Now and Then

Argylle's Beatles Easter Egg Could Be The Key To Its Biggest Twist

Okay, what if we've got the twist backward?

Originally Published: 
Bryce Dallas Howard in 'Argylle.'

Despite multiple twists and turns, the vast majority of the new meta-fictional spy-comedy (romance?) Argylle makes sense. At least, that is, until the mid-credits scene. After several twists about the nature of the story, and what’s real and what’s not, Argylle connects itself to another cinematic espionage universe and seems to tease a sequel that blends this fictional world with another.

But, earlier in the film, there might be another Easter egg which foreshadows an even bigger twist. And if this theory is correct, maybe the meta-fiction is even weirder than it seems. Spoilers ahead for Argylle.

Argylle mid-credits scene explained

Aidan (Sam Rockwell) and Ellie (Bryce Dallas Howard) live happily ever after. Or do they?


So, after the primary twist of the movie has been resolved — that Ellie Conway (Bryce Dallas-Howard) is really Rachel Kyle, an amnesiac agent who was writing spy thrillers based on her past missions — the fictional world of Argylle (Henry Cavill), seems to be firmly locked-up within the meta-fiction. Ellie was really Rachel, but even with her brainwashed memories re-integrated, the movie ends with the suggestion that she retains the Ellie persona outwardly, mostly to write one last Argylle novel.

But then, after the world of Ellie and Aiden (Sam Rockwell) closes, we get a mid-credits scene, taking place at a pub called “The King’s Man.” Matthew Vaughn, the director of Argylle is also the creator of The Kingsman franchise. So, right away, the suggestion is that this scene connects Argylle to The Kingsman. In the scene, a bartender (Ben Daniels) seems to give a young assassin (Louis Partridge) his first secret assignment. Then, it turns out this young guy is Argylle. This fact, combined with Henry Cavill appearing at Ellie’s book launch in the final scene of the movie creates several questions that the bulk of the movie seems to have already resolved.

In other words, Cavill’s appearance at the end, and the mid-credits scene which follows seem to undo the idea that Argylle was only fiction. If the person Argylle is real, then what about the world of Ellie? The movie doesn’t make it clear but does promise that a movie version of Argylle himself is coming, which, seems to be a kind of Kingsman spinoff. So, does that mean Kingsman is fiction that exists inside of Ellie’s universe?

Well, maybe. According to director Matthew Vaughn, the movie that is teased is an adaptation of the first in-universe book that Ellie wrote. So, that would imply Ellie also, sort of, invented the Kingsman universe too. Here’s what Vaughn told Slashfilm: “...tease is the word, and it's more about: ‘Hey, you know what? If everybody goes and buys tickets to these movies and makes it into a hit, there's a lot more ingredients that we want to play with and make some more fun, tasty movies for them.’ But we need them to buy into the first one first.”

“Now and Then” Beatles song in Argylle

John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1968.

Penske Media/Penske Media/Getty Images

Still, all this gets a bit weirder when we think about the Beatles. Throughout the film, the Beatles song “Now and Then” is used frequently, even to the point of being rearranged as orchestral incidental music. As the movie goes on, we learn that this song was one that Aiden and Rachel loved when they were falling for each other. Cue the record scratch sound. What? How can any couple have “Now and Then” be their favorite Beatles song?

The quality of “Now and Then” aside, this simply doesn’t make sense chronologically. “Now and Then” is a new Beatles song, which is thought to be the last of the posthumous John Lennon-led vocal recordings that will be released as “a Beatles song.” It came out on November 2, 2023, in our world, only three months prior to the release of Argylle. Because five years pass within the narrative of the movie (that’s how long it takes for Ellie to become a bestselling author of FOUR novels) this seems to imply that the film either takes place in the future or some kind of alternate timeline. Why? Because “Now and Then” can only be a couple’s song if they’ve had more time to love it. So, Rachel and Aiden either exist in a parallel dimension in which “Now and Then” was actually recorded and released by the Beatles much earlier, or they exist in some kind of unspecified near-future.

What does this have to do with the Kingsman’s reveal in the mid-credits scene? Perhaps nothing. But if Ellie invented both Argylle and the Kingsman universe, then both of those universes seem to operate on alternate pop culture timelines. In fairness all fiction kind of does this; changes our timeline by populating it with fictional people.

But, why use this Beatles song — a song that was created across time — so prominently in the movie unless there’s some kind of suggestion of a totally parallel world?

Vaughn may not have intended this to be the case, but as it stands “Now and Then” is an even bigger smoking gun than the ending of the film, and the mid-credits scene. Because if Ellie’s world features an alternate version of the Beatles' chronology, then everything about her reality suddenly feels like a cracked mirror.

Argylle is out in theaters now.

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