In 2015, Denis Villeneuve’s drug-war thriller Sicario roared into theaters with nothing more than a few enticing trailers and some film festival hype. But the film soon became an instant classic with critics, despite it never drawing in huge audiences. There were few other films that year that had Sicario’s extremely tense, nail-biting thrills. Sadly, the film ended up with just a modest box office haul of $84 million and three unsuccessful Oscar nominations. It seemed like all hope was dead for thriller to have any sort of shelf life.
A chance came, however, back in June when Lionsgate announced that a sequel titled Soldado was in the works, with a third “anthology” movie already in development. This came as very exciting yet confusing news for fans. While Sicario had seen a rise in popularity via home media and streaming platforms, the reasoning to green light a sequel sounded a little strange. What’s even more peculiar is that Sicario wrapped up most of its story threads pretty well. It left just enough mystery to linger in audiences’ minds while also injecting an eerily satisfying climax. But the film’s producers felt that Sicario's concept had a malleable quality to it. So the idea to do standalone sequels came to fruition. One might think that the film’s troubled protagonist, FBI agent Kate Mercer (Emily Blunt), would return too - but screenwriter Taylor Sheridan feels otherwise.
In a recent interview with The Wrap, Sheridan revealed that he just can’t find a way to logically write Mercer’s character into the sequel. He expressed his genuine sadness in knowing that this creative choice means not working with Blunt again:
“Look what she went through. It was a difficult role. Here I write this lead character and then I use her as a surrogate for the audience. I make her completely passive against her own will so the audience feels the same impotence that a lot of law enforcement officers feel, I drag her through hell, and betray her in the end. It was an arduous journey for the character, and for Emily. That character had arc.”
For those who haven’t checked out Sicario yet, the thriller follows Mercer on a special government mission along the America-Mexico border after a failed drug bust. The team’s mission is to take down the infamous drug boss Manuel Diaz, who has a total monopoly over all the trafficking in the region. Her task force is led by the charismatic but mysterious Matt Reeves (Josh Brolin). Accompanying them is the razor-sharp Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro), a prosecutor turned mercenary that has a personal vendetta against Diaz. Because Mercer was the (relatively) innocent one in all this, she became the fish out of water, so to speak. That said, it's odd to think she will not be returning for Soldado. The fortunate part of this new development is that Sicario focused just as much on Mercer as it did on Gillick. That means that the sequel will have plenty of room to explore his character, even though he will not be chaperoning Mercer in the process.
It’s a true godsend that Lionsgate has given Sicario this opportunity. But in the big scheme of things, it is a little bittersweet. The studio wanted Villeneuve to come back for the sequel, but he is currently busy doing Blade Runner 2049. Adding on that Mercer’s morally sound mind will not be present could make fans that much more skeptical about Soldado. The good part is that the anthology style of the sequel will allow for some interesting detours into the drug world. Let’s hope these changes are for the better.
Soldado and Sicario 3 are currently without release dates, but we will keep you updated as these projects develop.
Source: The Wrap