While not quite as delayed as a nearly-forty-year gap sequel like Top Gun: Maverick, Heat 2 is almost three decades in the making. According to an interview with Deadline, Mann has always intended on revisiting Hanna and master criminal Neil McCauley’s (Robert De Niro) mythos, saying, “There was always a rich history or back-story about the events in these people’s lives before 1995 in Heat and projection of where their lives would take them after.” The Harper Collins novel that is set to release on August 9 is an ambitious span of Heat‘s past and future, examining the six years prior to the events of Heat, beginning one day after the end credits roll. The lens pulls out from the original film’s tight focus on Los Angeles, exploring the expansive underworld of international crime, but still aims to dig into the core of what made these two noir archetypes, Hanna and McCauley, who they’d become in Heat. As ambitious as the novel sound, Mann made the sequel film official in a post on Twitter, teasing fans that “Heat 2 is coming soon.”
Mann said of the upcoming novel and film:
“When I was writing the film, it was imperative for me to create complete life stories about all the characters and to know everything about them, including Neil McCauley’s early institutionalized years when he lost track of his brother, before he parachuted into the streets, young, angry and dangerous. And, the novel shows a McCauley very much attached and the dramatic events that resulted in his dictum that “if you’re making moves on the street, have no attachments, allow nothing to be in your life that you cannot walk out on in thirty seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner.”
In 1995, Heat was the first film that had the two Hollywood titans neck and neck with one another, but only after the director painfully constructed just enough tension to reach a perfect boiling point. The two characters were both larger than life, and in the end, they had to be each other’s downfall. Pacino and De Niro play two extreme protagonists consumed by their own lofty ideals, one a brilliant police detective, the other a master thief, destined by the gods to foil one another. Mann‘s sequel will expand on what metals and fire forged the men that they ultimately became, to their detriment, and what collateral was left in the wake of their collision.
As a filmmaker, Mann is dedicated to bringing an unquestionable authenticity to his films. He pulls from real-life, as in the real-life criminal master Neil McCauley, and even attributes Hanna’s “restless ambition” to Mann‘s own existential examination in an interview with The New York Times. The director credits the theme of cynicism towards the system in his work to his father and strives to make his films like 1981’s Thief, Miami Vice, and Collateral as anchored in reality as he can while still creating cinematic moments that cement his films in the artistry.
Heat 2 will return to the world Mann has kept exploring in his mind since the late ’70s, with a conclusion he says will feel “both ironic and complete.” Fans will get a deeper understanding of the iconic Hanna and McCauley, while simultaneously seeing where the end of Heat left McCauley’s protégé, Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer). Check out the Twitter post from Mann, and the trailer from Heat, below: