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Hancock 2 - Will It Ever Happen?

In 2008, superhero movies got a twist with the release of "Hancock," directed by Peter Berg and starring Will Smith in the title role. The movie introduces reluctant superhero John Hancock, an irreverent, foul-mouthed, oddly endearing good guy. Hancock is a man blessed with incredible powers and cursed with personal disarray: He's disgruntled, disillusioned, and almost more happy to cause collateral damage than to save the day. That is, until he meets Ray (Jason Bateman), a public relations consultant who takes on the tall order of rehabbing the hero's tarnished image.

With a cynical attitude, self-destructive behavior, and a penchant for disaster, Hancock set himself apart from the traditional comic book hero moviegoers were used to, and audiences lapped it up. But while the film deals with his personal struggles and his path to redemption, there's still plenty left unanswered, and fans have been eagerly awaiting a sequel ever since it debuted.

Over the years, numerous rumors have swirled around "Hancock 2," fueled by vague statements from the cast and crew, ambiguous non-answers in interviews, and the undeniable demand of a diehard fanbase. With each passing year, fans have held onto a glimmer of hope that they might witness more of Hancock's story. But at some point, even the most passionate devotees start to wonder: Will "Hancock 2" ever happen?

Why haven't we seen Hancock 2?

"Hancock" arrived in 2008, a packed year for action blockbusters that also included "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight." But with Will Smith leading the way, "Hancock" wound up grossing more than $600 million. This was enough to make it the fourth highest-grossing movie of the year, domestically speaking, behind Nolan's sequel, the first "Kung Fu Panda," and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." With such overwhelming financial success to its name, it's fair to wonder why we haven't seen a sequel to "Hancock."

One reason has to do with getting the story just right. In 2009, following the release of the film on DVD, Will Smith talked about work being done on the sequel, noting that it was slow-going. "The ideas aren't as developed for ['Hancock 2'] yet as they are for ['I Am Legend 2'], but we're building out an entire world," he told the Toronto Star

But scheduling seems to have been the biggest hurdle. "We've been talking about the sequel between us, Will Smith, [producer] Michael Mann and [producer] Akiva Goldsman and myself," director Peter Berg said in 2012 (via WhatCulture). "We're all interested, but we literally just have trouble getting into the same room at the same time. We did have a series of meetings last year and started to hash out an idea for [a] sequel — and Will Smith actually had the idea — so I think it will happen, it's just a question of timing."

What have the cast and crew said about Hancock 2?

Even though more than a decade has passed since "Hancock" was on the big screen, those involved with the film have had lots to say about a sequel. That includes the film's director, Peter Berg. Not long after its release, he talked about how badly Sony was itching to get them all back together for a follow-up, but confirmed that scheduling was an issue. 

"They would like to fast-track it, but Will's busy, I'm pretty busy," he said (via Dark Horizons). "We're excited to do one, but we want the script to be right and the movie to be right. We don't feel a burning imperative to go right back into it," Berg explained. Not long before Berg made those comments, Will Smith agreed that a sequel was a priority, according to JoBlo.com 

A few years later, Berg sounded more enthusiastic. "We had a phone call last week and [producer] Akiva [Goldsman] and Will Smith were on the phone. Everyone's got ideas, and everyone seems energized," Berg told MTV. "It's very encouraging ... Everywhere we go around the world, ['Hancock'] is really loved," he continued. "In Korea and Russia and Tokyo and Australia, all over Europe, everyone wants to know about it, so it's definitely gotten us thinking."

Who would star in Hancock 2?

"Hancock" boasts a strong cast, with Will Smith at the top of the bill, supported by Academy Award-winner Charlize Theron and future Emmy Award-winner Jason Bateman. Even Johnny Galecki from "The Big Bang Theory" had a small role in it, long before he hit it big. But would we expect to see them return for a sequel? Over the years, Smith has expressed his love of the first movie and his desire for more. The sequel probably can't happen without him, so we can safely say that any version of "Hancock 2" is almost certain to see him reprise the role of everyman superhero John Hancock.

While it's been some years since he's talked about it, co-star Jason Bateman, who played Hancock's new friend Ray, enthusiastically endorsed the idea of a sequel way back in 2009. Would he return? "Oh yeah, in a heartbeat," Bateman told MTV. "Yeah, that's not a tough decision. I hope that happens." 

Charlize Theron, meanwhile, was asked about the prospects of a sequel while promoting "The Old Guard" in 2020, and made it clear she wants back in on the role of Mary, the film's super-powered villain. "You know, for a while we [talked about a sequel]," she told ComicBook.com. Echoing Bateman's sentiments, she added, "I'll still make that movie, I would do it in a heartbeat." 

What would be explored in Hancock 2?

With all parties seemingly interested in a reunion for a "Hancock" sequel, it stands to reason that someone has a story in mind. Sure enough, director Peter Berg has been talking about it for years. "There might be another god out there ... Might be another one," he said (via DarkHorizons.com) in 2009, while also saying that a sequel would continue the subplot of Jason Bateman's character Ray starting a charity. A few years later, Berg went further, going into more detail about what we could see in "Hancock 2."

"We're looking at exploring [Hancock and Mary's] relationship prior to when we first met them and seeing a bit of what happened as a prequel," Berg said, suggesting some flashbacks could be in order. "I think we danced around the concept of an origins and we settled on something that is very substantive. That will [be] part of the sequel," he told MTV

At the same time, when asked about what we might see in "Hancock 2," Will Smith suggested that we'd meet more super-powered people. "I think people will be surprised at the new world of 'Hancock,'" Smith told the Toronto Star. Asked if this meant meeting more superheroes, he responded, "Potentially, yes." Put it all together, and it sounds like we may be in for a more comic book-y adventure as new immortals emerge to fill out a wider world of heroes and villains.

We almost got Hancock 2 ... but then we didn't

Talk of a sequel to "Hancock" actually began before the film even hit theaters, according to one of the film's stars. "They were talking about a sequel while we were in the middle of shooting ['Hancock']." Jason Bateman said, while chatting with MTV. But the closest we ever came to getting that elusive second movie was actually around 2012 or so. 

In 2009, it seemed to be officially in development, with The Hollywood Reporter relaying that a pair of writers had boarded the project (via /Film). These writers were Adam Fierro, writer of "The Shield," and Glen Mazzara of "The Walking Dead" fame, though neither had really hit it big at the time. A few years later, Peter Berg mentioned that things seemed to be finally coming together, telling MTV in 2012, "There was a phone call. That's movement. We had a phone call last week and [producer] Akiva [Goldsman] and Will Smith were on the phone. Everyone's got ideas, and everyone seems energized," Berg told the outlet, implying that something was finally ready to happen. 

Once again, though, things seemed to hit a snag due to problems with getting everyone back together. "We think about ['Hancock 2'], but it's just really scheduling," Berg told The Hollywood Reporter. "Will Smith is really busy; I've been busy lately. Akiva Goldsman is a very involved producer, and he's directing movies now. It's just very hard to get us all in the same room at the same time." A decade later, we're still waiting.

Why now is the perfect time for Hancock 2

Though it's been over a decade since there was any real, serious talk of a "Hancock" sequel, there might be no better time than now for it to finally happen. The movie's supporting stars Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman are more popular than ever, and Will Smith himself could use a new blockbuster hit. 

On the movie side, theaters aren't what they once were, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic's darkest days. A sequel to a beloved fan-favorite would surely be a big draw, with legacy sequels more popular than ever. A "Hancock" sequel might also be able to use the long layoff to its advantage, as Hancock could have had a child that would be a teenager by now. The story could deal with his emerging powers, while a new immortal god rises to pose a devastating threat. 

Stories like "Hancock" are hotter than ever, too, with tongue-in-cheek adult superhero comedies like "The Boys" and the animated "Invincible" series proving wildly popular. Why not, then, go back to one of the films that got the trend started in the first place? A "Hancock" sequel could also be a refreshing change of pace from the lackluster Marvel outings that audiences have been faced with over the last few years. If Peter Berg, Will Smith, and the rest of the gang can finally find a way to align their schedules, "Hancock 2" is ripe to be a massive blockbuster.