‘Sicario 2’ Gains Title and New Director, Loses Star Emily Blunt

A lot can change on a film in two months. In the beginning of April it was announced that a “Sicario” sequel was fully in the works, with scribe Taylor Sheridan back to pen the script. It was assumed at the time that the main players in the first film – Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin and director Denis Villeneuve – would be back. Now, that is not the case.

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Villeneuve’s schedule was too full, so he passed on the project and now Stefano Sollima (“Gomorrah”) is in talks to take over. In the report, the outlet notes that Brolin and Del Toro will both be returning, but Blunt is no longer attached to the project. No reason is given for Blunt’s sudden departure, but with the recent news that she is headlining the “Mary Poppins” sequel, it could be that her schedule is just too full as well.

The first film, which followed a principled FBI agent recruited by the government to take down the leader of a powerful Mexican drug cartel, was a surprise hit. It went on to gross $80 million worldwide (the budget for the film was $30 million) and racked up three Academy Award nominations for cinematography, score and sound editing.

In April, producer Trent Luckinbill had said of the sequel:

Taylor’s a really great world-builder. He’s got that kind of modern Western voice, which is in vogue right now. And he did it again [with the sequel]. It’s a great big world. We can’t reveal the plot, but you’ll see [Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin] all come back. You have such a great character with Benicio, who was as dark as he was and still so loved. That character resonates so well with audiences. People want to know what happened to him, so it’s a perfect foray for us to explore. Obviously we would love it if Denis [Villeneuve] could [direct]. He’s a busy man, but he’s certainly part of the process with us right now.

Along with the aforementioned changes comes the news that the sequel will be called “Soldado,” which is Spanish for “soldier.”

No word yet on when “Soldado” will be filmed or released.