Following the unexpected but thrilling success of the first installment in the Kingsman franchise, fans were clamoring for a sequel. After about a three year wait, Kingsman: The Golden Circle finally hits theaters this coming Friday. In this film, The Kingsman team up with their American counterparts “The Statesman” after the destruction of the Kingsman headquarters.
Merlin (Mark Strong) and Eggsy (Taron Egerton) travel to the United States to work with the Statesman, lead by Agent Champagne or “Champ” (Jeff Bridges) to take down a criminal organization called “The Golden Circle” lead by a new villain named “Poppy” (Julianne Moore). The film also features the mysterious return of Harry Hart (Colin Firth) who appeared to be shot and killed point blank in the head by Richmond Valentine in the first film.
We had the chance to speak with Dave Gibbons, co-creator of the Kingsman comics with Mark Millar, about all things Kingsman and the release of The Golden Circle. He promises that the sequel has all of the elements that we loved so much about the first one, the action, the contrast between characters, and Eggsy’s poor working class background, but so much more than that as well. As he says, “As a sequel it’s not just another helping of the same dish. It’s easily just as good as the first film if not even better.”
He also addressed the surprising return of Colin Firth as Harry Hart, the manor of who’s resurrection is probably the biggest question on every Kingsman fan’s mind. In the comics, the character of Harry Hart known as Uncle Jack, is killed off and gone forever with no doubt as to whether or not he survived.
Gibbons said he was dubious about Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman bringing him back at first, but his doubts were assuaged when he saw the end result, “When I saw the way that Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman did it, it just completely convinced me and made sense. I think that it plays out in a very very interesting and amusing and at times a quite scary way, and I must admit to having my doubts, but they were completely assuaged.”
We then discussed the new addition of The Statesman to the Kingsman universe. After I asked about the inspiration behind the comics, Gibbons told me that it was originally going to be set in the United States under the title of “Uncle Sam”. I asked if this first setting could have been the inspiration for the Statesman organization in The Golden Circle. Gibbons said he hadn’t made that connection, but he would have to ask Matthew Vaughn and Mark Millar if that was the case when he saw them next.
The interaction between the Kingsman and Statesman is sure to be a highlight of the new film, as Gibbons discusses the dynamic of the relationship between the two agencies, “In the second movie it really works so well, because not only have we got the English class system played against itself, but we’ve got the kind of English reserve, you know poshness, played against the kind of down home American characters, which provides a kind of three-way playoff of characteristics.”
This also gave us the opportunity to talk about his connection to the characters of Kingsman like Eggsy. He said that both he and Mark came from poorer, middle class at best, backgrounds that served as inspiration for Eggsy’s lower class origin and allowed them to explore the dynamics of the English class system within the story.
He also relayed his experience of visiting the set during the first Kingsman movie, which filmed at a studio about 8-10 miles from where he lives. Taron Eggerton and Samuel L. Jackson were on set that day, “I’ve always loved Sam Jackson’s work, and it was an absolute thrill to get to meet him, and he was every bit as gracious and cool as you would expect. We saw the behind the scenes stuff of how the effects work and the different vehicles and gadgets they’ve got, the kind of tricked out taxi cabs and stuff, so it was a brief but very enjoyable experience.
I finished the interview with one last question about the incredible action sequence of the church scene with Colin Firth in the first film, and if there was a scene that was comparable in the sequel. Gibbons had this to say, “There are certainly moments that will make you go, I can’t believe I’m seeing this! Which of course you have to have. I can’t think of anything that is a precise equivalent slaughter, but there’s wonderful action sequences in it and the bad guys certainly suffer, so I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by the action sequences.”
In addition to Kingsman, I also had the opportunity to ask him about Doctor Who, as he was the lead artist on the comic strip in the magazine Doctor Who Weekly/Monthly during the 1980’s for a number of issues. As a kid he said he remembers doing the classic thing of, if not hiding behind the couch, at least making sure the lights were on whenever he watched it. Tom Baker and Peter Davison were the two Doctors he drew in the comic strip, so he got to know them quite well on screen, and also met them both. Peter Davison was even kind enough to pose for reference shots for his drawings. He said he has fallen away from the show more recently, but still keeps a distant eye on it.
I was curious to hear his opinion on the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor, and this was his response, “I think to have Jodie Whittaker is a fantastic idea. It’s long overdue that we change from the white male stereotype. It makes me smile because it’s the old thing when you say the word Doctor you think of a man, and when you say the word nurse you think of a woman, which of course isn’t the case at all now, and it’s good that it isn’t the case in science fiction as well.”
If Kingsman: The Golden Circle is just as incredible as the first film, and everything that Dave Gibbons makes it out to be, Kingsman fans are in for a wonderful treat.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle hits theaters this Friday, September 22nd.