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Wanted 2: Why the Action Movie Sequel Never Happened



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The 2008 action thriller, Wanted, was an instant hit upon release. It was loosely based on the comic book of the same name from Mark Millar and J.G. Jones, a limited series that only ran for a total of six issues. Released in the same year as the first Iron Man, Wanted was a film that helped usher in a new age of comic book movies. A tone for larger-than-life, action-packed storytelling was set towards the end of the decade.

Wanted presented an underdog protagonist in James McAvoy’s Wesley Gibson, a frustrated young office worker who suffered from panic attacks and a cruel boss. He got his wish for a new life when Fox (Angelina Jolie) recruited him into the Fraternity, a secret order of assassins of which his father was a part. The film

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received recognition for its stylish action sequences and was a box office success. However, despite a sequel being planned, it ultimately never materialized. Here are some of the reasons why Wanted 2 has still yet to happen.

Before Wanted was even released, the writer of the film’s comic book source material, Mark Millar, announced that there were plans to make a sequel (per IGN). At San Diego Comic Con 2008, Millar shared excitement over his creative involvement. He worked with the film’s producers to craft the story of the sequel. Wanted 2 was announced within a month of the release of the first film. Because Wanted had already covered the entire storyline of the comics, the sequel was planned to feature a brand new story. There was much unexplored narrative ground about the assassins.

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Chris Morgan, who was one of the three writers on the first Wanted film, confirmed in 2008 that he was set to write the sequel. In April 2009, however, Evan Spiliotopoulos had replaced him as the primary scriptwriter. Morgan remained as a creative consultant and for possible rewrites, but was too busy with commitments to other projects, such as the Gears of War film that also was never made. Indeed, Morgan went on to write many films in the Fast & Furious franchise.

Returning from the first film, director Timur Bekmambetov announced in June 2009 that pre-production for the sequel was underway. Wanted 2 was set to shoot in the United States, India, and Russia during that year’s late fall or winter season. Production on Wanted 2 did not begin in 2009, however, and entered development purgatory. Bekambetov then refocused his time on other films, including 2012’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

In 2011, McAvoy told IGN that while he and the studio were “keen” on making a sequel, it could only be made if and when it was right. He also acknowledged that “that might not be ever.” Eventually, Universal tasked returning writers Michael Brandt and Derek Haas with writing Wanted 2. The script featured a young, world-weary woman as the new protagonist, similar to Wesley before he met Fox. Wesley was four years older and recruited the woman much in the same way Fox had recruited him. Nonetheless, development eventually stalled once again.