For many viewers, the most shocking elements of Sicario wasn't the film's violence or gore, but its bleak outlook on the war on drugs taking place both in the U.S. and Mexico, and its brutal treatment of its lead character, a naive agent played by Emily Blunt. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (who just got his first Oscar nomination for directing Arrival last year), from a screenplay by Taylor Sheridan, the film's story seemed to be fairly shut and closed, with its pessimistic ending leaving a rather long-lasting impression. Which is probably why it was so surprising when Lionsgate announced that it would be releasing a sequel to the 2015 thriller, titled Soldado.
Taylor Sheridan will be returning to write the screenplay for the sequel, while director Stefano Sollima will be taking over for Villeneuve at the helm. Interestingly enough too, the film will reportedly focus almost entirely on Benicio del Toro's hitman, Alejandro, and Josh Brolin's Matt Graver, with Blunt being one of the few original cast members not expected to return.
While recently speaking with Collider at the Sundance International Film Festival as well, Sheridan offered up the first, terrifying plot details about the sequel, saying that it will find Matt and Alejandro operating with even less supervision or restrictions than what they dealt with in Sicario:
“One of the producers called me and said, ‘If you were to do a sequel, how would you do it?’ and when he first brought it up I thought,’ Well of course you’re asking me.’ And then I had an idea, and I said, ‘Look you can’t really do a sequel, but I sure would love to see what happened if these guys didn’t have a chaperone.’ Because basically they’re operating within the United States, so I played with some actual laws that exist and found a way that they could operate more or less legally within the U.S. But they had a chaperone.
What happens if they weren’t in the U.S. and they didn’t have a chaperone? How bad or good would that work out? You’ve seen Sicario, good isn’t going to factor into it too much. I would say if Sicario is a film about the militarization of police and that blending over, this is removing the policing aspect from it."
Sheridan revealed the details while promoting his latest film, Wind River, at Sundance, which is not only his latest written effort but also his directorial debut. He got his start with his script for Sicario, and has been on a streak ever since, following up the 2015 film with last year's Hell or High Water, which he was just nominated for an Academy Award for. Wind River has been on the receiving end of mostly favorable reviews following its premiere at the festival last week also, and with Soldado, it seems like Sheridan doesn't plan on slowing down any time soon either.
Will there be a third film in the burgeoning Sicario franchise then? All Sheridan had to say on the matter was, "Who knows? I know what it would be if they did. I know exactly what it would be if they did.” It certainly seems fair to say that the writer has a firm grasp on this world and the characters in it - the same can be said for basically all of his scripts to date - and depending on how well-received Soldado is, then audiences could see what started out as a heavy, awards contender turn into one of the most philosophical and brutal franchises in the entertainment industry today. Whether or not it gets to that point, will have to wait to be seen though.
We will let you know when Soldado gets an official theatrical release date.