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The Unexpected Impact Wonder Woman And 1917 Had On The King’s Man

Looking back on the recent history of Hollywood war movies, World War II tended to be the conflict favored by the marketplace. It made sense, as not only did you have Hollywood creatives and actors partaking in that war first hand, but in the ensuing decades, it was the major world conflict freshest in the minds of the populace. That trend started to change in the past couple of years, with World War I making a sort of comeback at the movies. 

Strangely enough, while co-writer/director Matthew Vaughn had the idea to go back to that era in The King’s Man before most of his competitors, scheduling shuffles and world events led to an unexpected impact from films like Wonder Woman and 1917 seemingly influencing the film’s profile.

How Wonder Woman And 1917 Unexpectedly Impacted The Release Of The King’s Man

Speaking on behalf of CinemaBlend during the press day for The King’s Man, I mentioned how this moment in combat history has been kind of popular as of late. That naturally led to the subject of how the prequel to the Kingsman saga found itself bridging an interesting gap when it came to basing its story around World War I. As an unfortunate side-effect of the several pre and mid-pandemic delays, Matthew Vaughn shared the following feelings while chatting with me: 

Oh don’t even get me started, because when we… we’ve shot this three years ago, and conceived it maybe five years ago. So our biggest fear was, would anyone have any interest in World War I, or know what it is, or have any context? Now I’m like… well, we look like we’re following the line. Which is not the way I like to be in life, I like to try and lead the line. But anyway, we did lead it, but we fell over, and now we’re at the back of the line.

It’s a unique pair of problems to have when talking about the same movie. Originally slated as a 2019 release, The King’s Man would have found itself sandwiched between 2017’s Wonder Woman and the competition of Sam Mendes’ 1917, which was released in December 2019. Audiences’ literacy pertaining to the conflict would have been better than before, with Ralph Fiennes’ Duke of Oxford fitting in with Diana of Themyscira and Lance Corporal Will Schofield, respectively. Had that plan stayed in place, it probably would have kept Matthew Vaughn closer to the head of the line; especially since all three movies have pivotal action sequences in No Man's Land.

Why Did The King’s Man Fall To “The Back Of The Line”?

Two huge events would push The King’s Man into that proverbial “back of the line,” and the first was the closure of the Disney/Fox merger. A huge scheduling reshuffle had to be executed because of these two corporate entities becoming one, which is presumably why the movie was shifted throughout the board into 2020 release dates. That fate put the third entry in the overall Kingsman Cinematic Universe into the path of world events, which saw the COVID-19 pandemic dictating several shifts through 2021’s calendar as well.

By this point, audiences at large could mistake The King’s Man for following the trends set by the movies that came before it. However, there’s one more piece of information that helps boost Matthew Vaughn’s claims of being ahead of the curve. Without going into too much detail, the lore laid out in 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service ensured that a World War I prequel was a necessity, should Vaughn or any involved party want to move backwards in the story of that universe. That timing also lines up with Vaughn’s five year figure, as it’s been six years since the Kingsman franchise has been a fixture in theaters. 

Fulfilled in the story of The King’s Man, the origins of the Kingsman Agency are now cemented, ready to laid down the path between the past and the future of the overall story. Just as before, Matthew Vaughn has a plan for where he wants things to go, with the will of the fans deciding whether it happens or not. Should this prequel experiment work out, the history of espionage between World War II and the modern era will be the foundation for a parallel franchise that can run alongside the adventures of Harry and Eggsy. 

The King’s Man is almost upon us, with opening day starting on Wednesday, December 22. Though that’s not the only post-Spider-Man: No Way Home option that you’ll have to enjoy in theaters, which you can see if you research the final month of 2021’s release schedule. So line up your holiday viewing schedule accordingly, and remember: manners maketh moviegoing. 

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.