'Narcos: Mexico' Renewed for Season 3 at Netflix With New Showrunner (Exclusive)

Narcos -  Eric Newman - Publicity still - Getty - Inset - H 2020
Netflix; Inset: Jemal Countess/WireImage

Diego Luna in 'Narcos: Mexico' season 2; Inset: Eric Newman

Netflix is continuing the saga of Narcos: Mexico, but with one major change at the top.

Narcos: Mexico has been renewed for a third season at the streaming giant, with showrunner Eric Newman stepping aside in its return. Co-creator Carlo Bernard, who has been an executive producer since the drug cartel franchise launched in 2015, will step into the showrunner role as Newman focuses on his other upcoming projects at Netflix via his overall deal with the streamer.

Newman, who has served as showrunner for seasons two and three of Narcos and the two subsequent seasons of the reset Narcos: Mexico, will remain involved with the series as an executive producer. "I am grateful for my five years at the helm of Narcos and Narcos: Mexico, and immensely proud of what this spectacular team has achieved with these shows," Newman exclusively tells The Hollywood Reporter of his shifting role. "When we began this endeavor — making a show in two languages, in a country that had never seen this kind of production — it seemed insane. But Netflix saw its potential then and their faith in us never wavered. 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 of Narcos: Mexico in his extremely capable hands."

The third season of Narcos: Mexico marks the sixth overall in the cartel drama, which remains a top global performer for Netflix among its original series. (The streaming giant does not release traditional viewership data.)

The season three news also answers the biggest question left hanging after season two: Would co-stars Diego Luna and Scoot McNairy return? Tuesday's announcement confirms that McNairy is indeed among the returning cast; however Luna, who will be starring in the Star Wars prequel series for Disney+, is not. Other returning cast members include José Maria Yazpik, Alberto Ammann, Alfonso Dosal, Mayra Hermosillo, Matt Letscher, Manuel Masalva, Alejandro Edda and Gorka Lasaosa.

Another change for season three includes the return of Wagner Moura, but behind the camera. Moura, who famously played Pablo Escobar in the first two seasons of Narcos (and returned for a cameo in Narcos: Mexico), will direct two episodes in the upcoming season. A total episode count or release date have yet to be revealed.

Netflix, under new global TV head Bela Bajaria, is looking to bolster the streamer's global footprint with original series — like Narcos — that appeal to both domestic and international audiences as the company continues to prioritize international expansion.

For his part, Newman is next working on a Netflix limited series about the opioid epidemic called Painkiller, with Peter Berg and Alex Gibney. That series was announced in February, ahead of the global shutdown prompted by the novel coronavirus pandemic. His other projects include Escape From Spiderhead, starring Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller, and The Upper World, starring Daniel Kaluuya.

Narcos: Mexico, which filmed its first two seasons in and around Mexico City, will film on location for season three amid new COVID-19 safety protocols. Before the pandemic, Netflix had been set to expand its production footprint in Mexico, announcing plans to produce 50 TV shows and films over the next two years.

When it returns, Narcos: Mexico will continue to follow the cartel series' revolving-door tradition by closing one chapter and opening another. After a two-season reign, the Mexican saga's starring narco, Felix Gallardo (played by Luna), the Godfather of the Guadalajara cartel, was put behind bars for the abduction and murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena (played Michael Peña in Narcos: Mexico season one). With Gallardo's organized plaza system now dismantled, the season two finale gave rise to the Sinaloa, Tijuana and Juarez cartels that plan to step up — and war for power — in Gallardo's place, including the character of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán (Edda). In wrapping up Gallardo's story, that conclusion had left an up-in-the-air return for the DEA agent who hunted him, Walt Breslin, who is played by McNairy.

The third season will continue along the Narcos: Mexico timeline, according to the Netflix synopsis, and will open up in the '90s, when the globalization of the drug business ignites. The new episodes will examine the war that breaks out after Felix’s empire splinters. As newly independent cartels struggle to survive political upheaval and escalating violence, a new generation of Mexican kingpins emerge. But in this war, truth is the first casualty — and every arrest, murder and take-down only pushes real victory further away.

"You can look at season one of Mexico as consolidation of power, and season two as the erosion of it — and then what comes in its place is chaos," Newman had told THR of how the drama would continue to evolve. "If you view the Mexican chapter of Narcos as an acceleration into chaos, the end of season two is very much where we become untethered. We're hurtling out of control, and where it leads is our incredibly bloody present."

Narcos: Mexico is produced by Gaumont. Newman, Bernard, Sidonie Dumas, Christophe Riandee, Nicolas Atlan, José Padilha, Doug Miro and Andrés Baiz are exec producers; along with Moura, Baiz, Alejandra Márquez Abella, Luis Ortega and Amat Escalante will direct. Moura is repped by WME, Brent Travers and Attorney Greg Slewett.

Watch the teaser for season three, below.