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The British actor lived off chicken and doughnuts while preparing for action-comedy sequel ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle.’
USA TODAY

NEW YORK — His suits are snazzier and his gadgets are flashier, but Gary Unwin is still the same old “Eggsy.” 

Everything and nothing has changed for the playfully nicknamed street-kid-turned-superspy when he returns in Kingsman: The Golden Circle (in theaters Friday), which arrives two years after Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service scored a box-office slam dunk with $128.3 million. 

When the sequel picks up, Eggsy is forced to team with Statesman, the American counterpart to British intelligence agency Kingsman, after his fellow spies are killed by Poppy (Julianne Moore), a diabolical drug lord. Meanwhile, the cheeky secret agent is still reeling from the presumed death of his mentor, Harry Hart (Colin Firth), whom he later learns survived a shot to the face. 

Harry is the “Obi-Wan Kenobi figure to someone who didn’t have anyone to guide him out of this dark place,” says Taron Egerton, 27, who broke through in Secret Service and voiced a character in last year’s animated Sing. After the first Kingsman, “that relationship (with Harry) felt like it was cut short. It felt like there were more daddy issues to be resolved.” 

Eggsy is a more experienced spy this go-around, exchanging blows with a failed Kingsman applicant in a dizzying opening car chase, and fending off Poppy’s henchmen and robotic dogs with a machine-gun briefcase. His upward trajectory mirrors that of Star Wars Jedi Luke Skywalker. 

“They’re very similar in a lot of ways,” Vaughn says. “The franchise is really the journey of Eggsy. We’d love to make one more where his journey gets to the final destination and this is definitely the middle chapter.”

The stylish Golden Circle throws a slew of new players into the ring, with Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry and Channing Tatum joining the cast as members of the whiskey-swilling, lasso-swinging Statesman. 

Secret Service tapped into the iconography of debonair English gentlemen like Roger Moore’s James Bond, and Kingsman’s cowboy-like counterparts are “just an extension of that,” Egerton…