Warning: major spoilers ahead for Argylle.
Legend has it that if you have more than a handful of films under your belt, they will inevitably all end up connecting in some kind of extended universe. There’s the MCU and the DCEU, naturally, and then connective tissue between everything from Godzilla to Fast & Furious to the upcoming Mattel Cinematic Universe.
It’s no surprise, then, that Matthew Vaughn, the maximalist action auteur behind the Kingsman franchise, who never met a fist or a gun he didn’t want to attach a camera to, has decided to finally link up his back catalogue with a winking post-credits scene in his latest film Argylle.
To understand the MVCU (Matthew Vaughn Cinematic Universe), you’ll first have to understand Argylle, which is a more complex feat than you’d expect. Argylle follows Ellie Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard), a spy novelist responsible for a series of hugely popular books revolving around a suave super spy called Agent Argylle (Henry Cavill). The books depict the world of covert geopolitics so realistically that Ellie finds herself hounded by two secret spy organizations—one (headed up by a hammy Bryan Cranston) that wants to use her seemingly prophetic knowledge for villainous gain, and one (anchored by Sam Rockwell and Samuel L. Jackson) that wants to use Ellie to take down said antagonistic agency.
At the film’s midpoint, everything spins on its head. It turns out that Ellie, the shy and insecure cat-person author, is actually the real agent Argylle (her actual name is Rachel Kylle—R. Kylle, get it?), but all of her memories have been wiped after being brainwashed by Cranston and Catherine O’Hara. Her novels parallel real covert ops because she’s unknowingly writing memories from her subconscious, and the villainous organization, called ‘The Division’ in her books, is hoping she’ll eventually catch up to the last mission she conducted—locating a USB drive with a list of all of the agents currently working for the real Division—so that they can intercept it.
At the end of Argylle, the Division has been uncovered and vanquished, naturally, and Rachel (still going by “Ellie”), has combined her two lives into some kind of spy-author mash-up. A happy ending! But, as Marvel and DC films have conditioned us to stay planted in our seats until the midway point of the credits, that’s not the end of the story.
Argylle‘s post-credits scene opens on a pub called The King’s Man, which is less of a wink and more of a light-up arrow pointing directly to Vaughn’s massively popular series of Kingsman films, including 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, 2017’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle and 2021’s prequel extension The King’s Man.