Refuting a recent report, director Matthew Vaughn reveals that Liam Neeson is not in the upcoming Kingsman prequel film. Based on the comic book series The Secret Service by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar, the original Kingsman came out in 2014 and went on to gross a surprising $414 million at the global box office. The franchise continued with 2017's Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which was also a solid hit with $410 million globally.
Having proven its franchise clout with two hit films, the Kingsman universe is set to expand with both a sequel bringing back Taron Egerton as Eggsy and a prequel film previously reported to be entitled The Great Game. The prequel reportedly will be set during the World War I era and will explore the origins of the Kingsman organization. The prequel film's confirmed cast includes Ralph Fiennes, Stanley Tucci, Rhys Ifans, Daniel Bruhl, Matthew Goode, Harris Dickinson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Gemma Arterton, Tom Hollander, Robert Aramayo, Djimon Hounsou and Charles Dance.
Recently, it was also reported that grizzled action hero Liam Neeson was joining the cast of the Kingsman prequel film, but now it appears that news was premature. Speaking to Screen Rant about the upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman, upon which he acted as a producer, Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn said Neeson has not in fact been cast in the prequel. "I was also reading last week that Liam Neeson is in it and he isn't," Vaughn said, adding, "'Liam Neeson's in it.' Jesus, not the last time I checked."
Neeson of course has lately been the subject of controversy due to an interview earlier this year in which he admitted that, as a young man, he responded to the rape of a female friend by, in his own words "looking for a black person to kill." Neeson later tried to clarify his remarks after understandably coming under fire for his incendiary admission, insisting he is not racist but simply gave in to primal urges as a young man. It's not known if Neeson actually lost any work due to the controversy, and indeed he is still set to appear in Men In Black International later this summer.
Vaughn's strong denial of Neeson's involvement in the Kingsman prequel could mean Neeson was set to be in the film but no longer is after becoming radioactive due to his questionable interview, or it's possible Neeson was never in the movie at all and someone just got their report wrong. With or without Neeson, the cast for the prequel is loaded and fans of the Kingsman series will no doubt be excited to see how the mysterious and quirky spy organization originally got its start.