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Argylle's Ending Explained: Who Is the "Real" Agent Argylle?

"The greater the spy, the bigger the lie," and Argylle, now in theaters, is a mystery box filled to the brim with great spies and even bigger lies.

By Caitlin Busch
A woman holds Henry Cavill's head and whispers in his ear in Argylle (2024).

This story contains spoilers for Argylle.

Director Matthew Vaughn's latest spy caper Argylle centers around one major question: Who is the real Agent Argylle? Theories abounded, ranging from likely to downright hilarious.

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Maybe the suave "Agent Argylle" as played by Henry Cavill (The WitcherMan of Steel) is more than a fictional character in in-world author Elly Conway's (Bryce Dallas Howard; Jurassic World franchise) novel. Maybe it's Aidan (Sam Rockwell; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Jojo Rabbit), the "real" spy who reveals to Elly that her novels are more aligned with reality than she ever knew. Or, hey, maybe it's Elly's cat, Alfie (played by Vaughn's daughter's cat, Chip), who's featured heavily in the film's promotional material!

(That the movie is based on the work of the mysterious real-life author Elly Conway — whose identity remains unknown with theories about who she is ranging from Taylor Swift to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling — only added to the intrigue.)

But, as the movie is fond of reminding its audience, "the greater the spy, the bigger the lie," and Argylle is a mystery box filled to the brim with great spies and even bigger lies.

Bryce Dallas Howard holds a book at a table in front of a background of purple and yellow argyle in Argylle (2024).

Who is the "real" Agent Argylle?

Argylle's big twist reveals that author Elly Conway (Howard) herself is the "real" Argylle.​

Halfway through the movie, Aidan and Alfie (not the cat but former CIA director Alfred Solomon, played by Samuel L. Jackson) reveal to anxiety-ridden Elly that she was once a top agent named Rachel Kyle (R. Kyle ... Argylle ... get it?). After a mission gone wrong in which Kyle was injured and lost her memories, the evil Director Ritter (Bryan Cranston) and Catherine O'Hara's psyops doctor approach her pretending to be her parents. They brainwash her into forgetting her past life and provide her with a new identity: mild-mannered waitress Elly Conway, who's always dreamt of being a writer. They provide her with spare details from her previous life and — presto! — she writes a series of novels based on her previous adventures.

Their goal, ultimately, is to learn about the location of a secret file that has world-ending consequences. Only Agent Kyle knew where it was, and if they can get Elly to write about it and tell them, then The Division will get to it before the good guys, Aidan and Alfie (again, not the cat).

A cat peers out of the window of it's carrier in Argylle (2024).

Throughout the film, Elly sees super impressions of her "Argylle" character (Cavill) over first Aidan and then herself as she slowly regains her memories. Soon enough, she's throwing down with the best of them and going toe-to-toe with her (surprise!) one true love, Aidan. It turns out that the novels she was writing as Elly were really just the real-life adventures that she (Cavill's Argylle), Aidan (John Cena's Wyatt), and Ariana DeBose's Keira (who is the same in both the fictional "memories" and real life) took on before her amnesia. 

Who's the woman on the boat who saves Rachel and Aidan?

Henry Cavill, Ariana DeBose, and John Cena speed away on a boat while an explosion takes place in the background in Argylle (2024).

DeBose's Keira makes a twist reappearance in the final showdown. When O'Hara's evil doctor activates a sleeper agent-style code in Rachel and forces her to fight Aidan, it seems like all hope is lost — Aidan stops fighting because he refuses to hurt Rachel. However, before brainwashed Rachel delivers the final blow, a masked figure appears and takes the doc out, breaking the music box that activated Rachel. Aidan is shocked to realize that their masked savior is their previous partner and resident hacker Keira, who he thought was dead. Rachel reveals that she actually saved Keira back in the day on their final big mission together. Keira was never dead!

What is Henry Cavill doing in the final bookstore scene?

After completing their world-saving mission and reuniting the gang, we fast-forward a bit to find out that Rachel (the artist formerly known as Elly) seems to have retired from that spy life. At a bookstore event for the next Argylle novel — she's still writing! — we learn that Rachel and Aidan are together again and that Alfie (not the cat) and Keira have achieved their dreams as well.

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While answering questions from the audience, Rachel calls on someone sporting a curly mullet and a bright yellow Argylle T-shirt. The man stands and we see his face: it's Henry Cavill! Only this time, he's got a twangy Southern accent. He asks Rachel if she has any questions for him ...

And the audience is left with just as many questions as Rachel, Aidan, Keira, and both Alfies likely have.

We'll have to wait for the next installment for answers.

Speaking of which: Does Argylle have a mid-credit or post-credit scene? Click here to read more.

Argylle is now in theaters.