Reports of a possible sequel to Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed have been floating around pretty much since its release, but we haven’t heard any solid news about a follow-up in quite some time. In a recent interview, however, screenwriter William Monahan re-ignited the conversation by revealing his thoughts on a possible storyline for the sequel — though he was also careful to warn that he thinks it may never happen. Read more after the jump.

Monahan recently sat down with Collider for a long interview that covered everything from Kingdom of Heaven and the screenwriting process to Monahan’s directorial debut London Boulevard, which hits theaters next month. The conversation also touched upon the potential for a The Departed 2. (Note: MAJOR SPOILERS follow for the ending of The Departed; I strongly advise that you skip the next paragraph if you haven’t seen the film.)

Fans of the first film will recall that it ends with the death of many major characters, including leads Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon). Which, of course, raises the obvious question of what a sequel would entail. Monahan, happily, has come up with a way to work around that conclusion and even bring everyone back. (End spoilers.)

Here’s Monahan’s idea:

My idea actually is to set the film before, during and after the action of the first film, which I think would be extraordinary… Essentially, in the middle section of the thing I’ve intended, you’d see actions that take place during the original Departed, but aren’t on screen in the original Departed. There would be off-screen things that occur at that point in the story. But it would work seamlessly as a movie of its own.

However, Monahan was also quite frank about the fact that a sequel might not ever get off the ground. When asked, “Do you think it will ever happen?” the scribe gave the following response:

No. I think Warner Bros. would have liked to see a synopsis of it. I don’t do synopses and I don’t pitch. Personally, I don’t know if it’s ever going to happen. I know the film, I’ve got the film in my head. Even if everybody didn’t come back, which they could in the film as I’ve configured it, it would be a hell of a paycheck for somebody to write. The film would have to be absolutely superb.

Monahan’s been rumored to be working on a sequel — possibly even a trilogy — as early as 2007, but back then the word was that the story would feature Mark Wahlberg‘s character Dignam facing off against a new mob boss played by Robert De Niro. Monahan also said around that time that although The Departed was based on the Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, he thought “there wasn’t anything [he] could use” from the original film’s two sequels. But seeing as Infernal Affairs 2 was a prequel and Infernal Affairs 3 took place both before and after the events of the first movie, perhaps Monahan eventually found some inspiration in the Hong Kong sequels after all.

Monahan first burst onto the scene in 2005 with Kingdom of Heaven, and quickly became a hot commodity after the commercial and critical success of 2006′s The Departed. Among his upcoming  screenwriting gigs are another long-awaited sequel, Sin City 2; the remake of The Gambler; and the comic book adaptation Horizons (formerly titled Oblivion). He’s also getting ready to direct a second picture, which will either be the 12th century drama Becket or an original thriller titled Mojave. Head over to Collider to read the rest of their interview with Monahan.

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