“Kingsman” and “X-Men: First Class” director Matthew Vaughn appeared on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast and was surprisingly open when asked about his relationship to a handful of major Hollywood franchises, from James Bond to “Star Wars” and the DC Universe. As a whole, he said the major Hollywood studios have been suffering by prioritizing their wallets.
“The studios, it’s like any artistic form. The music business, movies, fashion… the financing and the commerce has taken over the creative,” Vaughn said. “That always means eventually for short-term gains you do well, but long term you kill everything. That’s what’s happening now… film, music, art. Commerce took over and now the pendulum is starting to swing back. Creativity should always be the driving force of any decision and then you think about how to make money out of it afterwards. If you try to make money upfront, you’ll kill some great franchises.”
For Vaughn, the “Star Wars” franchise is one that has gone in the wrong direction. When asked if it would be tough to turn down an offer to direct a “Star Wars” movie, the filmmaker said, “Now, not so much. For me, doing a ‘Star Wars’ movie is to play with the characters I love. If they said to me they’d reboot ‘Star Wars’ and actually have Luke Skywalker, Solo and Vader and do your version of it. Everyone would say you’re an idiot to try, but that would excite me.”
Vaughn noted that characters such as James Bond and various superheroes are often rebooted with different characters. “Why are the [‘Star Wars’] characters so hallowed that from 1977 you can’t re-do it for a new audience?” he asked.
“‘Star Wars’ is the Skywalker family and that’s where I think they’ve gone wrong. They’ve forgot. They’ve done brilliantly in TV but it needs an epic new film. That’s what I would do [i.e. reboot Luke]. Everyone is going to go batshit crazy but let’s bring it on. If you want a new generation, make the movie for them. The old generation, hopefully you make it well enough that they enjoy it.”
As for the DC Universe, the director said he has been in touch with new studio heads James Gunn and Peter Safran (“we’ve been talking”) but no project is currently on the table. Vaughn did confirm that before the previous DC Universe launched with Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel,” he pitched Warner Bros. on a Superman film trilogy alongside comic book writer Mark Millar.
“Mark and I sat down and plotted out a three film trilogy, pitched it to Warner Bros. before ‘Man of Steel’… we pitched how to do a trilogy of Superman movies and Warners said they weren’t interested,” Vaughn said. “That’s as far as it went.”
Vaughn said his Superman trilogy would’ve harkened back to the tone of Richard Donner’s 1978 “Superman” and included villains such as Lex Luther, Zod and Braniac.
“I think Donner nailed it,” Vaughn said. “‘Wonder Woman’ worked very well because it was basically a Donner/Superman film but reimagined as Wonder Woman. I would’ve done a modern version of Donner. Our big idea was that Krypton doesn’t blow up. It does eventually. The dad was right, but he got his timing wrong. When Superman is grown up, suddenly there’s a mass exodus and all hell breaks loose. That was our main idea.”
Gunn is now reinventing Superman for the big screen with “Superman: Legacy,” but Vaughn still has one suggestion: His “Kingsman” star Taron Egerton would make a fine Lex Luthor. Rumors of Egerton circling the role of Wolverine pop up on social media from time to time, but Vaughn said the actor is better suited for the Superman villain.
“He’d be better as Lex Luthor,” Vaughn said. “He’d be an amazing Luthor. He shouldn’t be Wolverine. I don’t think he’s right for it. You got to really go back to the comic. Hugh is brilliant as Wolverine, but I’d go back to the what the comics are… [he’s] small, grizzly, tough guy. Hugh has made it so iconic that if you go into that version… no. Taron would make an amazing, intelligent villain.”
While the DC Universe remains a possibility for Vaughn, one franchise that is definitely not happening for him is James Bond.
“I’ve got more chance at being cast as Bond then directing Bond,” Vaughn says now about directing a Bond movie. “Ask them, they’re not keen on me… ‘Kingsman’ is my Bond… everything I do in ‘Kingsman’ I would’ve done in Bond.”
Up next for Vaughn is the star-studded meta spy adventure “Argylle,” releasing Feb. 2, 2024, from Apple and Universal Pictures. Watch his full appearance on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast below.