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Wanted 2 - Will It Ever Happen?

"Wanted" was one of the hottest action movies of 2008, raking in $342 million worldwide. Based on the comic book of the same name, "Wanted" turned heads with its stylish visuals and captivating story about an underdog assassin. Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a timid office drone — until he learns his late father was part of a league of assassins called the Fraternity, and that he has inherited his near-superhuman marksmanship. Though Wesley gains newfound confidence under the Fraternity's brutal tutelage, he soon uncovers a terrible secret behind their mysterious "code." A breakout action role for McAvoy, "Wanted" also featured a star-studded cast, with Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, and Common filling out the Fraternity, and a then-unknown Chris Pratt playing Wesley's shady best friend.

Given the film's box office success, as well as its big-name cast, a sequel to "Wanted" would seem inevitable — especially to an audience now accustomed to comic book movies spawning sequels, spin-offs, and even shared universes. But, despite a 2008 announcement and continued interest from its star, "Wanted 2" has yet to materialize. Here's why it's never happened — and why fans of Wesley and the Fraternity are not entirely out of luck.

Why hasn't Wanted 2 happened yet?

While most comic book movies are based on years — if not decades — of source material, "Wanted" was based on a six-issue miniseries by writer Mark Millar and artist J.G. Jones. In the summer of 2008, Millar confirmed a "Wanted" sequel to IGN, and reported that he was working with the producer on the plot. Director Timur Bekmambetov planned to return on "Wanted 2"; in 2009, he told Animation World Network, "We are waiting to begin. Everything is set up [at my studio in Moscow], including previsualization. All the action scenes are already prevised."

In 2010, Millar offered an update to STV, stating that he believed the sequel would begin filming in 2011, but that the existing treatment would have to be rewritten due to co-star Angelina Jolie declining to return. Movement on the sequel eventually stalled, with Bekmambetov instead directing "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" in 2012 and "Ben-Hur" in 2016. With no more comic books to adapt and the absence of its Academy Award-winning co-star, it seems that the filmmakers were unable to conceive of a new storyline worthy of a "Wanted" sequel. As Millar put it bluntly to STV, "The producer came up and said 'What are we going to do for Wanted 2?' and I was like 'I don't have any ideas!'"

What has the cast said about Wanted 2?

One possible version of "Wanted 2" featured Angelina Jolie reprising her role as Fox. One big problem? "Wanted" ends with Fox sacrificing herself to save Wesley and dying of a gunshot wound to the head. While comic books and their adaptations frequently deal in surprise character resurrections, there's another serious issue: In the "Wanted" comic series, Fox is a Black woman, making Jolie's original casting an unfortunate example of Hollywood whitewashing. Regardless, Jolie confirmed that Fox's fate is final. While promoting her action film "Salt" in 2010, she told Coming Soon, "I kind of feel like if I die in a movie, I should die actually ... It would just be doing the exact same thing in another movie, so it's not that interesting to me."

Other actors have been more open to returning to the "Wanted" universe. Even before the premiere, Terence Stamp — who played the bullet-maker Pekwarsky — talked up his character with MTV News and expressed eagerness for a sequel, which he believed would feature Pekwarsky more heavily.

Perhaps the actor most interested in "Wanted 2" is none other than star James McAvoy. In the years since he played Wesley Gibson, he's been involved in comic book projects as varied as the "X-Men" films and the "Sandman" audiobook series. As he told ScreenRant in 2021, "I always fancied seeing what happened to Wesley Gibson in the movie, 'Wanted.'"

What could be explored in Wanted 2?

One obstacle to a possible sequel is the ending of "Wanted" itself: By the time the credits roll, every member of the Fraternity, except for Wesley, is dead. Via Russia IC, director Bekmambetov was open to resurrecting multiple characters, including the Exterminator, an explosives expert played by Bekmambetov's "Night Watch" collaborator Kostya Khabensky.

In 2011, James McAvoy was curious about where a sequel could go, as his character's storyline seemingly concludes in the first film. Speaking to IGN, he said, "Maybe they'll do it in the future with a whole new kid — a new lead character."

Timur Bekmambetov,  who later produced the 2015 horror film "Unfriended," suggested a concept for "Wanted 2" in 2020 that would be a dramatic stylistic departure from the first film. "I cannot imagine an assassin in today's world would run with a gun. Why? He will use drones, he will use computer technology," he said in an interview with Deadline. He further explained that a sequel could be a "screenlife" film, a la "Unfriended," with the action depicted via internet screens. "You don't need to bend bullets anymore," he remarked. "You need to bend ideas."

There's already a Wanted sequel ... and it's a video game

"Wanted 2" may not be hitting the big screen anytime soon, but fans can still follow the continued adventures of Wesley Gibson and the Fraternity if they're willing to play a video game from 2009. "Wanted: Weapons of Fate" is a single-player, multi-platform, third-person shooter game set shortly after the events of the film. After killing the duplicitous Mr. Sloan, Wesley sets out to uncover the mysterious truth about his parents, only to be caught up in the machinations of several international Fraternity branches and the scarred assassin known as the Immortal.

"Wanted: Weapons of Fate" received mixed reviews upon release. Voice actor Jimmi Simpson replaced James McAvoy as Wesley (who gains a more comic book-accurate costume in the game), though Terence Stamp and Thomas Kretschmann reprised their respective roles as Pekwarsky and Cross. Barring any surprise studio announcements, "Weapons of Fate" is likely to remain the only "Wanted" sequel project in existence.