Following Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox, it was unclear just what the storied studio's role would be going forward. However, at 2019's New York Comic Con, Fox came out in full force, showcasing new footage for two of its upcoming films: The King's Man and Free Guy. The stars and directors of both films were in attendance for a panel hosted by IGN's Terri Schwartz.
The panel began with new footage of The King's Man teasing the various groups that will be involved in the film's upcoming conflict, including the titular spy organization, which will be in its earliest stages. Director Matthew Vaughn then took the stage, poking fun at the difficulty of understanding the Scottish accent in the footage's voice over.
Asked why he wanted to go back in time and do a prequel, he compared the experience to that of X-Men: First Class. “When you’re using characters that are known, it’s sort of hard to do plot twists," he said. "If I kill Professor X off, you’re sort of going to go, what happened? I wanted to do an origin movie that had little to do with the original Kingsmen.”
Talking about the inspiration for the film, he said, "I was watching a lot of the Oscar movies and thinking, I never want to watch any of these movies again.” He then described the movie as a love letter to such classic films as Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and The Man Who Would Be King.
Vaughn then revealed the production "used the same lenses Lawrence of Arabia was shot on. They kept losing focus and falling apart." However, there was an advantage to using this older technology, as they were able to do more work in camera.
A new clip from The King's Man then played, which showed a look at the shop showcased in the first two movies. The clip sees Conrad (Harris Dickinson) and Ralph Fiennes (Duke of Oxford) fitting the former for a suit as the latter discusses the tenacity that allowed their family to gain power and the idea of gentlemanliness, which appeared in the second trailer for the film. Following that clip, Vaughn was joined on stage by Djimon Hounsou, Dickinson and Fiennes.
Fiennes was asked why he decided to join on for The King's Man, and he replied, "I enjoyed the first Kingsman films, and very much respected the clever balance of relationship and action that Matthew established. I thought it was an unusual and original spin on the British spy theme. I was flattered and delighted when Matthew proposed this prequel to the story. I hope that, when you see the film, you will see there is a richness to the way that the Kingsmen intelligence agency started."
Fiennes then talked about the father-son dynamic between the Duke of Oxford and Conrad, saying the two have majorly different perspectives on war. While Conrad is young and wishes to join the armed forces, the Duke of Oxford is "a pacifist" following a family tragedy. More specific details were not given. However, Fiennes added, that "difference of opinion that works its way through the film.”
Dickinson, for his part, called Conrad "a little bit naive," saying his character is at the point where he's learning "to be a man at a time where that’s defined by your ability to go off and fight for a cause.”
The discussion then turned to Djimon, who revealed that he was interested in the base of the story and the history of Europe. He joked that King's Man "was a very painful film to make." However, Djimon praised Vaughn, and the director talked about how the team worked well together.
Towards the close of that portion of the panel, Vaughn revealed Dickinson "cut himself really badly" during filming, but kept filming. The actor remarked that they could use his real blood. Asked whether the scene would make it into The King's Man, Vaughn -- who is currently still editing the movie -- said that the scene is quite dark and did not directly answer the question.
A final clip from the movie was shown. In that footage, Rasputin is attempting to drown the Duke of Oxford when Shola (Djimon Hounsou) and Conrad enter. Shola and Rasputin engage in a sword battle that cuts off abruptly. An alternate version of the second trailer then played. Much of the footage was the same. However, it reveals Conrad batting away a grade thrown at his caravan in Sarajevo, presumably during the attempted assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The grenade explodes the car behind the one in which Conrad is in. There's also extended footage of the fight with Rasputin, and Polly (Gemma Arterton) intervenes towards the end, saving the Duke of Oxford at a critical moment. There's also a scene of the Duke of Oxford falling from a plane.
While these clips played the cast left the stage, and Free Guy director Shawn Levy took their place. Levy explained the movie and that he was still in the early stages. "[Free Guy is] a superhero origin story minus the capes, the tights and the IP," Levy joked. "The movie is very much about Ryan [Reynolds] as Guy learning the full extent of his powers.
Levy then introduced a Meet the Cast clip featuring Ryan Reynolds, Taika Waititi, Jodie Comer and Joe Keery. Keery, Comer, Reynolds, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Lil Rel Howery then joined Levy on stage. Asked about how the project originated, Reynolds said, “Shawn and I wanted to work together for a long time, and we had a couple of near misses."
Reynolds then added that Free Guy is the movie he's been the most excited for since 2016's Deadpool. “I think we live in really weird times right now,” he said. 'It’s like, our top story of the day: it’s the end of the world.” He said he felt some kinship with his character in terms of feeling a bit like a background character in the world.
A still from the film then revealed Levy cameoing as a vendor for a shop called "Hot Nuts." However, the director added the cameo has already been cut out of the film.
Early first look footage from the movie was shown, with Levy emphasizing the movie is only six weeks into editing. The scene takes place at Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer)'s stash house. Guy, at this point in the film, does not know his world is a game. In the scene, he receives his quest: Get from level 1 to 100 by doing good deeds in a game known for people acting terribly.
“It’s very much the journey of the innocent in a deeply cynical world,” Levy said. He then revealed Waititi would be playing a video game publisher named Antoine, who is joked about as the God of that world. Antoine is behind Tsunami Studios, which publishes Free City.
Another clip then played showing Keys (Joe Keery) and Milly (Jodie Comer) discussing Guy, who has by this point in the movie become famous for being a good guy. Keys believes Guy's advancement is the result of code Antoine stole from him and Milly. The latter also reveals that Guy kissed her at some point, which causes something of an existential crisis due to him actually being what Keys describes as an artificial intelligence.
Afterwards, Keery described the movie as "a character piece," while Utkarsh revealed there would be cameos from several prominent gamers in Free Guy, as well as callbacks to the games people love. Levy later confirmed some of those cameos include Ninja, Lazarbeam and Jacksepticeye.
Waitii then appeared via video chat. Reynolds attempted to ask him a question, but Waititi cut him off to express his excitement for the film. However, before the clip closed, Waititi jokingly got up, disconnected his microphone and started saying mean things about those on stage.
As the panel wrapped up, Levy showed an exclusive first trailer. Beginning with a joke about the Disney live-action remakes, the trailer introduced Guy and his everyday life as a bank teller in the chaotic Free City. Eventually, Guy fights back, choosing to disarm and shoot a robber, who is in reality the avatar of a player. He then takes the character's glasses -- which serve as a heads-up display. Several action sequences are teased, including one in which Molotov Molly and Guy escape on a motorcycle through a glass window.
Directed by Shawn Levy, Free Guy stars Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Taika Waititi. It is scheduled to be released July 2020.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn, The King's Man stars Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Brühl, Djimon Hounsou and Charles Dance. The film is slated to release February 2020.