Sicario fast became a critical darling when it premiered in 2015, but failed to take off with a broader audience. It was nominated for three Oscars, none of which it won, and made $84 million against a modest $30 million budget—at best a mild financial success. It was pleasantly surprising, then, when Lionsgate commissioned a sequel, Soldado, for the dramatic thriller.
As details have emerged, it’s become clear that the Sicario sequel will be shaped quite differently. Stefano Sollima (Gomorrah) will helm in place of original director Denis Villeneuve, who’s currently at work on Blade Runner 2. Emily Blunt, who starred as idealistic FBI agent Kate Mercer, also won’t return. Instead, the film will focus on Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin, who played antiheroes Alejandro Gillick and Matt Graver, respectively. Sollima has called the project “absolutely a standalone” and “a completely different story,” though Taylor Sheridan once again wrote the script.
A new direction means new characters, and Deadline is now reporting that Isabela Moner has signed onto the cast. She joins the previously-announced Catherine Keener (Bad Grandpa). Moner will play the stubborn daughter of a drug cartel kingpin that becomes the center of Alejandro and Matt’s undercover operation to abolish Mexican drug rings.
Moner’s casting is hard to judge, as she’s quite new to the big screen. Her previous work is primarily focused on family-oriented titles like Growing Up Fisher, 100 Things To Do Before High School, and TV Movie Legends of the Hidden Temple. Still, it’s clear the 15-year-old been pushing for bigger roles. She’s set to appear in Transformers: The Last Knight come 2017, which should help prime her for her role in Soldado.
If she pulls it off, Soldado could prove a turning point in Moner’s career. It could also land her a gig in Sicario’s third installment, which is apparently already planned. As Sollima told The Independent in June,
“The idea is to make three anthology movies with some of the core actors in the same world. The reason that I love [Soldado] is because it’s not exactly a sequel; it’s something you can catch and enjoy even if you haven’t watched the first one.”
It will be refreshing to see some new faces in the mix for the Sicario sequel, especially if they could be given a more prominent role down the line. Moner may not have a lot of experience to fall back on, but a lack of familiarity should make it easier for viewers to accept her in her Soldado role without question.
A release date for Soldado has not yet been announced, but Screen Rant will keep you updated as new developments become available.