Matthew Vaughn’s new spy romp Argylle delights in crashing two fictional layers together: The world of spy novelist Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) and the world inhabited by her creation, the James Bond-like Aubrey Argylle (Henry Cavill), blend into each other until audiences don’t know what’s real and which way is up. There’s also the fact that the movie is reportedly inspired by a novel written by a real author called Elly Conway. If you sat through the movie and you’re still confused on a few points, you aren’t alone.
We’re here to help you sort out a few things, including what future the Argylle franchise has, whether it has any connections to Vaughn’s Kingsman movies, and the implications of its post-credits scene.
Does Argylle have a post-credits scene?
Yes! In the mid-credits slot, before the full credits roll, we get what appears to be a teaser for a sequel… sort of. It’s complicated.
A title card informs us that the scene is set 20 years earlier than the movie we’ve just watched. It’s shot in black and white. A young, dark-haired man enters a country pub called The King’s Man, a pointed reference to Vaughn’s series of Kingsman movies. He goes up to the barman and asks for a “cosmopolitan with a twist.” The barman scoffs, saying his establishment isn’t a cocktail bar or a nightclub.
The young man answers: “Hold the Cointreau. And the cranberry juice. And the vodka. Just the twist.” It’s a silly line, perhaps mocking James Bond’s famously fastidious “shaken, not stirred” order — but it’s also code. The barman hands the young man a fancy box containing a pistol and asks the young man’s name. He reveals that he’s Aubrey Argylle — the character from Elly Conway’s books, played by Henry Cavill in the movie.
“Argylle: Book One — The Movie — Coming Soon,” reads text on the screen.
Is Argylle getting a sequel, then?
I told you this would be complicated.
Because Elly Conway — Bryce Dallas Howard’s character in Argylle — is an author who writes spy fiction about Aubrey Argylle, this scene could just be an in-joke: a trailer for a movie that exists in Argylle’s fictional universe, adapted from the fictional Elly’s fictional book.
But! Elly Conway is also a real author (perhaps — more on that later) who wrote a real book called Argylle (which you can buy) that supposedly inspired the movie. So this could be a trailer for a real movie adaptation of that book. A straight adaptation, rather than the Argylle movie we have, which is a metafictional take on it that uses some of the characters and turns the author into a character herself.
It turns out that this is the plan, according to Vaughn — if he gets the green light from Apple and Universal to make more Argylle movies. He doesn’t have that green light yet.
“That would be nice, but that’s up to the audience, it’s not up to us,” Vaughn told Polygon after a London screening of the movie. “The plan — touch wood, touch wood — would be Book One, which is written and selling. The book didn’t write itself, you know. […] It’s a really good book.”
Are there franchise plans beyond that? Yes! Vaughn, in typically mischievous style, plans to follow Argylle: Book One with a third movie that would actually be Argylle 2. Are you following this?
“So [after] Book One, then we would definitely do Argylle 2 the movie, which continues with the characters and the meta craziness,” Vaughn said. Presumably that means this third film would return to the world of the fictional Elly Conway and Sam Rockwell’s “real-world” spy, Aidan. “We’ve got some really fun ideas for that. And if we pull both of those off, then who knows what’s next?”
Will Henry Cavill play Argylle in the sequel?
The use of the young actor in the post-credits scene might raise questions about whether the role of Aubrey Argylle will be recast for the possible Argylle: Book One — The Movie. The book deals with Argylle’s origins as a spy, and at the start, the character is described as being in his early 20s. (Cavill is 40.)
Cavill, for one, hopes he’ll still be in the role in the next film. “I hope so,” he told Polygon in an interview. “A recast of Argylle would be a fairly profound statement against me! In an ideal world, that would not be a voluntary departure on my part.”
But perhaps Cavill is talking about Argylle 2, and not Argylle: Book One. Or perhaps he’s got the two potential follow-up movies mixed up, and who could blame him?
Who wrote the Argylle book? Was it Taylor Swift? And is the movie really based on the book?
Argylle was initially announced as an adaptation of a novel by first-time novelist Elly Conway, but questions about its authorship were first raised by The Hollywood Reporter in 2022 when the publication found it was unable to verify her existence. Suspicions were further aroused when it turned out that Elly would be a character in the movie. There was even a popular conspiracy theory that the books’ real author was pop star Taylor Swift, due to a number of coincidences, including the breed of Elly’s cat in the movie being the same as Swift’s. (And no, in case you’re wondering, Taylor Swift is not in Argylle, though Dua Lipa is.)
Vaughn has categorically denied the Swift connection in interviews, and maintains that there is a real Elly Conway. However, the film does not carry an “adapted from” credit, with the only writing credit going to screenwriter Jason Fuchs. It seems possible that the book was written after or alongside the movie, partly as a marketing ploy and partly as material for future potential sequels. Is Elly Conway a pseudonym for Fuchs, Vaughn himself, or another ghostwriter?
Asked by Polygon which came first, the book or the movie, Vaughn stuck to his story, but in a manner that’s open to interpretation.
“They were born at the same time,” he said. “Literally, really. What the movie came out of, really, was watching Romancing the Stone with my daughters. And they said, ‘Well, you should make a movie like this, please, for us.’ Then I got a script. And then I got a manuscript. And then the whole thing just merged together in this sort of very meta universe. And then I got really excited about doing something different, and taking what I call fictional fantasy spies, realistic real spies, and then having an author in the middle where the worlds just collide. And then a new illusion appears.”
Vaughn points out that he’s no stranger to developing adaptations in this unusual, synchronous way. “I did the same thing with Kick-Ass. Literally the same thing. Mark Millar and I were writing… Well, he was technically writing the comic, and we [Vaughn and co-screenwriter Jane Goldman] were writing the script… For me, this is actually quite normal. But other people are like, What are you doing?”
Is Argylle set in the same universe as the Kingsman movies?
Is the name of the pub in the post-credits scene — The King’s Man — just an Easter egg nodding to Vaughn’s three Kingsman movies? Or does it imply that Argylle exists in the same universe as the fictional secret service of smartly dressed, very violent spies run out of a Savile Row tailors shop?
“Well, they both exist in my head, so that is the universe!” Vaughn joked to Polygon, before hinting that there may be a further link. “I will say that Argylle wears very well-cut suits. That’s all I’ll say for the time being.”
In fact, Vaughn has previously suggested that he might link Argylle with Kingsman and a third, unnamed franchise in an overarching cinematic universe of spies. In October 2023, he told the Happy Sad Confused podcast: “There is a universe, and what we’re trying to do with Marv [Vaughn’s production company] is sort of, as Marvel is to superheroes, we want to be to spies as well. So we’ve got Kingsman on the right, Argylle’s on the left, and then we’ve got an idea for something in the middle as well. Then you’ve got these sort of competing franchises in a galaxy that, one day, might meet.”