7:00am PT by Jackie Strause
'Narcos: Mexico' Sets Diego Luna, Scoot McNairy as Season 2 Stars
Narcos: Mexico is bringing back two of its biggest players to lead season two.
Diego Luna and Scoot McNairy — who each played key roles in the reset season of the drug cartel series — are set to star when Narcos: Mexico returns with its second season. Production recently began in Mexico City, where the first season was also filmed. Netflix has yet to release a launch date or episode count (though Narcos traditionally has 10-episode seasons).
The streamer confirmed that Narcos still had more of the Mexican empire to build when it renewed Narcos: Mexico less than three weeks after the first season debuted (on Nov. 16). Narcos: Mexico was billed as a reset since the season travels back in time to 1980s Mexico to track the birth of Mexico's drug war and the origins of the Guadalajara cartel, led by "El Padrino" — the Godfather — Miguel Felix Gallardo. Luna, who plays Gallardo, co-starred in the season with Michael Pena, who portrayed real-life DEA agent Kiki Camarena.
Camarena, a well-known figure for being a catalyst in America's war on drugs, was abducted by Gallardo and his men in 1985. Narcos: Mexico tracks the events leading up to that day, as Camarena (Pena) and Gallardo (Luna) play a cat-and-mouse game. The penultimate episode and finale reveal Camarena's well-documented fate and set the seeds for the fallout that comes as a result, which will be explored in season two.
At the end of Narcos: Mexico, Gallardo has manipulated the corrupt Mexican government and police so he can continue to reign over the trafficking organization he has created and the DEA has brought in a new agent, played by McNairy, to run the show. McNairy's reveal was twofold: After narrating the entire season, he steps in front of the camera to reveal himself as agent Walt Breslin in the final scene. His casting had been kept secret until the show launched.
"If it’s the end, [McNairy's introduction] is just the continuing revolving doors of, 'Here comes the new guy and this time we’re going to get it right,'" showrunner Eric Newman had explained to The Hollywood Reporter while he was still awaiting official news on a renewal. "We’ve now seen that with agents Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) and Pena (Pedro Pascal) in seasons one and two, Pena alone in season three, Kiki Camarena in Narcos: Mexico, and now a new guy, who is basically going to come down and probably get nothing done and the cycle will continue. Of course, if we do continue, that’s something we could explore. What both the archival footage and narrator voiceover does is that it reminds people that it’s real. You realize, 'Oh, that happened.'"
McNairy's character shed some light on what's in store for season two with his final narration of the season. "What happened in Guadalajara in the early '80s was the beginning," he explained in voiceover. "The last moment before it all got fucked up. Spun out of control. It was that moment when it all fell apart. What happened in Guadalajara gave birth to the first cartel. From that, others would follow. And the violence and money and drugs, they just fucking explode. It changed the DEA, too. Maybe it woke us up, I don't know. But it's where the first shot was fired, the one that started the drug war. And after that, none of it would be the same. How could it be? ... we knew we were in a war. Now, it was our turn. Pretty soon, they were gonna know, they were in one too.'"
Narcos: Mexico's first season was the fourth overall in the Narcos universe. The first three seasons also featured a rotating cast of stars — on both the narcos and DEA sides — when telling the stories of the Colombian kingpins of the drug war. The first two seasons showed the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar (played by Wagner Moura) as he was hunted by DEA agents played by Pascal and Holbrook. Pascal returned for season three, which followed the cocaine kings who succeeded Escobar, the four Cali cartel bosses (played by Damian Alcazar, Francisco Denis, Alberto Ammann and Pepe Rapazote). The end of the third season, which brought Narcos up to the mid-1990s with the incarcerations of the Cali bosses, featured exiting leading man Pascal signaling the series' shift to Mexico.
By traveling backwards in the show's timeline, Narcos: Mexico was able to cross over with some of its biggest narco kingpins from the past — another surprise that the Narcos team kept secret until show launch.
As for Luna, who also will be starring in the Star Wars prequel series for Disney's forthcoming streaming service, the Mexican actor had said there was much more of the story to explore if the show were to pick up where it left off. "It’s a dramatic point in the story of our countries. I do think that after that moment, Felix’s life changes, as does the life of everyone around him," Luna told THR about the finale. "There is a lot that happens after this. In terms of material, Narcos has a chance to deliver another five seasons to try to get to today, because there is so much that happens after this season ends."
And if it were up to Newman, who has an overall multiyear series deal with Netflix, Narcos will have a long future ahead: "I will do this as long as they’ll let me do it," he has said.
Luna's credits include Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Y Tu Mamá También, and he can currently be seen in Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk. His Narcos: Mexico role earned him a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for best actor. Luna is repped by CAA, Management 360 and attorney Rick Genow.
McNairy's credits include HBO's True Detective and AMC's Halt and Catch Fire, and he can next be seen in the Nicole Kidman-starrer Destroyer. McNairy is repped by WME and the Group.
Narcos: Mexico is produced by Gaumont Television for Netflix. José Padilha, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard and Andrés Baiz executive produce along with Newman, who is the showrunner.
The first season of Narcos: Mexico is streaming on Netflix. Head here for THR's coverage of the season.