Martin Scorsese’s latest film has grossed over $125 million domestically, and has become an award nomination black hole. Even though [spoiler alert] most of the main characters are no longer living by the time the credits role, talk has already begun of a Departed sequel.
According to industry sources, Departed screenwriter William Monahan is working on follow-up story that would bring back Mark Wahlberg’s character. The screenplay would also introduce a new mob boss which is being scripted for none other than Robert De Niro. The studio is also considering making a prequel.
De Niro was originally offered the role taken by Martin Sheen in the original film, but was too tied up with his directing duties on The Good Shepherd to accept.
If this is true, Scorsese would need to approve any development on the project, with or without him.
When Warner Bros acquired the rights to adapt the Honk Kong crime thriller Infernal Affairs in 2003, it also nabbed the rights to the film’s two sequels. In Hong Kong, Affairs did exceptionally well and was considered “a box office miracle”. It was heralded as a revival of Hong Kong cinema which at the time was considered to be direly lacking in creativity. It’s 2003 follow-up was a prequel, while still good, was not comparable to the first film. The third film was both a sequel and semi-prequel (similar to The Godfather Part II), as it inter-cuts events prior to and after the original’s events.