Continuing our coverage in the lead-up to this week’s release of the eagerly-anticipated sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle, we sat down with star Colin Firth to chat about the follow-up and his not-so-secret return to the fold as Harry aka Galahad.

Many had anticipated that, despite his apparent death in the first film, Galahad would be amongst the mayhem once more for the sequel. Indeed, Firth says he was unsure of a return as while all the signposts pointed towards dead, there is always ways and means of bringing people back in the film world, saying:

“No, dead was dead. I remember thinking, it was probably my own denial at work, that while no-one ever hinted that dead was anything but dead I remember thinking ‘You haven’t seen me buried, you haven’t seen a close-up, you haven’t seen a death certificate, you haven’t had the last rights!” so was there a door open there? But that was just me and then when the film came out I think Matthew thought that the whole dynamic between me, Taron, Mark and him were a team and that was the material that he wanted to work with again.”

When the first Kingsman arrived in early 2014, many had thought that it would play well in the UK given its obvious similarities to James Bond, but few could have predicted the worldwide success of the film. Except, perhaps, Firth who says he was always hugely optimistic about the film’s chances and told people as much, saying:

“I don’t think I was that surprised. I didn’t really have anything to go on and it wasn’t that I had my fingers crossed praying that it would do better than expected, I just had this assumption that people were going to go for it and that was while I was shooting it. I think I’ve probably had that before and been wrong but I do remember feeling that there’s enough originality, that it was Matthew who was being bold enough, that the ideas were mischievous enough that it just had what it took. And I remember hearing some skepticism in the run-up to it and just thinking ‘You just wait.”

As with the first film, there are stunts and action sequences a-plenty to keep fans happy but for Firth, and many of his cohorts, its the human story between Harry and Eggsy, and by extension Merlin (Mark Strong), that keeps everything together and gives the film its backbone. For Firth, this was key for the sequel so that it didn’t become another cash-in, saying:

“And that was I think that was the strength of this version from my point of view. You’ve got incredible action stuff, beautifully filmed and the music choices Matthew makes are masterful in themselves but I think none of this works, particularly when you’re into that rather dangerous sequel territory, none of it works unless you follow the human story and I think without that thread I think it would be hollow and would just be a lot of fireworks and no content.”

Kingsman: The Golden Circle opens on September 20th.