From the moment Lionsgate confirmed that it was developing a sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s 2015 drug war thriller Sicario, the studio has been adamant that it’s not just doing the first movie a second time. For starters, Emily Blunt’s character won’t be returning, and the plot focuses on Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro’s characters instead. Also, Italian director Stefano Sollima is replacing Villeneuve, and he’s claimed that it will be “absolutely a standalone movie” that just happens to feature some of the same characters and take place in the same world.
Now, in a recent interview with Collider, producer Basil Iwanyk has underlined just how standalone it is. Apparently, the film—titled Soldado—will be so disconnected from the events of Sicario that viewers will “have no idea if it’s before or after” the events of that movie. It could be a sequel or it could be a prequel, but we’ll never know because “there is no reference at all to the first Sicario.” Apparently, the idea was to recapture the appeal of the first movie without alienating anyone who didn’t see it, while also telling a new story that expands on its world.
As for how it will be doing that, Collider notes that it’s moving from drugs to the prickly topic of immigration, and Iwanyk says that “people are going to be shocked by how relevant the movie is.” He specifically references “our new president” and “what’s going on politically,” so it seems pretty safe to say that Soldado is going to be a fairly timely story.