Retrieved 14 September 2017. Rating: Rated Teen for Violence. (ESRB) [dead link]
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