Is Soldado going to be a franchise?

Soldado is the sequel to the 2015 film Sicario. The film is in production right now and is likely to be released next year. It is intended as the next entry in a series with further instalments to come. The film makers have plans to produce a number of these films and create a saga which explores the drug trade in Mexico and America.

Sicario was a fine movie which combined drama and thriller elements. The film was a dark and menacing look at the cartels and criminal gangs in Mexico. It looked at the savagery and the danger of the cartels and how their crimes have crossed over into the United States.

The film featured Emily Blunt as its main character, a female FBI agent who is given a crash course in the horror of the drug wars. It also featured characters played by Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin who are more immersed in the world of the cartels. Denis Villeneuve was the director and he did great work on the movie, making it into a tense picture with an epic feel.

Soldado is the sequel and continues with some of the same characters and themes. Soldado is a word for soldier and the new film is about further conflict in the region. The story features the male characters going to Mexico to initiate a conflict between the drug cartels. Del Toro’s character aligns himself with the CIA to take down his enemies in the Mexican drug world.

(Denis Villeneuve and Benecio del Toro)

The producers intend for this to be a trilogy. They would make a number of these films set in the same world. The new film has been written as a stand alone narrative so even if the viewer hasn’t seen Sicario it will make sense. However it is part of a larger whole.

Certainly the first movie had a story which could be taken further. It was towards the end that it revealed who del Toro’s character actually was and what his motives were. It only grazed the surface of the character. Josh Brolin’s character was also an interesting lead, a CIA agent who is gritty and realistic about the work and what it demands. The differences in the two men allowed the film to explore the subject from various angles. This device could be used again in the new film.

The idea is for Soldado to launch a trilogy of stories, yet how likely is that? Well the first film was a success in creative and commercial terms so it is easy to see why they are proceeding with a sequel. Sicario made $85 million at the box office and more than doubled its budget, which is the hallmark of a successful production. It also enjoyed a lot of critical acclaim and was nominated for a number of Oscars and Baftas. The producers will be looking for Soldado to do as well and it could achieve that.

The new film retains some of the talent from the first film. The production on the film began in November in New Mexico and is going to continue through the winter. Brolin and del Toro are returning, though this time without Emily Blunt. The cast also includes Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener and Isabela Moner

Sicario and Soldado are both written by the same writer, Taylor Sheridan. However the films shall have different directors. Sicario was directed by Denis Villeneuve. Soldado on the other hand is directed by Stefano Sollima. Villeneuve has made a name for himself recently with movies like Sicario and Arrival. But who is Sollima?

Sollima is an Italian director who has a long career in TV and film. He worked on the TV dramas Romanzo Criminale and Gomorrah, which are highly acclaimed series about Italian crime networks and the mafia. He has made a film called Suburra which focuses on crime and politics. Soldado is set to be his third film as well as his English language debut. His work suggests that he is a good fit for this film and that he has an affinity for this kind of story

The setting and the subject certainly lends itself to good storytelling. The FX television series The Bridge covered the same topic and ran for two series. The drug wars in Mexico are one of the most difficult situations of the modern world and have had a huge effect on the region. America has intervened in the situation to debatable results and has tried for a long time to control it.

A film like Sicario is able to explore this topic and is attuned to the nuances of it. Clearly the writer of the film has more to say about the condition of Mexico and the effects of the drug trade on America. The sequel should give him the opportunity to look at it further.

The filming of Soldado is set to conclude in February of next year. It seems quite likely to work after Sicario did so well. The producers may find that their idea to launch a franchise comes to fruition.

Image – 487843360 Benicio del Toro
Author – Bruno Chatelin at Flickr.


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