Forget about Jon Snow; I want to know if Harry Hart is alive.

The primary challenge that Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman faced when trying to crack a sequel to their monster hit Kingsman: The Secret Service was what to do about Colin Firth. One of the true pleasures of the first film is seeing Firth burst through the walls of the box that people have put him in as an actor with so much fervor he was like the Kool-Aid Man. He was delightfully violent, and talking to him at Comic-Con the year before it came out, it was clear he was almost giddy about what he got to do in the movie.

Here’s how you know that Vaughn and Goldman have their heads on right as storytellers: if you’re trying to set up a franchise in an overt, mechanical way, then you don’t kill Harry Hart in the first film. But if you’re interested in telling a story that works as a whole in a thematic way, then Hart’s death made perfect sense. Harry was a surrogate father to Eggsy in the first film, and his death is what pushes Eggsy to finally understand the responsibility that has been handed to him. If Harry had been alive during that final assault, Eggsy would not have fought the same way, and it feels like a genuine progression for the character.

As they’ve been working on the sequel’s script, Vaughn’s mentioned several times that he’s trying to figure out how to bring Harry back in some form. He gave enough quotes on it that I lost track of where he landed on the issue. Based on the poster that was released today…

… that question is going to be part of the very fabric of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Which is great news. The film sounds like it’s going to take all the fun things that made up the texture of the first film and push them even further. One of the sadder moments this spring for me as a film fan was the passing of the great Ken Adam. More than anyone else, he was responsible for defining the James Bond aesthetic. I look at the great run of movies he worked on and how clearly an entire generation of filmmakers have borrowed from him, and it is sort of astonishing. The great part is that no one is trying to steal from Adam or pretend that they invented these stylistic touchstones. Filmmaker after filmmaker, people have been blatant about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. I remember an interview I did with Brad Bird about The Incredibles where we discussed, among many other things, the amazing design work on the film, and he spoke about Ken Adam with a marked reverence. Matthew Vaughn is the same way. When he was working on Kingsman: The Secret Service, he talked about how he wanted to pay his respect to the history of Bond films and that particular look and feel. That film certainly doesn’t feel like a simple riff off of Adam’s work, but it’s absolutely built on top of it, and it looks like that tradition will continue based on some of the Kingsman: The Golden Circle artwork that Empire published in their new issue.

Throw in Julianne Moore and Halle Berry as the main villain and the head of the Statesmen, American branch of the Kingsman organization and I’m ready to see this one ASAP. Vaughn’s very particular about sequels, and the idea that he’s excited enough to make this one as his next film has me feeling pretty good about whatever it is we’re going to get.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is due in theaters June 16, 2017.

A respected critic and commentator for fifteen years, Drew McWeeny helped create the online film community as "Moriarty" at Ain't It Cool News, and now proudly leads two budding Film Nerds in their ongoing movie education.