Lionsgate found themselves a very unlikely franchise last year, or at least that is the hope. The drug cartel thriller Sicario was a modest box office hit but a tremendous critical smash. Even though it wrapped up very nicely and felt like a complete story, the studio decided to green light a sequel. Unfortunately, Emily Blunt won't be back for Sicario 2, titled Soldado, but screenwriter Tayler Sheridan has a good reason for that.
Sicario 2 won't be a direct sequel to Sicario, it will be a standalone movie. Speaking with The Wrap recently, Tayler Sheridan explained that he would really like to work with Emily Blunt again, but couldn't find a logical story reason to bring her character back, given the events of the first movie. Here is what he had to say.
"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."
There are plenty of stories to tell within the world that was built in Sicario, but part of the reason it was somewhat surprising to hear Sicario 2 was on the way has to do with what Taylor Sheridan is talking about. Emily Blunt's character Kate Mercer, the main focus of the movie, wrapped up her story pretty well, so there didn't seem to be a reason to continue on. To drag her through more wouldn't make sense. So at least with Soldado, the creative team is trying to do what best suits the story and not trying to force in a part for a big star just because they want her name on it. That said, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin are both slated to return. Speaking with Independent shortly after the project was announced, the director for the sequel, Stefano Sollima, talked a bit about why that is.
"It's not a real sequel. It's absolutely a standalone movie -- a completely different story with just two of the characters that you met in Sicario. 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."
Stefano Sollima has also teased that a Sicario 3 is already in the early stages at Lionsgate as well, so apparently, they have high hopes for the potential franchise. Sadly, director Denis Villeneuve will not be returning to direct Soldado, as he is currently busy filming the Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049. At the moment, Denis Villeneuve is batting 1000, as all three of his directorial efforts, Prisoners, Sicario and this year's sci-fi hit Arrival, have all been incredibly well received. So hopefully the sequel can maintain the same standard of quality without him at the helm.
The story of Sicario was set in the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, where an idealistic FBI agent is exposed to the brutal world of international drug trafficking by members of a government task force who have enlisted her in their plan to take out a Mexican cartel boss. Along the way, things get brutal, twisted, messy and very gray. We still don't know exactly what the story of Soldado will center on, but there is a lot to play with in the world they set up. Lionsgate has yet to set a date for the sequel, but we will be sure to keep you posted as details become available.