According to a new Collider interview with producer Basil Iwanyk, Soldado - the forthcoming sequel to Denis Villeneuve's Sicario - is neither a sequel nor prequel to Denis Villeneuve's 2015 film. Except maybe it is. You won't know, and that's intentional.
“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’…”
We like this approach! No one wanted an origin tale for either Benicio Del Toro's Alejandro or Josh Brolin's shadowy CIA agent, Graver, and explicitly establishing the film as a sequel would only make Emily Blunt's absence all the more glaring (if you hadn't heard, she's not coming back for Soldado).
Elsewhere in the same interview, Iwanyk says Soldado will be uncomfortably timely ("I think people are going to be shocked by how relevant the movie is in this current environment") and explains why screenwriter Taylor Sheridan opted not to bring back Blunt's Agent Macer ("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 sequel]").
You can head over to Collider to read the rest of the interview in full, or you can head on down to the comments section to reminisce about what an ass-kicking experience it was to see Sicario for the first time. Even typing the title makes me want to drop what I'm doing and watch it again.