Diego Luna's Narcos: Mexico season 3 absence explained

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

From Digital Spy

Narcos: Mexico spoilers follow.

Fans of Narcos: Mexico will be thrilled to hear that the crime drama is returning for season three.

It's been more than eight months since the second chapter arrived on Netflix, but the best things in life are worth waiting for and we finally have confirmation that it's all systems go.

With Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna) in jail for drug smuggling, racketeering, violent crimes and the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Peña), other warring factions up the ante to assume maximum power. Season three, set in the '90s, will explore that conflict, which birthed a new generation of Mexican kingpins.

"But in this war, truth is the first casualty," reads the official synopsis. "And every arrest, murder and takedown only pushes real victory further away."

Photo credit: Carlos Somonte/Netflix
Photo credit: Carlos Somonte/Netflix

"It's very much an acceleration into chaos," former showrunner Eric Newman previously told Collider.

"Félix Gallardo going to jail, and the splintering of this thing he had built into these fiefdoms, was the beginning of the first incredibly violent chapter of the drug war.

"It gets really ugly, because that thing that held everybody together, which was Félix Gallardo and his dream, is gone, and so the killing starts."

He added: "As we watch this happen, we're rooting for the old guys to win. Because the reality of the new generation, be it the Jalisco cartel or Los Zetas or any of these groups, they are just about bodies hanging from telephone poles.

"Season two of Mexico is really where we reach that point of no return."

Photo credit: Michael Tran - Getty Images
Photo credit: Michael Tran - Getty Images

It's Carlo Bernard (he played Tony Almeida in 24, and has directed on the likes of Hawaii Five-0, Criminal Minds, MacGyver and FBI) who will take the lead on season three, with Newman on board as an executive producer.

Given that he's working on several projects for Netflix, including Painkiller, a limited-series about the opioid crisis in America, The Upper World starring Daniel Kaluuya, and Spiderhead with Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller, it's unsurprising that Newman has handed the reins over to Bernard.

"I am grateful for my five years at the helm of Narcos and Narcos: Mexico and am immensely proud of what this spectacular team has achieved with these shows," he said in a statement.

"Carlo Bernard is the first person I ever spoke to about this project, over 10 years ago, and I am extremely pleased to leave the steering of season three in his very capable hands."

Photo credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Photo credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

It was announced that the following cast members will all be back for season three: Scoot McNairy (Walt Breslin), Jose Maria Yazpik (Amado Carrillo Fuentes), Alberto Ammann (Hélmer Herrera aka Pacho), Alfonso Dosal (Benjamín Arellano Félix), Mayra Hermosillo (Enedina Arellano Félix), Matt Letscher (Jaime Kuykendall), Manuel Masalva (Ramón Arellano Félix), Alejandro Edda (Joaquín Guzmán aka El Chapo), and Gorka Lasaosa (Héctor Luis Palma Salazar).

But in big news, Luna will not feature.

Sure, Gallardo is currently behind bars (both in Narcos and in real life), but he continued to run his operation from a cell for a few years via mobile phone until he was transferred to a maximum security prison, which swiftly put a stop to that.

The writers could easily have factored him in, something that Luna himself acknowledged during an interview with Refinery29 back in February.

Photo credit: Carlos Somonte/Netflix
Photo credit: Carlos Somonte/Netflix

"He's in jail and, I mean, there are jails in Mexico that are actually offices, where you can still operate," he said. "You just have to open the news. Every once in a while there is news about a jail where they were making phone calls from jail, getting people in and out.

"There was an escape, and I mean, El Chapo has the most flashy ones. But there was one recently, like weeks ago or a week ago, that people who got out of jail escaped...pretty easily through the front door. So 'in jail' does not necessarily mean you're out of the business."

But Luna's time on the show is done.

Photo credit: Carlos Somonte/Netflix
Photo credit: Carlos Somonte/Netflix

Speaking to IndieWire in April, he gave some insight into why he wouldn't be going back there again.

"Not for now, not for now, no, no, no," he said when asked if he would return. "At the beginning it was fun, but then it became really heavy for me.

"I need rest, those two years were really intense for me."

So, there you have. The man is knackered, and we don't blame him.

Plus, he's got his hands full with the currently untitled Cassian Andor series for Disney+, which has been described as a "rousing spy thriller" and will reportedly focus on the insurgence of the Rebel Alliance.

Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

"Going back to the Star Wars universe is very special for me," said Luna in a statement. "I have so many memories of the great work we did together and the relationships I made throughout the journey.

"We have a fantastic adventure ahead of us, and this new exciting format will give us the chance to explore this character more deeply."

Other cast members include Genevieve O'Reilly and Alan Tudyk, who return as Mon Mothma and K-2SO respectively, alongside Adria Arjona (6 Underground), Denise Gough (The Fall), Kyle Soller (Poldark) and Stellan Skarsgård (Thor, Avengers).

Photo credit: Jonathan Olley ©Lucasfilm
Photo credit: Jonathan Olley ©Lucasfilm

Tony Gilroy (Bourne series, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is showrunning and executive producing, but due to Covid travel restrictions (he lives in New York and filming will take place in the UK), Toby Haynes (Black Mirror, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Amazon's adaptation of Utopia) is directing the first three episodes.

Filming was supposed to kick off in 2019, but it was then moved to June 2020, before hitting another delay.

But fear not, friends. It is still happening, with Deadline reporting that production is expected to start any day now.

Watch this space for updates.

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