Sicario is another example of a film that gets better with each viewing. The first time watching it in theaters, I was thrown off by Emily Blunt‘s great, yet contained performance. Coming off a kick-ass performance in Edge of Tomorrow, my expectations were set to see more of the same from her in this film. However, as I watched the film again and again, I saw a different kind of Blunt, who despite all her character’s efforts and accomplishments during the drug cartel battle, felt useless when learning it barely made a difference in the war. She is a big reason why Sicario is hands down one of the best crime/mystery films in recent years.
Plans for a sequel, titled Soldado, are underway. However, it’s been known for some time that Blunt will unfortunately not be reprising her role as FBI agent Kate Mercer. We’ve never gotten a good explanation as to why, but that’s only part of the reason. I’ve found it difficult to buy into a sequel without her, even with Josh Brolin returning as government official Matt Graver and Benicio Del Toro as the scene stealing, mysterious mercenary Alejandro. However, the biggest loss is director Denis Villeneuve, who opted not to return in favor of Blade Runner 2. Combine that with Blunt’s missing presence, and there isn’t much to build off in the sequel.
It makes sense for Villeneuve to tackle something bigger and more ambitious, but how could you not bring back your female lead for the sequel? According to Sicario and upcoming Soldado screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, it was unnecessary to bring back Kate Mercer because there wasn’t any logical place to take her next:
“That was my decision, and at some point I’m going to have to talk to her about it. Her arc was complete… I couldn’t figure out a way to write a character that would do her talent justice. Look at what she went through. It was a difficult role. Here I write this lead character and then I use her as a surrogate for the audience. I make her completely passive against her own will so the audience feels the same impotence that a lot of law enforcement officers feel. I drag her through hell, and betray her in the end. It was an arduous journey for the character, and for Emily. That character had arc.
Sheridan later continued saying:
“What do you do next? She moves to some little town and becomes a sheriff and then gets kidnapped and then we have Taken? I had to tell the story that was true to this role, and I didn’t feel like I could create something with that character that would further the world that would do Emily’s character justice. That said, there could be room for Kate somewhere else down the road.”
Blunt has undoubtedly created a name for herself, especially in the action genre. Anyone who considers themselves a fan of hers can appreciate screenwriters like Taylor Sheridan, who recognize and respect her talent enough to give her something great. That’s what we all want from Blunt, something great, and we’ve seen what she can do when the material is just that. For those like myself bummed to hear she won’t return, it sounds like Sheridan and company have plans for more stories beyond this sequel, leaving the possibility of Blunt returning later.
The idea of Brolin and Del Toro being the through line in these films, with a new actor playing a character who’s forced to work with them, is intriguing. Yet, the loss of Villeneuve as director still looms over this sequel. Stefano Sollima steps in to helm Soldado, and with Sheridan’s script, he could make this sequel his own. This film marks his follow-up project after last year’s successful indie crime/drama Suburra. Catherine Keener (Capote) is also set to star in an unknown role. Production for the film is scheduled to begin early next year, setting a release date some time in 2017. Does this explanation for Emily Blunt not returning for Soldado give your more confidence in the sequel?
Sources: The Wrap