Production is merely days away from wrapping on one of the most unlikely sequels in recent memory, Soldado, but already fans are chomping at the bit to get a look at this thing. Sicario was one of the best films released in 2015 (the best, according to yours truly), but it wasn’t exactly begging for a sequel. That’s why heads were left scratching when Lionsgate moved forward with Sicario 2, titled Soldado. The assumption was maybe it would be a ripoff of sorts, or a direct-to-DVD venture. But no. Sicario scribe Taylor Sheridan churned out a script that had everyone eager to make Soldado a reality. Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin signed on to reprise their roles, filmmaker Stefano Sollima was set to direct, and now the film is nearly finished shooting.
Collider’s own Steve Weintraub recently spoke with producer Basil Iwanyk in anticipation of the release of John Wick: Chapter 2, and he revealed that filming is due to wrap in a couple of days in Mexico City while offering a tantalizing tease of what’s to come:
“The script was amazing. Truly, I think you could argue that it was better than the first script. It’s a bigger movie; it is just as intense, just as disturbing, just as emotional. You’re going deeper into both Josh Brolin’s character and Benicio’s character, and I think people are going to be shocked by how relevant the movie is in this current environment, with our new president and what’s going on politically in that world.”
This echoes what Sheridan himself told me last week when I spoke to him at Sundance, as the Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water scribe went so far as to say people are going to claim he had a crystal ball when Soldado hits theaters.
For those worried that the departure of director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins will result in a disappointing follow-up, Iwanyk has some words of encouragement:
“The aesthetic of that movie, our director Stefano Sollima is able to kind of extend that aesthetic and augment it. So if you love the first movie, I truly believe you’re going to love this movie if not more. There’s more bells and whistles and we go deeper with the characters, especially with Benicio’s character.”
We learned last year that Emily Blunt’s character would not be returning for the follow-up, not because of any discord or contract disagreements, but simply because Sheridan couldn’t find an organic way to carry her character on into the follow-up:
“I have to stress that we love Emily personally and professionally. She’s amazing. She did incredible in the movie, but I think Taylor realized there was nowhere for her to go. Taylor didn’t know where to bring her in the second movie, so he decided it would feel less contrived, less sequel-y, if she wasn’t in the second movie and it was just dealing with Benicio and Josh’s characters. And also again, not really having a relationship to the first movie. It’s more of like another chapter in some ways.”
Interestingly enough, it sounds like Soldado won’t have to explain why Blunt’s character isn’t involved—you won’t really be able to tell if it’s a sequel or a prequel:
“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’…”