Mark Wahlberg's Pitch For The Departed Sequel With Robert De Niro And Brad Pitt Fell Flat On Its Face

Spoilers for "The Departed" follow, so beware.

Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" features a star-studded cast and an action-packed story, so it's no surprise that there was some talk of a sequel. Mark Wahlberg gave an Oscar-nominated performance as Sergeant Dignam, a significant supporting role. The actor spearheaded a follow-up to "The Departed" along with the film's screenwriter, William Monahan. Sadly, the idea was turned down, and Monahan has a pretty good idea why.

The stacked bill of the original "Departed" included Leonardo Dicaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson, all of whom were killed off by the end of the film. Wahlberg was the only actor with a surviving character, and he wanted to bring in a new crop of Hollywood legends for a follow-up. "Like [Robert] De Niro and Brad Pitt, and you know, that sort of thing," the actor explained to KFC Radio.

Monahan had his own idea of how he would lengthen and flesh out his original story in this subsequent film. "My idea actually is to set the film before, during and after the action of the first film, which I think would be extraordinary," he told /Film in 2011. "You'd see actions that take place during the original 'Departed,' but aren't on screen in the original 'Departed'... but it would work seamlessly as a movie of its own."

Sadly, things did not exactly play out as Wahlberg and Monahan had envisioned. "Let's just say the pitch didn't go very well," Wahlberg confessed to KFC Radio. "[Monahan] didn't really have anything fleshed out, but he's the kind of guy who you just trust to go and write something, right?" Warner Bros did not share Wahlberg's sentiment, and the sequel was rejected.

The screenwriter sunk the pitch

The "Departed" screenwriter admits that he was responsible for the sequel's failure to launch. "I think Warner Bros. would have liked to see a synopsis of it. I don't do synopses, and I don't pitch," he explained to /Film. As to whether or not a sequel would ever be on the horizon, Monahan isn't so sure. "Personally, I don't know if it's ever going to happen," he admitted. "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."

It's doubtful that Monahan's idea could be executed so many years past the original film's release, but he could always return to the project and write something more like Wahlberg had imagined. If he brought in a new cast that included names like De Niro and Pitt, a franchise-happy studio just might invest. "The film would have to be absolutely superb," Monahan conceded.

However, even if a sequel was green-lit, it's unlikely that Scorsese would direct it. The filmmaker has famously expressed his disdain for movie franchises. "They are sequels in name, but they are remakes in spirit," he wrote in The New York Times. Scorsese values the "absolutely new" and "unexpected" in filmmaking, qualities that sequels often lack. He himself has only ever directed one — "The Color of Money," a 1986 follow-up to Robert Rossen's classic film "The Hustler."

Even though fans of "The Departed" might not have a sequel to look forward to, they can appreciate the fact that the original was never sullied by artless franchising. Wahlberg and Monahan had good intentions in pitching a follow-up film, but Warner Brothers ultimately made the right call — even if it was for the wrong reasons.