The future of the Kingsman movie series may be in trouble, as screenwriter R. Spencer Balentine is suing Fox claiming that Kingsman: The Secret Service was based on his screenplay and not the comic book series from Mark Millar.
"The Film is purported to be based on a comic book series originally entitled The Secret Service, first published in 2012 by Icon Comics (a division of Marvel) and written by Mark Millar," a complaint from attorney Steven Lowe reads. "However, several key aspects of the Film do not appear in The Secret Service comic that do appear in [Balentine's] Screenplay; for example, in the comic, there is no reference to Knights of the Round Table, no small dog companion to the protagonist, no use of holograms, and the general theme of the comic is about public service rather than an individual overcoming humble origins to achieve greatness."
Balentine claims he entered his script, titled "The Keepers," into a screenwriting contest in 2004, earning itself a spot in the top 10 scripts of the contest. The placement in the contest allowed Dabel Brothers Productions the opportunity to develop the script into a comic book series, and with Dabel and Marvel entering a publishing and distribution agreement in 2006, Marvel would have been granted access to his script when developing the first film.
The screenwriter is seeking $5 million in damages, citing that the film borrows from his script's narrative, character traits and themes that didn't appear in Millar's book.
The outcome of the lawsuit could complicate the future of the Kingsman series, which is already facing complications.
Disney announced that it would be acquiring a majority of 21st Century Fox's movie and TV properties, which would include the Kingsman franchise. Given the franchise's embrace of sex, violence and profanity, the idea of Disney moving forward with a third film seems unlikely, yet not impossible.
Millar himself took to Twitter to share his disappointment with the merger when the news broke.
"Good for Disney, bad for Fox as extra levels of bureaucracy creep into creative," Millar shared. "Also bad for talent as agents have one less studio bidding for projects. I see zero upside to this, beautiful gambles like Deadpool never happening at Disney."
Stay tuned for details on the future of the Kingsman franchise.
[H/T The Hollywood Reporter]