The facts, for those of you in a hurry: Soldado is the sequel to last year’s amazing Sicario. It will star Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin; Emily Blunt will not be in it. Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan has written the script, and it will be directed not by the original’s Denis Villeneuve, but very likely by Italian filmmaker Stefano Sollima.*
That’s a lot of facts! The Sicario sequel development has been a brisk but emotional whirlwind. The film was first announced while Sicario was still in limited release, and was said to focus on “what happens next” to Del Toro’s tragic assassin Alejandro Gillick. In the initial sequel chatter, Villeneuve was still involved in an unspecified capacity, and as recently as two months ago, we heard Blunt was expected to return. But it now seems both their dance cards have gotten a touch too full – Blunt's with Mary Poppins Returns and a pregnancy, and Villeneuve’s with The Story Of Your Life and Another Blade Runner.
According to Deadline, Soldado (Spanish for "soldier") is headed back into those scary underground tunnels from Sicario, which are possibly being used this time to bring terrorists onto US soil. Director Sollima seems like a natural fit for this world: after shooting news reports for CNN and NBC from various war zones in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, he turned to narrative storytelling, most recently adapting the 2008 film Gomorrah into a popular television series in Italy.
Soldado is scheduled to shoot this fall. Wishful thinking, but will cinematographer Roger Deakins be lured back into the fold? Losing the lead actor, director, and cinematographer from the original might be a deal-breaker for some. On the other hand, the world seen in Sicario is just too compelling to decline a revisit out of hand.
*Personal, not entirely relevant trivia note: Fernano Sollima is the son of Italian director Sergio Sollima, whose praises I might have sung on this site before.