Narcos Star Pedro Pascal on How Season 3 Is a ‘Completely Different Animal’ After Escobar’s Death

Pascal and Arturo Castro, his costar in the Netflix original series, talk about what audiences can expect from the rise of the Cali Cartel.

by | August 29, 2017 | Comments

Pedro Pascal Ryan Fujitani

Buckle up: Narcos season 3 is headed into uncharted territory. Perhaps the biggest question going into the acclaimed series’ Sept. 1 premiere is how the death of its purported protagonist, the Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar (played by Wagner Moura), will affect the series as a whole. While surprises run a-plenty this round, we at least have one constant: Pedro Pascal as Detective Javier Peña.

While real-life DEA agent Peña left the Columbia drug trade after Escobar’s 1993 capture and death, Narcos’ showrunners, who have openly fictionalized several aspects of Escobar’s story, decided to rewrite Pascal into the script, tapping him to stick around for season 3’s deep dive into the Cali Cartel, who rose to power in the Medellín Cartel’s wake. Pascal is joined in season 3 by many Narcos newcomers; on the DEA front, that includes Michael Stahl-David, who plays DEA agent Chris Feistl, and Matt Whelan, who plays Feistl’s more serious partner, Daniel Van Ness.

“It was fascinating for me, because honestly, [Peña’s] return to Colombia for season 3 was as much of a surprise to me as it is to any audience member,” said Pascal, who’s also known for playing Game of Thrones’ dearly departed Oberyn Martell.

“I always knew we were playing real people that were there throughout the Pablo Escobar chapter, and so I expected to be done like everyone else — and I then I wasn’t,” he continued. “We had to go into a totally new territory in the same sense that the character did.”

Michael Stahl-David, Matt Whelan (Photo by Juan Pablo Gutierrez/Netflix)

Pascal said that the series’ third 10-episode run posed a new and exciting challenge for him as an actor, in that he got to take the “somewhat mysterious, grumpy, depressive DEA agent” that he’d developed over the first two seasons and put him in an all-new, fictionalized situation while dealing with the Cali Cartel. “[Peña is] given more responsibility, and his hands are more tied behind his back in terms of the enemy that he’s fighting,” Pascal explained.

So just who is this Cali Cartel? Pegged at the time as the richest drug trafficking organization in the world, the cartel is run by four godfathers who, according to Netflix, prefer “to bribe government officials and keep its violent actions out of the headlines.” In other words, they’re much different than the Medellín Cartel we have come to know. Other than the fact they both trafficked cocaine to the United States, Pascal said that “they’re different in every way, to be honest.”

It was an industry that raked in “millions and millions and millions of dollars” and, like the Medellín, was run with an iron fist — they had “a lot of violent control of the industry,” Pascal said. But they posed a different, perhaps more complex threat in that they “were very implemented into the society that they were controlling, and in the pocket of all of its facets.” Not only that, but under the four godfathers, there was more than one dictatorial target. “There were a number of things that needed to be kind of broken down — a lot of legs that needed to be cut — for the entire system to crumble,” Pascal continued, explaining that at the height of their powers, taking the Cali Cartel down was “seemingly essentially impossible. [It’s] a completely different animal.”

As we said: buckle up.

Damián Alcázar, Arturo Castro (Photo by Juan Pablo Gutierrez/Netflix)

The Cali godfathers we meet this season are Pacho Herrar (Alberto Ammann), Chepe Santacruz Londono (Pêpê Rapazote), and the two Rodriguez brothers: Gilberto (Damián Alcázar) and Miguel (Francisco Denis). But it’s not just those four to keep an eye on; as actor Arturo Castro (Broad CityBilly Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) told us, this is a family affair.

Castro plays David Rodriguez, Miguel’s eldest son. He revealed that, taking over his family’s operation after his father and uncle are arrested, “[David] just starts taking more and more control and becoming more and more ruthless in order to protect his father’s position.” What does that entail, exactly? As Castro put it with a dash of dark intrigue, “Torture scenes are the best.” While David’s “methods are definitely questionable,” it’s all done in the name of family, perhaps too literally fighting tooth and nail for power.

Whether that fight will pay off, however, and whether or not we will see the Cali Cartel (which after two years gave way to the Mexican cartels) return for Narcos’ already-ordered fourth season is still up in the air. Tune into Netflix to see what else in store when season 3 drops in full this Friday, Sept. 1.

Tag Cloud

zero dark thirty adaptation movies 2016 TCA 2017 justice league Star Wars spider-man series Tumblr Country golden globes OWN Film Logo Red Carpet History RT21 SDCC Dark Horse Comics Oscars Musical 2017 Premiere Dates docudrama nature Tomatazos Hulu cinemax Food Network talk show LGBT Western Syfy Rocketman Countdown science fiction travel Brie Larson game of thrones teaser 007 finale Fall TV Comics on TV psychological thriller Martial Arts politics binge streaming Cannes Lucasfilm Box Office GLAAD Winter TV DirecTV Disney Channel singing competition Masterpiece richard e. Grant ratings Mindy Kaling Sundance Now 45 Kids & Family natural history Christmas Paramount Netflix award winner Reality Trophy Talk Mary poppins Adult Swim Amazon Prime cooking Marathons CW Seed Pride Month TCA Rock supernatural quibi Certified Fresh police drama San Diego Comic-Con psycho 24 frames 2018 strong female leads X-Men Ovation Valentine's Day Pirates DC Comics Nominations YA TCM SundanceTV biography ghosts television Election Sci-Fi Music Character Guide ITV 2015 TV Land festivals robots PBS WarnerMedia sequel technology latino Mudbound Bravo IFC thriller Infographic zombie what to watch Teen hispanic historical drama facebook Pop toy story Cartoon Network The Arrangement Rom-Com dceu MTV 21st Century Fox BET Mystery USA See It Skip It Nat Geo Arrowverse President Drama American Society of Cinematographers Horror Pixar AMC social media Holidays Acorn TV Sundance book DC Universe First Look aliens stand-up comedy Sony Pictures blaxploitation Extras RT History GoT FXX discovery cops hist Summer Mary Tyler Moore unscripted ABC Family DGA HBO Heroines tv talk HBO Max Photos green book TLC Women's History Month political drama cars Disney streaming service Opinion disaster Shondaland Grammys NYCC Trivia Star Trek MSNBC A&E crime drama MCU Comedy Central NBC Spring TV APB Warner Bros. Year in Review Musicals PaleyFest based on movie National Geographic FOX YouTube Red Comic Book Nickelodeon dragons sitcom Writers Guild of America witnail dc space Chernobyl Vudu Marvel south america Calendar VICE Interview sports Awards Freeform elevated horror Shudder Crackle Creative Arts Emmys GIFs LGBTQ anime Mary Poppins Returns Ellie Kemper Tarantino Biopics comiccon adventure Video Games mutant vampires The Witch SXSW TNT Universal Superheroe children's TV cults Thanksgiving crime thriller Disney Podcast spanish language kids Starz Sneak Peek IFC Films Super Bowl Apple Stephen King Schedule Amazon Prime Video El Rey Captain marvel Cosplay WGN Awards Tour jamie lee curtis Esquire revenge Emmys game show Binge Guide Set visit CMT Britbox Reality Competition Ghostbusters Family mockumentary Fox News TIFF Spectrum Originals ABC ESPN Action Watching Series Walt Disney Pictures 20th Century Fox Winners period drama E! FX Trailer TruTV 2019 USA Network casting miniseries YouTube Premium CNN Quiz DC streaming service harry potter diversity Emmy Nominations Comedy Rocky comic animated Animation cats romance Best and Worst Black Mirror BBC spy thriller CBS All Access Superheroes zombies The CW Polls and Games medical drama Film Festival Elton John VH1 spinoff Pet Sematary serial killer anthology Lionsgate BBC America Amazon New York Comic Con Epix dramedy Song of Ice and Fire crime war Paramount Network Anna Paquin Fantasy Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV foreign Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt transformers Lifetime Showtime crossover theme song Spike boxoffice Toys First Reviews composers doctor who CBS TBS true crime Columbia Pictures spain E3