The Departed has been hailed as one of the best films from the 2000s, with acclaim coming from both critics and audiences. After becoming a runaway success and an awards season darling in 2007, it seemed like a sequel would be the next best move. It made sense with the film being a remake of the Hong Kong crime film series Infernal Affairs, but unfortunately, it never came to fruition. That wasn’t for a lack of trying, as star Mark Wahlberg and writer William Monahan gave a Departed sequel pitch involving Brad Pitt that didn’t go over so well.
The crime film was riding high after winning four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It scored Mark Wahlberg his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and is regarded by many as one of his best movies. So he was invested in making another film since his character in The Departed was the lone member of the main lineup to survive. After years of speculation surrounding a possible sequel, Wahlberg spilled to the KFC Radio podcast why his pitch ended up falling flat:
For any potential sequel, pitching an idea can be a make-or-break moment. Unfortunately, things went awry. Mark Wahlberg revealed he and William Monahan went into the meeting without having a fleshed-out script. The duo pitched the Departed sequel together as they were working on American Desperado at the time. Having won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, Monahan’s idea should’ve had a strong chance of being greenlit, but that’s where things went wrong, according to Wahlberg:
Warner Bros., the studio that released The Departed, didn’t want to greenlight an unwritten sequel despite the original film’s critical and commercial success. The studio just wanted to make sure its time, energy and money were going toward an actual story and not some cobbled-together idea. But Monahan did have some idea about a potential storyline, as Wahlberg mentioned Robert De Niro and Brad Pitt were some of the A-listers the writer suggested.
Mark Wahlberg gave some levity to those Departed 2 rumors that were floating around for years. The Departed producer Roy Lee revealed in 2016 why it didn’t happen, which came down to an expensive budget and Martin Scorsese not wanting to do one. Scorsese's stance made sense, as he recalled the Oscar-nominated crime film was horrible to film, citing the dark subject matter and post-production as being hard for him. So that basically killed the potential sequel before it could even be written.
Still, the crime classic’s legacy has continued to live on as the cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, have prospered in Hollywood over the last decade and a half. If you want to relive all the heart-stopping twists and turns, you can subscribe to HBO Max to watch The Departed. While streaming the film, take a great peek at some of the best movies on HBO Max.
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