It's been well over a year since there was any significant news about Wanted 2, the followup to the hit 2008 (loose) adaptation of Mark Millar's ultra-violent comic book.
Angelina Jolie ultimately decided to pass on appearing in the sequel, which has essentially been trapped in development limbo since original Wanted helmer Timur Bekmambetov decided to move forward with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter instead. However, seeing that the original assassin-action extravaganza grossed over $341 million worldwide on a $75 million budget, it's no surprise that the project never fully died.
The Wrap has learned that Universal is at last looking to get Wanted 2 moving forward again and has brought back Wanted co-screenwriting duo Michael Brandt and Derek Haas to script the sequel. Whether the pair will be starting entirely from scratch - or working from an earlier draft penned by the scriber who was originally hired on for the project, Evan Spiliotopoulos (Snow White and the Huntsman) - has not yet been revealed.
Millar previously indicated that, in the wake of Jolie's departure, Wanted 2 would instead feature "another cool new character" and possibly introduce the four other assassin fraternities from his original graphic novel (which didn't make the cut in Bekmambetov's adaptation).
Haas informed The Wrap that the Wanted sequel will at least pick up with Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy, in the first film) a few years after the original movie. He later tweeted that neither Fox (Jolie) or the Loom of Fate - ie. the mystical device that designates assassination targets - will directly figure into the plot of Wanted 2.
(Spoiler?) Wesley was quite literally the only main player still breathing by the conclusion of Wanted, so the idea that Jolie's lovely killer would return has always been considered a bit curious (from a narrative standpoint, that is). On the other hand, Bekmambetov's film strayed so far from Millar's source material that it's almost anyone's guess as to where exactly the sequel will go next, story-wise.
Many people enjoyed Wanted, despite (or, perhaps, because) it amounted to a ridiculously hyper-stylized thrill ride version of The Matrix. However, the film's popularity was arguably due in no small part to Bekmambetov's exhilarating visual approach - combined with McAvoy and Jolie's collective sex appeal - and less about the quality of the film's screenplay. So the news that Brandt and Haas are returning to write the sequel might not seem like sufficient reason for celebration, on its own.
There's no designated production timeline for Wanted 2 just yet, so it's certainly possible that Bekmambetov could eventually sign on to helm the film. Whether or not McAvoy - who has become all the hotter a commodity, following X-Men: First Class - will also be returning is another matter.
We will keep you updated on the status of Wanted 2 as more information is released.