How did Kingsman become The King's Man?
The next installment in writer-director Matthew Vaughn's spy franchise -- after 2014's Kingsman: The Secret Service and the 2017 sequel, The Golden Circle -- is actually a prequel set during World War I. As for the title change-up? "I need to ask him!" actor Harris Dickinson told ET's Ash Crossan backstage at New York Comic-Con 2019. "I honestly don't know..."
The King's Man takes place a century before Taron Egerton's Eggsy would suit up and tells the origin story of the agency itself. Dickinson plays Conrad, son of Ralph Fiennes' Duke of Oxford, aka the titular man of the King. Vaughn describes the movie as a "distant cousin" to the original franchise, hence the similar-but-not-too-similar title.
"We took the brand and just slightly adjusted it," he explained. "We were going to call it Kingsman: The Great Game, but we were worried people would think it was a sequel to Kingsman: The Golden Circle."
Still, expect the full Kingsman experience from The King's Man, albeit with a different flavor. "It's more serious, but it's not boring," Vaughn said. "With all due respect to the Oscar-winning movies of the last 10 years, not many of them are big, epic films that you want to watch again. You think, 'Great film. I'm done with that one.'"
"When I was a kid, whether it was Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, French Connection, this movie called The Man Who Would Be King, they were big epics that were proper films but they weren't boring. They were adventures but they had heart and romance." In fact, Vaughn's personal nickname for The King's Man is The Man Who Would Be Kingsman. "It's time to bring back that genre to a modern audience. Weirdly, the more old fashion we've gone, the more fresh it feels."
To front the prequel and don one of its expertly tailored suits, Vaughn cast Dickinson (soon to be seen in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil). The director warned his star that he would be tasked with performing most of his own stunts -- as many players in the Kingsman franchise have before him -- and Dickinson did just that.
"There's a moment where I carry a soldier on my back," Dickinson remembered. "And there are, like, explosions going off. Obviously, it was well planned and prepped by the stunt department -- who are incredible -- but I was having a moment doing that. That was a spectacle."
"He was very brave, I have to say," Vaughn chimed in. "Those explosions were real, they're not CG."
The King's Man is in theaters Feb. 14, 2020.