When Sicario hit theaters in 2015, few expected it to spawn a sequel. Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s thriller was a searing, thrilling indictment of America’s foreign policy, with a tremendous script by Taylor Sheridan, but it seemed to wrap up in a manner that was satisfying thematically, plot-wise, and character-wise. Regardless, Sicario 2 moved ahead with Sheridan penning the script, resulting in the now-filming follow-up Soldado.
Sheridan has since become a household name as a writer with his Oscar-nominated script for Hell or High Water, and so excitement for Soldado continues to build. On the day after his Oscar nomination I got the chance to speak with Sheridan about his new directorial effort, the thriller Wind River. The film just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to positive response, and I can attest that it carries a similar vibe to Sicario and Hell or High Water in that it plays with Western tropes, is another law enforcement-centric story, and features a pair of dynamo performances—this time from Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen. It’s one hell of a promising installment from Sheridan as a director, and I can’t wait to see what he tackles next.
During the course of our conversation, I asked Sheridan how Soldado even came about given that Sicario didn’t exactly seem like sequel material. The scribe explained and also offered up some tantalizing (and terrifying) plot teases:
“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.”
When I asked Sheridan if the film still tackles a law enforcement point of view now that we know Emily Blunt’s character isn’t part of it, he offered up this ominous nugget:
“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.”
We do know that the sequel follows Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro’s characters, who were not so great dudes to begin with, and who are now operating outside the U.S. without oversight. Stefano Sollima is directing the follow-up, and in speaking further about the Sicario sequel, Sheridan revealed that it has, unfortunately, turned out to be rather timely:
“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.”