Sicario was one of 2015's most adrenaline-pumping, well-made action thrillers, from director Denis Villeneuve (currently preparing to direct Blade Runner 2) that starred Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin. Despite the film failing to scoop any of the three Oscars it was nominated for, including Best Achievement in Cinematography for Roger Deakins, it was quite well-received critically and amassed $84 million from a modest $30 million budget.
So it was with raised eyebrows the intense crime/drama (which sees Blunt's FBI poster girl enlist into a questionable government task force) was even granted a follow-up. Going by the tile of Soldado (the Spanish word for "soldier"), the film has Stefano Sollima attached to direct and Taylor Sheridan back to pen the sequel, after Villeneuve pulled out due to his commitment to the Blade Runner sequel, followed by Green Room's Jeremy Saulnier's swift departure when he couldn't work with the film's production schedule.
Sollima revealed during a recent interview with The Independent how the follow-up to Sicario will be a different beast altogether:
"It's absolutely a standalone movie - a completely different story with just two of the characters that you met in Sicario. It's not a real sequel. The antagonists are now absolutely the main characters."
Clearly, the director is referring to the two dangerous figures from the first film - Brolin's CIA agent Matt Graves and del Toro's cartel go-between/hitman Alejandro Gillick - who will both reprise their roles in the sequel, rather than Blunt's character. It's refreshing to hear that the next instalment won't simply be a retreading of the first movie with the same characters, but appears to be a notable progression within that film's deadly, drug-dealing world.
Sollima, who directed Sky Atlantic's crime-drama series Gomorrah, believes the project is right for him, adding that he plans to take it up a notch but in a thematically very different way:
"I loved Sicario. I feel the movie was quite similar to my approach so, to me, I'm just shooting another movie. Soldado will be much more cinematic than Sicario was; it's got an incredible amount of huge action sequences in there. It will be a different journey in the same world. Even the theme is different - it's not drug dealing, it's more on immigration."
It's perhaps ideal the helmer was a big fan of Sicario and could've seen himself making it in the same way, meaning he's already invested in the characters that live in that film's shady world. Admitting his desire to change its entire direction now makes this an ambitious project to undertake.
And while Sollima confirms Blunt's character won't be returning in the sequel, he does hint about the chance of a cameo in a third film that he reveals is in development:
"The idea is to make three anthology movies with some of the core actors and 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's surprising to hear that, whether you were a fan of Sicario or not, a planned trilogy is in place, considering how modestly the first movie performed in financial terms. Often, if there's a big demand for a franchise, regardless of how its received critically, it'll get more sequels based foremost on its box office returns. Then again, Sicario's low-cost is a key factor to consider here.
No doubt Soldado has a skilled, ambitious director in Stefano Sollima in charge who'll be taking things in a different direction with a realigned story and familiar characters. Ideally, it'll offer something different enough to encourage existing fans as well as newcomers to engage with it, especially if it's the standalone, accessible action movie he's billing it as.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on all of the latest developments on Soldado as they become available.
Source: The Independent