Following COVID-19-related delays, the Kingsman franchise will be launching its third series installment later this year – but it isn't a traditional sequel. Instead of continuing the story of Taron Egerton's Gary 'Eggsy' Unwin and Colin Firth's Harry Hart, Matthew Vaughn's The King's Man is instead a prequel that takes audiences back to the early years of the 20th century and play out a story that will serve as a kind of origin story for the eponymous organization. Beyond that, the future for the movies isn't entirely... but if it only takes one voice to see the stories continue with the original cast involved, let it be known that Mark Strong is definitely on board.
Strong is been doing press rounds as of late promoting the release of Cruella – which is now in theaters and available for Premier Access on Disney+ – and outlets have been taking opportunities to ask about his future with various franchises. He recently told CinemaBlend that he won't be back playing Dr. Sivana in Shazam!: Fury Of The Gods, but it was while speaking with JoBlo that he commented on his potential future playing Merlin in another Kingsman film. Said the actor,
I don't know. I would love to because I love making those movies. I thought that triumvirate — that collection of me, Colin, and Taron, was a great little gang. I was quite sad, I think as were a lot of people, when he comes to his dynamic end, shall we say, at the end of the second one.
For those who don't quite remember the details of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the "dynamic end" to which Mark Strong is referring is the fact that Merlin doesn't actually survive the adventure in that film. Instead, the character opts to both sacrifice himself for his comrades and go out in a blaze of glory – doing so while singing "Country Roads" by John Denver (his professed favorite song).
You may now be asking yourself, "If Merlin is dead, what exactly is it that we're talking about here?" Well, as you may also remember from the first two movies, death isn't necessarily always super permanent in the world of Kingsman. Audiences watched Harry Hart take a bullet in the eye at near point blank range in the first movie, and that was a case where we actually saw the body hit the ground. In Kingsman: The Golden Circle, there is certainly the strong implication that Merlin is blown into a million pieces, but you don't actually see it happen. This is presumably done because it would have been gratuitous to show a heroic character annihilated in such a way, but it does keep a door open.
The problem with bringing yet another character back from the dead is that the series would effectively kill any stakes going forward (if nobody important can die, who cares?), but there are plenty of other ways that a Kingsman sequel could bring Mark Strong back. Flashbacks are always a possibility, not to mention pre-recorded videos. Hell, this is a franchise that is just goofy/spoofy enough to pull off a "this is his twin brother" bit.
We'll have to wait and see if a fourth movie winds up happening, but for now fans can spend time anticipating the third chapter. The King's Man, which stars Ralph Fiennes, Harris Dickinson, Gemma Arterton, Matthew Goode, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Daniel Bruhl, Stanley Tucci, and Djimon Hounsou, will hit theaters on December 22.