Normally, a sequel has a clear place after its predecessor, much like a prequel would come before said film. It's the natural order of cinema, but as we've seen from time to time, nature is fun to play around with. The folks behind the sequel to Denis Villeneuve's Sicario, are doing just that, as they've constructed a sequel that leaves you guessing as to whether it's a continuation or if it takes place during another time frame altogether.
Producer Basil Iwanyk recently spoke with Collider about the soon-to-wrap follow-up, Soldado, and he made some promising remarks about this new film's content. In particular, Iwanyk says that the new story will delve deeper into both Josh Brolin and Benecio del Toro's characters, and will fit right at home with our current political climate. But as to where it fits in the story, what he had to say was quite perplexing, as Iwanyk made the following statement:
You have no idea if it's before or after [the events of Sicario], if it's five years---you have no clue. There is no reference at all to the first Sicario, so you don't know when it happens... Sicario, the world isn't that specific. It's just these characters. And frankly we wanted audiences to experience the characters in real-time rather than having an exposition dump saying, 'Meanwhile in Sicario'...
On the bright side, the described approach to Soldado perfectly explains how Emily Blunt's character is not only absent from the film, but isn't really required at all. Still, this isn't the first time that the film has been distanced from Sicario, as director Stefano Solima had previously mentioned that this film is a pure stand-alone. So theoretically, you can enjoy Soldado without even watching Sicario, which is great for people new to the world of Alejandro and Graver. However, this does leave an interesting angle of enjoyment for those who caught the previous film: it challenges them to make it fit into a wider narrative arc.
Through the course of Soldado, there could be context clues that show where it truly belongs in the running order. At the very least, this is likely to spawn fan theories, think pieces and many nights of discussion over drinks or coffee. Movies at their best thrive on this sort of activity, so if Soldado lives up to Sicario's reputation, this could lead to an extended legacy, and quite possibly further follow-ups.
Soldado is set to be released at some point this year, with Sicario already available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, as well as instant streaming with Amazon Prime.