10:25pm PT by Jackie Strause
'Narcos' Premiere: Boss, Cast Promise Deadly Second Season of Pablo Escobar Drama
Who killed Pablo Escobar?
That was the big question at the premiere for season two of Narcos on Wednesday night — and the big question surrounding the next 10 episodes when they are released Sept. 2.
A series based on true events, it's not a spoiler to say that the Netflix drug cartel drama is going to kill Escobar. The legendary cocaine kingpin was gunned down in Medellin, Colombia in 1993.
While the first season spanned over two decades of the Escobar story — detailing his rise and reign of the Medellin cartel, and eventual prison escape in the finale — season two will focus on the year-and-a-half hunt for Escobar, which, as history tells it, ends in his demise.
"This will be the end of the Pablo Escobar story, so enjoy him while he lasts," executive producer Eric Newman announced ahead of the screening of the first episode at Arclight Hollywood, where castmembers including Wagner Moura, Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal were in attendance, as well as the real DEA agents portrayed on the series, Steve Murphy and Javier Pena. He then added, "Viva Colombia!"
In July, Moura, who plays Escobar, announced that Escobar will be killed off the show and that he will depart Narcos after season two.
When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at the premiere, Newman admits that the marketing campaign teasing Escobar's death might be "controversial," but he stands by it.
"I remember the Titanic argument: Who's going to see a movie where everyone knows the ending?" he said. "The decision to be able to actually invest time spent with Pablo Escobar knowing that the end is near will allow people to experience it in a different way."
He continued, "We love Pablo. We don't love the man, but we love our character we've built and who Wagner has played so well. We want people to join in mourning him right away, because it's hard to say goodbye to him."
As he puts it, season two is about the journey as much as it is about its destination: "I think it's even better than season one."
Narcos will continue to follow President Cesar Gaviria and his Search Bloc as other outside forces, including vigilante group Los Pepes and the rival Cali Cartel, join in on the manhunt.
The Search Bloc, the Colombian police force organized to bring down Escobar, remains at the heart of the Narcos story, as do its two leading DEA Agents Murphy (Holbrook) and Pena (Pascal).
"I didn't know much at all about the details of Pablo's death," Holbrook told THR. "Not until I started hanging out with Steve [Murphy] and getting in there with him. It was just shocking. It's iconic, the amount of death and violence."
Pedro Pascal and Boyd Holbrook (left) and the DEA agents they portray, Steve Murphy (Holbrook) and Javier Pena (Pascal). (Photo: Getty)
With so many Escobar enemies looking for payback, everything boils down to who will get to Escobar first — an ending that history won't spoil in its entirety.
While the Search Bloc is credited with killing the drug lord, the identity of the person who fired the final shot to Escobar's head has never been confirmed.
On Dec. 2, 1993, Escobar was lured out of his hideout in Medellin and gunned down in a rooftop shootout between himself, his bodyguard, and the Search Bloc. He was shot in the leg and torso and died from a fatal shot in his ear.
After his death, several family members claimed Escobar's fatal shot was self-inflicted. Escobar's son, Juan Pablo Escobar Henao, said his father always told him that if he ever found himself surrounded, he would shoot himself to avoid capture. The Escobar family even exhumed his corpse for DNA testing in 2006.
Narcos uses the real Murphy and Pena as show consultants to separate fact from fiction.
"I just read Juan Pablo's book," Murphy told THR. "For him to stand back and say that his father committed suicide because he said this or that, it's all bullshit. None of that is true. I think that's just him trying to save the legacy of his family. I've got a real issue with that."
Murphy knows who pulled the trigger, something he relayed for the creation of season two: "I was there. I'm the only American who was there that saw Pablo Escobar's body."
The Colombian police troops, including Murphy, posed for photos with Escobar's bullet-riddled corpse, images that remain famous today.
"The reason I was smiling is because we knew, effective that moment, that every citizen in Colombia was safer, simply because one man died," he said.
His partner, Pena, adds to THR: "We told them how it actually happened. There’s some artistic license, but the timeline is accurate. The search is going to be very, very complex. It’s going to be exciting. And there’s going to be stuff out there that’s never been told."
Though the season will bring an end to Escobar's reign over Narcos, it will also set up its next chapter. (The show has not yet been officially renewed for a third season.)
"We plan on stopping when cocaine stops," Newman has said. "I think there's a reason why we call this show Narcos and not Pablo Escobar. It's very much about the trade. There are other drug dealers and there are alliances formed against Pablo, so there are a multitude of stories we could tackle."
Season two of Narcos releases Sept. 2 on Netflix. Watch the trailer below.