Over the past few years, Taylor Sheridan has quickly become one of the most sought-after screenwriters working in Hollywood today. While most might know him for his now Oscar-nominated work on last year's Hell or High Water too, it was actually 2015's Sicario that first announced Sheridan on the scene. A brutal and thrilling deep dive into the complicated dynamics of the drug war, the film was not only received as yet another exciting outing from director Denis Villeneuve at the time but as an unexpected commentary - on the effects the drug war has on society in both America and Mexico.
However, the film's story seemed rather straightforward and closed by the time it ended. That is probably why when Lionsgate first announced work on a sequel film, titled Soldado, it was met with some scrutiny and confusion by fans of the first film. But with both Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro set to return for it, based on a new script written by Sheridan himself, Soldado is quickly becoming one of the more interesting and unexpected sequels in recent memory.
While recently speaking with Collider at the John Wick: Chapter Two junket, producer Basil Iwanyk opened up for the first time about the new film. Praising the quality of Sheridan's script, Iwanyk teased that Soldado is actually less of a direct sequel to Sicario, and more of a standalone film existing in the same world with the same characters:
“You have no idea if it’s before or after [the events of Sicario], if it’s five years—you have no clue. There is no reference at all to the first Sicario, so you don’t know when it happens… Sicario, the world isn’t that specific. It’s just these characters. And frankly we wanted audiences to experience the characters in real-time rather than having an exposition dump saying, ’Meanwhile in Sicario’…”
Now, this also comes following Sheridan's recent comments about the sequel, with the screenwriter teasing the supposedly even darker and more terrifying tone of the follow-up film. Even though the movie is set to feature the returns of both Brolin and Del Toro also, it will not feature the return of Emily Blunt as Kate Macer. Despite Kate being the main character in Sicario, Sheridan and several of the sequel's other major creative players have said that she was excluded from the sequel because Sheridan didn't feel like her character had anywhere else to go after Sicario.
Director Denis Villeneuve won't be returning for the sequel either, even despite his direction and collaboration with cinematographer Roger Deakins being one of Sicario's best-defining traits. Instead, Suburra director Stefano Sollima is set to take over at the helm, since Villeneuve is likely busy with finishing up Blade Runner 2049 right now anyway. Soldado is currently set to hit theaters sometime this year as well, though there's no official word on a solid release date as of yet. Nonetheless, if it can manage to capture even just an fraction of the same tone and feel of its predecessor, it could very easily emerge as one of this year's dark horse hits.
Soldado is currently set to hit theaters sometime in 2017.