Indeed, 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. Tuesday's casting announcement now fills in many of those players who are set to emerge in the season three story.
Luis Gerardo Méndez will play Victor Tapia, a Juarez cop with a moral dilemma who, despite his misgivings over getting involved, is drawn into the mystery of a series of brutal killings. Alberto Guerra has been cast as Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, an independent drug trafficker whose unassuming manner belies the fact that he is quietly one step ahead of everyone else. And Luisa Rubino steps into the role of Andrea Nuñez, who is described as a young idealistic and ambitious journalist whose mission to expose corruption brings her an even bigger story than she anticipated.
Additional new cast members who are only identified by character name include Alejandro Furth as Ramon Salgado, Lorenzo Ferro as Alex Hodoyan, José Zúñiga as General Rebollo, Diego Calva as Arturo Beltran Leyva, Kristen Lee Gutoskie as Dani and Beau Mirchoff as Steve Sheridan.
The growing list of players joins a returning cast that includes McNairy, as well as José María Yázpik (Amado Carillo Fuentes), Alfonso Dosal (Benjamín Arellano Félix), Mayra Hermosillo (Enedina Arellano Felix), Matt Letscher (DEA agent James Kuykendall), Manuel Masalva (Ramón Arellano Félix), Alejandro Edda (Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and Gorka Lasaosa (Héctor Palma).
A slew of guest stars were also announced on Tuesday, including Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio "Bad Bunny" as Arturo "Kitty" Paez, a member of Ramon Arellano Felix’s gang called the "Narco Juniors," who are described as rich, well connected kids from upper society who fell in with the cartel life for the money, drugs and violence. Other guest stars joining returning star Alberto Ammann are Yessica Borroto, as Marta; Damayanti Quintanar, as Hortencia; Manuel Uriza, as Carlos Hank Gonzalez; and Markin López, as Rogelio.
The returning season of Narcos: Mexico will see co-creator Carlo Bernard stepping into the role of showrunner, with Eric Newman — who has helmed the franchise since season two of Narcos — passing on the Narcos: Mexico torch as he focuses on his other upcoming projects at Netflix via his overall deal with the streamer.
Newman, who remains executive producer for season three, told The Hollywood Reporter when announcing the renewal news: "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. 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."
When speaking to THR about how the Narcos: Mexico story would evolve after season two, Newman teased of what's to come, "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. 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.
As previously announced, former star Wagner Moura, whose acclaimed portrayal of Pablo Escobar dominated the first two seasons of Narcos (and surprised in Narcos: Mexico), joins a list of season three directors that includes Baiz, Alejandra Márquez Abella, Luis Ortega and Amat Escalante.
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.)
This story was originally published in The Hollywood Reporter.