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The Comic:

Time for some Wild Math Guessing: How many supervillains and heroes were there?
In issue #2 it's mentioned that there were "thousands" of super-criminals while in issue #4 its mentioned that at the height of the olden days there were 22 villains for every hero. It is also mentioned that there was a superhero for every major US and European city. Issue #2 also contrasts the thousands figure with a rogue gallery size of 10 or 12. The tone suggests this was a common number, and a good step down from the stated peak ratio of 22:1. The only question is what "thousands" means. Based on the major city line, we could quite reasonably presume there was at least one superhero for every US state (assuming a state capitol would qualify as a major city) and at least one for every European country. For 50 states and around 50 countries this comes out to 100 heroes for a minimum of 2,000 villains (any less and there wouldn't be a hero for every major city or "thousands" of villains). It is also worth nothing that a huge part of the Wanted setting is that superheroes were real and that comic characters (or at least sufficiently-close expies of them) were all real. Many characters in Wanted are clearly meant to be a reference to actual DC and Marvel characters, so quick search for lists of their villains comes to around 700 for DC and around 1,300 for Marvel. Combine the two and you get...2,000. A quick search for a list of DC heroes gets about 250 names and around 950 names for Marvel. 2,000 villains to 1,200 heroes doesn't seem right, but nonetheless we can choose either; either calculate villains from heroes or heroes from villains. The hero villain numbers could not have been lower than 100:2,000, while being no higher than 1,200:26,400. If you want to have a golden mean you'll get 650:14,200.

It's all an elaborate fantasy/daydream/dying hallucination/whatever
I'm shocked this isn't here yet but when you have a story about an ordinary person with a crappy life suddenly becoming the center of attention it's practical obligatory. However, here it's actually fairly plausible because the last line of internal dialogue before he's recruited in the restaurant is "Why am I twenty-four years old and popping more pills than your average octogenarian?". Our protagonist is not the heir to a supervillanious legacy but rather living out a far more exciting life as he overdoses in a bathroom. As for the super-funeral before this scene...well, maybe that was a daydream?
Its all a lie?
An old, dying supervillain has suffered his last defeat. In his last moments, he begins to hallucinate of a world where he did win. Or perhaps a hero took pity on his enemy and trapped him forever in an endless dream.
Everything in the comic is all true.
Think about it. Isn't it all horrifically plausible? Why the world's in such a crappy state, the truth behind all those "Disappearances" and "Unsolved" crimes? Ever walk down the street and see someone who looks JUST LIKE a character? What if it's because they are? If super powered beings like the ones in comic books existed, it would be childsplay for them to use their godlike powers to make us forget they ever did. And the ultimate sick joke, Mark Millar who is in on the whole thing as is every comic writer, was hired to print a comic about how comic characters were real and running the world, just to make it seem all the more ludicrous. He even comes right out and says it: Who even reads comics any more? He creates a story that makes the theory of real life super villains running the world impossible to believe and all but states, in story, that that's the whole POINT of the story.It would make so much sense. How did Lee, Kirby, Miller, Brubaker get the idea for all these strange and bizarre characters? They got them STRAIGHT FROM THE CHARACTERS THEMSELVES.
  • Why no, that is merely a silly paranoia. (He knows too much, get a mindwipe ready!)
  • Gets weird when you consider the idea for the comic came from what Mark Millar heard from his father (the superheroes don't exist because supervillains killed them all).
    • Older brother, not father I think.

Wesley has no powers, he just got really, really lucky.
Larry Niven once said, there has to be someone at the extreme end of a probability curve.

The movie "Wanted" is a sick joke made by the Fraternity, who are real.
It's a twisted joke made by Wesley, now one of the arch-villains of the world. To further tease us, he's made a movie which is warped to be nothing like what reality is, much like what Professor Solomon Seltzer did along with the other arch-villains.

The comic takes place in the same world as Kick-Ass
Dave flat-out asks where all the superheroes are and why no one has ever done what he has before...and even he and Hit-Girl both hang up the tights by the end. Maybe the Fraternity's control is stretched so thin by present day that even though they're able to squelch him and Hit-Girl, they aren't able to keep the new rise of the superheroes under wraps once Kick-Ass accidentally gets the ball rolling?
  • And possibly Dave is that kid whose parents get killed by Mister Rictus. They wipe his memory, but he gets... fractious, buys a wetsuit and a set of clubs, and is away with himself.
    • Confirmed via word of god.
    • More specifically, the full story as detailed here is thus: Wanted explains how superheroes were real until they were defeated in 1986 and all of reality altered to erase their memory and existence, with surviving supers existing as depowered actors (a shot of a man in a wheelchair implies that Christopher Reeves was actually Superman and that Burt Ward and Adam West were truly Batman and Robin) with the only traces of their existence being superhero "fiction" and a token relic held by The Professor that's supposed to be Superman's cape...but this cape is actually Jupiter's from Jupiter's Legacy, the true Flying Brick superhero; it turns out Superman and all others like him were fictional all this time and just attempts to remember Jupiter. Kick-Ass takes place in this world without heroes who loves superhero fiction so much he decides to be one himself. He's the tipping point, and a chain reaction ensues where the rise of one hero increases the odds of others appearing, and so on, with actual super-powered individuals beginning to appear. The first of these is Nemesis with MPH being referenced as well. Superior comes last. Mark stresses that there's many more connections with other books and stories, but that all of them can be read as self-contained.
The comic takes place in the same universe as "Nemesis"
Before the events of the comic, they villains had an alien supercomputer being, an extradimensional imp, a large cadre of time-traveling super Nazis, the world's smartest man, and some of the world's smartest psychopaths. By the end of it, the Fraternity has... what, the Lgion of Substitute Villains? They can't maintain control to the same degree they had. Meanwhile, the criminal underworld has been bucking against their level of power. The absence of a big fish at the top if the food chain leads to one lucky sociopathic son-of-a-gun to bootstrap his way up to World's Most Wanted.
  • Confirmed

The comic takes place in an alternate version of the Marvel Universe and The DCU.

Throughout the comic, numerous paralells to Marvel and DC comic books are made. For example, many of The Fraternity's members are Expies of villains from either continuity: The Emperor is obviously The Mandarin, Fuckwit is supposed to be Bizzarro, Johnny Two-Dicks is The Ventriloquist, Mister Rictus is The Joker, and so on. Additionally, several Fraternity agents bear an uncanny resemblance to The Headsman, Darkseid, Reverse Flash, and Venom. When the Professor shows Wesley his secret, it's obviously supposed to be Superman's cape, and someone who is implied to be Superman himself is seen confined to a wheelchair. If that's not enough, the comic also makes reference to seven-dimensional imps, level nine intelligences, and the two actors Rictus killed are more or less outright named as Batman and Robin (especially considering how he taunts them as they die). Additionally, in the pile of bodies shown in the flashback to the war between the heroes and villains, characters resembling The Hulk, Wolverine, and The Thing can be seen.

  • As an aside, this Troper also beleives that Wesley is the alternate universe's Deadpool. They both break the fourth wall, have similar senses of humor, identical fighting styles and weapon abilities, and even share the same fundamental character design.
    • Some are a cross between both Marvel and DC, though. Wesley's dad is analogous to Bullseye and Deadshot. Emperor is also partly based on Ra's Al Ghul (refers to the Batman analogue as the detective). Frightener looks somewhat similar to Marvel's Carnage, but his name and the fact Rictus' team are mostly made up of Batman villain analogues could mean he's a Scarecrow analogue.

The kid Rictus orphaned gets revenge and becomes the first of a new generation of superheroes.
What if Rictus was right and the kid he orphaned did train himself up for revenge? What if he chose to take out the Fraternity once he learned his revenge was denied...and then expose the entire Fraternity and bring back superheroes? Personally I'd pay Millar to write a sequel where something similar happens...or even a crossover story where Hit Girl takes out the Fraternity for some reason, either way both stories are ones that'd be great in my opinion. That kid has Hero of Another Story written all over him.

Superfolks is the past of Wanted
When I read the book I realized that the setting of it seemed a lot like the setting of Wanted.

The Fraternity is fucked.
I realized (thanks to the Nemesis WMG above) that the Fraternity's strength has been severely reduced, due to the fact that Rictus and the Future might have killed everyone in the Professor's gang except Wesley and Fox, and even if there are any survivors around there probably are very few. Then there's the fact that the groups led by Rictus and the Future might have been completely exterminated or at least mostly destroyed. Leaving only Adam One and the Emperor with intact groups...and not able to assert the authority they once had over the Earth, plus they might not be able to cover things up as easy...then of course there's the fact of the kid Rictus orphaned, if he was right and that kid did train up to defeat him (thus making him their version of Terry McGinnis) he might find out about the Fraternity as he tries to find Rictus, and if he found out about the superheroes who were still alive, or the cape that the Professor kept...the superheroes might return and once that happens...the Fraternity would have to start running again.Alternatively...

The Fraternity will be destroyed in a Retcon.
Consider this, in 2011 the DCU got rebooted and the following year Marvel updated their titles (but not continuity) now since the Fraternity is a mix of both the DC and Marvel universes, perhaps some plan enacted by the Batman expy before he died or some higher force causes their warp to be undone...and then a modernized version of their past comes into existence. I don't really know what it's be like but I'm pretty sure Wesley would survive since he is their version of Deadpool and all.
  • On a more cynical note, perhaps it results in the supervillains simply fading away and the world becoming even more like ours?

The Xenomorphs actually exist in Wanted.
Since all the supervillains and heroes are analogues of DC and Marvel supervillains (or like in the Avian and the Emperor's case, merged into one), and X-Men villains the Brood are known as Xenomorph expies, it stands to reason the genuine articles actually exist there.

The 'Wanted' universe is slowly being destroyed
It's all due to the supervillains changing the past so often; at one point it was the pre-crisis DC Universe, but too much manipulating and erasing past events has left it a warped, damaged version of itself (the villains were all once the regular dc villains [Seltzer was Lex Luthor, Rictus was the Joker, The Killer was Deathstroke...] but their interfering with the timeline caused things to change, they became warped versions of themselves, and it will only get worse as they continue)

the world would soon be saved by imp's parents
in the appendix it's mentioned that imp is actually a young child who sneak into our world to cause troubles when his parents aren't looking. so, after he would come home crying about how his friends were mean to him (assuming of course that nine dimensional beings cannot be killed by three dimensional injuries) they would come to the superman expy (who they of course met in a previous wacky adventure) to complain. When they would see him in a wheelchair they would realize that something went terribly wrong and would use their ADULT reality warpers abilities to put everything back in order.

some heroes joined the fraternity
Just before the final battle with rictus you can see a what looks like the wasp flying at the bottom of the page. May be some heroes were too tired of fighting the war and just decided to join.
  • Alternatively, some supervillains simply stole the equipment of the heroes that they killed, and some may have even somehow gained the powers of the heroes that they killed.

The villain didn't actually eliminate the heroes
Well, they did in the original timeline. But then they rewrote reality, erasing the heroes from existence, but leaving themselves as supervillains. Thus, the Superhero Paradox still applies (althought, it's inverted). The superhereos didn't stop to exist, they just shifted to other people, waiting for the villains to break The Masquerade and allow them to emerge. Let's think about that poor kid: if Rictus' hopes come true, he'll grow up training to avenge the murder of his parents, shot in front of his eyes, in a dark alley, by an unknown criminal. Sounds familiar?

Wesley's girlfriend never cheated on him
Unlike the other actions involving other characters, we never actually see it happen, it's just a bit of his inner monologue. And when he leaves her, she doesn't admit anything, and neither does when speaking about the corpse of Wesley's best friend. We know, however, that Wesley has an enormous and delusional sense of entitlement (he claims that he should be a millionaire, despite not displaying any skill or motivation that'd justify that except for his massive ego). Most likely, she just wasn't that much into sex, or believed that Wesley didn't like it that much (we actually see that him doesn't take any initiative or lets his desires being known), and elaborated the most outrageous excuse he could think of to avoid doubting his actions.

Eminem is dreaming all of this
He's dreaming about a super hero universe where he's banging Halle Berry, and Tommy Lee Jones is his father.
  • Seems more like something Slim would dream, honestly.

Wesley will convince Fox to kill him when he gets too old
Like his father, when Wesley gets too old to be a super villain, he will tell Fox to kill him.
  • Or potentially, as the Fox is half a decade or older than Wesley, She may go first, leaving him in a similar place to his father before he met Fox & Wesley's mother, thus starting the cycle anew.
Some of the villains started out as "super heroes"
At first, some of them wanted to protect the innocent and fight criminals (albeit to score women and money), but they eventually got sick and tired of it. Like Wesley, they learned the hard way that people can be ungrateful a-holes. Plus, saving people and plugging up volcanoes can be stressful, just ask Tony from Irredeemable. They find being a costume villain to be a lot easier and fun. They are free to cut loose. No longer they have to put on a "goody two-shoes" facade, and pretend to be nice to the citizens.

Wesley's girlfriend is dead after the fight with Rictus
Not only she cheated on him, but she also ratted him out to the cops. Can't see Wesley letting her live after that. This is a guy who would kill anyone who irks him. If she is not dead, then she will be killed sometime in the future.

The Movie:

The only reason why the Fraternity's names apeared on the loom is because Sloan was not killed.
Sloan was clearly at least potentially corrupt. An uncorrupt man who's name came up would either kill himself or just ignore it. Thus the loom was trying to get rid of him before he went corrupt of his own accord. Because he did not die and sent the Fraternity on bogus missions the loom tried to get rid of them too.
  • That assumes the Fraternity's names actually appeared. Is there any reason for Sloan not to have forged termination records for the whole organization, in case of just such an eventuality? It's a win-win. Either they're loyal to the code, and kill themselves, or are disloyal and join him.
    • This struck me as well, so we know that Sloan has been making up names from the Loom and here look bunch of orders for you all to die! ... Really? ... Really Really?
  • Sloan actually send each of them in some really immoral mission to make their name appear. Wether their name actually appeared wasn't relevant, he only needed it to plausible (since they couldn't tell if it was a name that actually came out or not, and there would have been a good reason for it to appear, ignoring the name would still have marked them as Not So Different even if the name was actually a fabbrication).
Sloan's name coming up on the loom was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The names that come up are for people who haven't yet done anything wrong, but will. When Sloan's name came up, he hadn't done anything wrong, but since he was the only one to see it, he ignored it and started breaking the code. If his name hadn't ever come up, he would have remained loyal to the code, and the entire plot of the movie wouldn't have happened.

Sloan's name appearing didn't start his villany, but caused him to step up the game
He was already using the Fraternity's resources for his own gain, but tried to at least keep a low profile. Then his name came out, and he saw he could actually ignore and fake the name that came out of the Loom and get away with it. Having been forced to take the step he didn't dare to before, he decided to go all in, and dragged the Fraternity in his plan.

The world of Wanted is the much depleted Creation from Exalted.
The loom of fate is the self same loom as from Exalted, only rather stripped down. That self evidently stupid explanation about adrenaline is because the Fraternity refuse to believe that they are capable of magic. They are most likely the much weakened but still functional exaltations of the Five-Score Fellowship (Sidereals). Note the thematic similarity in the names, both are unified groups. If this is true then the real reason they go after some of these people may be to stop them exalting and unleashing dangerous magic rather than because they did anything bad.

The world of Wanted is The World of Darkness.
Related to the above. Before they realised that it sucked all of the potential drama from Exalted for some players by showing what would happen millennia later the official line was that Exalted was the prequel to World of Darkness. Now they sort of just fail to mention it. It this is true then The Fraternity spend some of their time vampire hunting, among other things.
  • The Old World of Darkness, specifically. The Fraternity are in fact just a face organization for the Euthanatos. Curving bullets are an application of the Entropy sphere.

The loom has no magical properties.
In the entire movie we're presented with exactly two examples of targets that deserve death: Fox's father's killer, and Sloan himself. Both could easily have been faked, and the names come from people with strong motives to lie. So there's no evidence that the loom was ever selecting the correct targets. All of the targets could easily have been selected by the Fraternity leaders themselves, for either good or bad reasons.
  • Expanding on this: there was never such a thing as the Fraternity. Sloan simply fed the assassins a story about a thousand-year-old secret order in the hopes that a few of them would believe it and work for him. The loom probably misses thousands of stitches a day- he just selects scraps of cloth which, coincedentally, bare the names of people he wants dead. Sloan's own name coming up was just a result of him getting careless with the other scraps.

At the end of the movie, Wesley doesn't kill Sloan.
Why? I don't know. But it does the bullet rewind thing, and instead of firing it he breaks the fourth wall. Throwing a Take That! at the audience was important enough for him to cause some kind of time travel paradox, and later he's gunned down by Sloan because he forgot to take the shot.
  • Sloan only manages to kill Wesley because Wesley used himself as bait to line up the kill shot on Sloan for The Mother-Fucking Decoy!
    • The bullet rewind showed what happened before Wesley shot Sloan; he chronologically broke the fourth wall, then shot Sloan. I don't understand the confusion.

The bullet curve is telekinesis.
They have to concentrate and drop into some altered state of consciousness, each of which are often prerequisites for using psychic abilities. It makes more sense than curving the bullets by anything but a ridiculously high-tech individually guided bullet RC system, and it's the only explanation this troper can think of for how the fly's wings got shot off without obliterating the wings or splattering the fly. The adrenal gland stuff was pure BS, it was really the pineal gland. Or something.
  • Jossed by, well, canon. It's pretty obtuse, but it's there. Sloan tells Wesley that, while concentrating in their altered state, they can exploit a natural part of how guns work that, simply, no one else knows about because everyone is too dead-set into the "bullets fly straight out of the gun" mentality.
    • That's not a Joss; it's not mutually exclusive with the above WMG, and it contains no real explanation for how they curve the bullets in violation of the laws of physics. It could be that are telekinetic but are not aware of it, and their "explanation" which actually explains nothing is just the way to rationalize a seeming impossibility.

The movie is happening on Wesley's head.
(Theory was, believe it or not, on the Other Wiki)

The body of Wanted can be interpreted as occurring only in Wesley Gibson's imagination, an escape from his dull, mundane, depressing life. Think Fight Club. The clues are:

  • Before his new life takes over, he's on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The ATM is talking to him; clearly not everything we are seeing is real.
  • His new life takes place in the same locations as his old, mundane one: The room over the railroad tracks from his apartment, the train he takes to work, even, near the end, in his office.
  • His new life still includes the same people as his old one: His boss, girlfriend, and best friend, keep re-appearing. He re-visits his apartment (to collect a gun), he sees his girlfriend with shopping bags from the room over the tracks, and in the final shot the bullet goes past those three people.
  • Much of the action is not realistic, it's fantasy action.
  • On his first assignment, he rides past the office where his target is, on the roof of the train. In the very next scene he rides past the same office, this time in the train, in a seat on his own. The first scene could be the fantasy, the second reality.
  • By the end of the film he is broke and back in his office at work. Then the fantasy kicks in again.
  • In the closing scene the fourth wall is broken, and the fantasy Wesley Gibson addresses the audience directly.

This may also be true of the comic.

Wanted is set in an alternate version of the DCU.

It's kind of hinted to be. The villains are all Captain Ersatz of DC villains and none of the heroes are ever named. Seltzer and Wesley are looking at a red cape from an angle we can't see meaning there might be a superman logo on the other side. In parallel 2 Wesley is fighting a character who looks very like Superman but we only see him from behind. The actors who used to be superheroes; One is in a wheelchair, obviously meant to be Christopher Reeve who played Superman.

Wanted is in the same universe as the X-Men film series.
Wesley Gibson is Charles Xavier, who, prior to X-Men: First Class, time travelled to the 21st century and forgot who he was. The Fraternity evolved from the Brotherhood of Mutants. Being able to curve bullets is a mutant power, just like when Magneto curved the bullet that killed John F. Kennedy. Somehow, he was able to give members his power.

The members of The Fraternity are renegade Others.
This is obvious, what with the movie being directed by Timur Bekmambetov and starring Konstantin Khabensky. They are disillusioned from the policy of the Watches, so they forgo the usual Watch terminology to differentiate themselves from the mainline Others and call the Twilight "adrenaline time". In some way they severed themselves from the Twilight proper and need objects or contraptions to awake their powers (guns, the wax-like bath, knives). Only the most proficient assassins are Others and capable of physics-defying feats, the rest are just trained humans who may or may not know about their employers. Sloan is a powerful Light Other who, like many Light and Dark Others before him, believed he could change the world by affecting humans. Anton Gorodetskiy was sent by the Night Watch masqueraded as human (none of the Fraternity are Great Others, so none of them can see through the disguise) and faked his own death to suggest a crucial strategy to Wesley, the explosive mice.

The man who killed Fox's father will be the film's version of Mr. Rictus.

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