By Mack Chico
As the DVD release for the film version of Mark MillarJG Jones and ’ Wanted looms on the horizon (Millar’s completed his work for it already), and the film’s worldwide box office total hovers near the $260 million mark the focus has shifted to Wanted 2 and…Wanted 3.
Word of the sequel came early on, just after the movie opened, actually. Millar said that he remembers the moment well. “At the premiere, everybody knew that it was going to make a lot of money, and we were all buzzing,” Millar told Newsarama. “On the way out, Mark Platt, the main producer put his arms around me and JG and said, ‘Okay, so what’s the plan for Wanted 2?’ I looked at him and said, ‘There is no plan,’ and he said to me, ‘Okay, well, have something for us next week.’”
Millar has said before that he and Jones would not be going back to Wanted in a comic book sequel to the original 2004 miniseries, and he’s sticking to that pledge. “I’ve got this reputation of being a total whore, and even when I’m adamant about something like this, people don’t believe me, but there is nothing else coming from Wanted,” Millar said. “That six issues was the end. I love doing new stuff anyway – I get bored so quickly.”
That’s not to say he’s not doing something for Wanted 2 though…
“What I will be doing is providing them with a very small amount of stuff for a story, and that will be used as a basic story that they can build from. It will be a small outline that can possibly be picked apart and not used – but it will be something exclusively for the second film, and no one will ever really see it.”
Given that the film version of the story differs from the comic book version in a number of ways (some quite substantial) Millar’s outline will be set in the film’s continuity, but will reach back to the comics. “It will be some of the stuff that we didn’t utilize from the first book for the movie – like chapters three and four – there will be some stuff from that, so in the loosest sense it will be based on the book, but only very little,” Millar said. “The nice thing about owning it and creator-owned properties is that JG and I will still be producers on the thing, and will still obviously get paid for the rights.”
Millar acknowledged that he too had heard that Terence Stamp has said his character of Pekwarsky would be coming back for the sequel, and reportedly play a much larger role. Also, Wanted screenwriters Derek Haas and Michael Brandt have been at work on the screenplay for the sequel for some time.
Even though it’s his first comic book to make the leap to film, Millar’s taking it all in stride, and talking like a poolside-sitting, cigar-chomping, sunglass-wearing Hollywood insider. “The minute the movie came out and made $55 million the opening weekend, they knew it would be headed toward the $300 million mark in theaters, and another $200 estimated on DVD,” Millar said. “So they invested $100 million in it, and made $500 million back, and they were really pleased with that, so immediately, Wanted 2 and 3 were greenlit, and James [McAvoy] was signed on for another two movies, so there’s a larger plan at work here.”
While Millar declined to mention any plot specifics that he’s suggested to the producers and screenwriters in his outlines, he did reflect on Wanted’s creation and originally writing the project – a time when veering off to write a creator-owned project caused some strife in the Millar household.
“I remember what my wife said to me about five years ago when I was writing Wanted – ‘Oh I wish you were just doing six issues of X-Men again,” because we were doing Wanted for virtually nothing, and here’s it’s turned out to be a nice long-term bet,” Millar said. “Obviously in comics, both Marvel and DC – they really don’t take care of you when you’re an older guy and after you’ve done your work, so it’s nice having these things out there that will keeping bringing in money even after you’ve done your time with the big publishers. You start to realize that Robert Kirkman is right in a lot of ways. Creator-owned work is the kind of stuff that will take care of you when you’re older.”
Millar’s next comic to make it to film, Kick-Ass (the fourth issue of which shipped this week) begins filming in early September, and is directed by Matthew Vaughn and boasts Nic Cage in its cast. That film and project, Millar said, is rife with possibilities for sequels and spinoffs.
“Kick-Ass is the only thing that I feel I could never get bored with – I genuinely love doing that, and already have the sequel worked out for the movie and the comic, because the story ends in a way that is so completely going into another one,” the writer said. “So Kick-Ass is the only thing I see as a franchise that will just run and run and run, but everything else I see as being quite self-contained.”