When is a sequel not a sequel? When it doesn’t feature the main (and best) character from the previous film. Then, it can be argued, it’s more of a spinoff. Whichever label you choose to give it, the film that will follow Denis Villeneuve’s surprise hit Sicario is now in production, and all eyes were recently on its writer, Taylor Sheridan, as he promoted his new movie, Wind River, at the Sundance Film Festival.
“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.”
It’s Taylor Sheridan that makes Soldado an interesting prospect. He wrote Sicario – creating each of the characters and the communities in which they circulate – so for him to be tasked with expanding upon that is a great storytelling opportunity indeed. It’s all too rare for writers to be afforded the chance to further mine the cinematic roles they invented. Unfortunate, though it may be, that Emily Blunt’s Kate Macer is not among those characters being revisited, we will be seeing Josh Brolin’s Matt Graver and Benicio Del Toro’s Alejandro once again.
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We’ll also be meeting new characters, played by incoming cast members Matthew Modine, Isabela Moner, Catherine Keener and Jeffrey Donovan. But, as is ever the case with franchise instalments, little is officially known about the plot. When questioned, Taylor Sheridan simply hinted at the way in which the plot of Soldado would oppose that of Sicario.
“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.”
In the context of global politics, both Sicario and Soldado could be thought of as being highly relevant – not least with the rise of the Trump administration in the United States. Taylor Sheridan, for his part, acknowledged the fact that these types of storylines are eerily appropriate.
“Unfortunately there is still much to mine in this world and explore creatively. People are gonna think I have a crystal ball—I don’t—but the current political activities are oddly timely to what Soldado confronts.”
The question of whether we will see more from this burgeoning franchise will clearly depend upon the way in which Soldado – which is directed by Stefano Sollima (Suburra) – is received by audiences. Taylor Sheridan can confirm that, should studio executives be interested in a third film, he knows “exactly what it would be.” For his Sicario series, it would certainly seem that the plot thickens. We will find out soon whether this translates to success for Soldado.