The super popular series Netflix series Narcos has now aired their second season and it was very well received by the 3.2 million viewers from the first season. Narcos shows a peek into the keyhole that holds the crazy surroundings of Colombian cocaine king Pablo Escobar. The kingpin drug lord was also a family man and a Colombian politician before he died in the crossfire of bullets as he ran for freedom with his bodyguard atop the roofs of his hometown Los Olivos.
In the first season of Narcos viewers were given an epic and sometimes scary look into what the life of a narco really meant. The second season was a dramatic view of the slow decline and eventual death of the ultimate kingpin Pablo Escobar. In filming the second season the entire cast and crew was sad to say goodbye to Wagner Moura’s tragic and boisterous character as the obvious final scene would be his death. But there is still so much more to learn about Narcos than meets the eye.
The writers did so much research on the project but also expanded in some areas crafting what has become one of Netflix’s most binge-worthy shows. Read this list of facts and gain even more appreciation for the series as we await more from the Narcos writers.
15. Putting On Pounds to Play Pablo Escobar
Wagner Moura is the Brazilian actor who plays Pablo Escobar on Netflix’s hit show Narcos. The actor had to put on 40 pounds to play the famed cocaine smuggling Colombian drug lord. Moura also had to learn Spanish in order to be portrayed as the man who once supplied 80% of the US’s cocaine, he now speaks better Spanish than English. The actor shed the lbs through taking on a completely vegan diet. In an interview, Moura said that eating vegan was about more than just losing weight. He also felt that he was cleansing his body of the dramatic, dark character that he had spent two years becoming.
After making the forty lb. transformation required to play the part of Escobar Moura thinks he is done altering his body in such immense ways for a role. His cholesterol was really poor and he just thinks that 40 years old is too old to make those sort of drastic changes to his weight. He is, however, very excited to incorporate Spanish speaking roles into his acting resume. He is specifically interested in working with Mexican and Argentinian filmmakers, learning Spanish helped him feel South American instead of just Brazilian.
14. Pablo Escobar’s Son Vocally Dislikes the Show
Sebastian Marroquin, born Juan Pablo Escobar, has been publicly trying to end animosity that may still exist after the Colombian drug wars at the height of Pablo Escobar’s power. He changed his name but published a book about his father’s life entitled Sins of My Father. He has spoken out in many publications about his distaste for the show and the certain liberties that the Netflix original has taken with the truth.
With the first season of the series catching the eyes of 3.2 million users Marroquin has some logic behind wanting to set the record straight. He claims that Escobar never sold drugs to Europe and never killed Colombian fighter Ivan Marino Ospina. Although it’s OK to set the record straight, writers for the show hold that it was always meant to be a dramatization of the truth. Marroquin is an architect and lives in Buenos Aires with his wife and daughter.
13. Narcos Was Originally a Movie
Before the final touches were put on the show before filming Narcos was intended to be a movie. The American crime web television writers researched the life of Pablo Escobar quite deeply before beginning their work. So deeply, in fact, that they developed immense back stories to their characters and twists and turns that spanned much longer than a movie. What this meant for the massive fan base is that they would have multiple seasons of a new show to binge watch. After such a positive reception from the first two seasons, Netflix took notice and has signed Narcos on for two more seasons. That means twenty more of the award nominated show episodes will eventually grace our screens! Set in the 1980’s the show explores the cocaine trafficking filled life of Pablo Escobar but the latest season featured him getting executed, we’re very curious to see where the next two seasons will go.
12. The Uzis Featured in Narcos are Ekol ASI Replicas
There are tons of scenes in Narcos where the different characters are shooting guns that look just like Uzis. These are highly detailed toy replica guns as tons of real guns shouldn’t be sitting around a movie set. Apparently, in order to create these blank firing guns, a real gun is used as the basic structure. The show obviously features tons of firearms including pistols, revolvers, submachine guns, rifles, shotguns, machine guns and launchers; and that’s just season 1. There are four types of prop guns used in film and television. Blank guns are almost exactly like the gun that they’re replicating except for a small change made to the chamber so that it doesn’t fire a shell but does incorporate gunpowder. Function guns are highly detailed toys that look and feel like real guns but do not fire. Rubber guns are aptly named as they’re fake guns made of rubber. Lastly, suicide guns are just like blank guns but they look less real. Suicide guns are used for sound effects since they make a barrel flash when fired. We aren’t sure which type of guns are used in Narcos but it’s probably a mixture of these four.
11. Narcos Stands for Narcotraficante
In English, this word means drug dealer, translated literally it means drug trafficker. Like most television shows, Narcos helps us to understand the other side of the story. We are transported into the world of Pablo Escobar and are drawn to be on his side, but around the Spanish-speaking world, narcos terrorized children and families.
Since the drug war in Colombia declined somewhat after the assassination of Escobar, Mexico has become the new stomping ground for cartels and trafficking. While watching the series keep in mind that massacres are still happening to this day and in Mexico in the 2010’s over 60,000 people were killed; many of these victims were innocents or government officials. Narcos are well known for thinking of inventive ways to murder people, often burying countless bodies in mass graves. Before getting enthralled with the show it is a good idea to have this information embedded in our minds so we make sure to understand the true tragedy behind the series.
10. Spanish and English Companies Merged to Make Narcos
The made for Netflix series was born after a partnership between Netflix and popular Spanish-speaking television channel Telemundo. Narcosis written by Chris Brancato and directed by Brazilian filmmaker Jose Padilha. Padilha last directed a film entitled Elite Squad in 2007 with Brazilian actor Wagner Moura (Pablo Escobar). Brazil is prominent in this production and Rodrigo Amarante, the singer-songwriter that composed the opening theme, to the series is also Brazilian. The theme, entitled “Tuyo” was inspired by the visual landscape in the opening credits directed by the ever artistic Tom O’Neill. Although the idea for the plot was always meant to depict the life of infamous Pablo Escobar it was also crafted with the notion that they would continue to tell the story of the drug war that has reached farther than Escobar and Colombia. This is why Netflix has signed on for 2 more seasons of the popular drama series.
9. Pablo Escobar Did Work in Government, But People Liked Him
In 1982 Pablo Escobar was elected to the Chamber of Representatives in Colombia as an alternate representative. He represented the Colombian Liberal Party. Locals in the towns he preferred to visit and the Roman Catholic Church were always in support of Escobar because of his many charitable efforts in the Colombian government. Escobar was responsible for the construction of much-needed hospitals, schools, and churches in Western Colombia. In the show Narcos the drama of it all called for writers to make his time in the Chamber seem like he got little done and was edged out. This was a major point of contention for Marroquin, Escobar’s son, when he spoke out against the shows depiction of his family. He believes that Narcos has covered up this charitable work that was only completed with the help of his father, furthering the public view of his patriarch as a murderous, lecherous man.
8. Fictional Storylines in the DEA
It wasn’t until 1988 that Javier Pena arrived in Colombia and his partner Steve Murphy didn’t arrive until 1991. That means that any storylines involving the two in Colombia and taking place before this time are fictional. Pena had only been working for the DEA for four years when he took on the Escobar case in Colombia. He actually volunteered for the position and for years they cultivated informants and worked to find a way into the close-knit circle of kingpin Pablo Escobar. Both agents are alive today and happily retired. They’re loving watching their story on TV and actually found themselves binge-watching Season 2. Pena thought it was especially exciting that some details about the hunt and chase are just coming to light now despite being over 30 years old. It helps to understand that anything in that timeframe is fictional but it’s possible that facts from other times in their lives are being used in the Netflix original series.
7. Pablo Escobar’s Money Stack Was Exuberant
There was a time when 80% of the cocaine in the US was provided by the cartel of Pablo Escobar and at this same time in the late ‘80s there were too many people doing cocaine in the US. These stats mean that Escobar had quite a bit of money rolling into his huge Colombian estate turned exotic zoo & statuary. His team was smuggling $70 million worth of cocaine weekly and making about $20 billion in yearly profits. He stashed money all around his home in different safes and even in the walls. It has been said that the drug lord spent $3000 per week on rubber bands to make sure that he could keep all the cash organized. While in the walls it is estimated that 10% of this cash would have been eaten by rats which would equate to about $2 billion eaten by rats yearly. There is still rumored to be money hidden around his estate to this day.
6. Setting Fire to It All
After his miraculous escape from the feds Pablo Escobar spent time on the run since being extradited and wasting away in American prison was his greatest fear. In his tell-all book Escobar’s son Sebastian Marroquin revealed that in their time on the run they hid away on a mountainside. At one point it got so cold in their hideout that he burned $2 million of cold hard cash to keep his family warm. During this time in their lives the supremely paranoid father of two would have his family blindfolded and relocated every two days. They moved between 15 various locations around Medellin in their time on the run so that Escobar could keep his location a secret both from his family and the different police that were hunting him down. He was eventually identified through the window while walking on the phone in his hometown and was shot while attempting to escape on the rooftops.
5. Not All of the Horror is Fiction
Rodríguez Gacha (full name Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha) is depicted in Narcos entering a party and killing everyone inside. Gacha was raised in a family of pig farmers before becoming a leader of the cartel right alongside Pablo Escobar. This is an actual story of a massacre that occurred at the estate of Gilberto Molina, a known associate of Rodriguez Gacha and the Medellin Cartel. About 25 uniformed men stormed the Molina ranch in the middle of a housewarming party. They killed a total of 18 men including friends, bodyguards and emerald dealers. Molina was in the midst of a battle for a coveted emerald mine and Gacha had been attempting to edge Molina out of the emerald game. This information is what led police to believe that Gacha had ordered the slaughter on that fated Winter night in 1989. Despite being a narco, Molina was a benefactor to the community and his death was considered a tragedy.
4. Pablo Escobar & The Law
In real life Escobar began developing his cocaine business in 1975 after being taught by a couple of mentors how to cook and then how to set up a home operation. After about 20 years the Colombian native had risen to being one of Forbes listed billionaires and one of the only suppliers of cocaine to the United States. Along with these credentials Escobar was also one of the most wanted men in the world both by Colombian police and the US DEA. He surrendered himself to police in 1991 directly after the Colombian government passed the new extradition laws that prohibited he be extradited from his home country. This legislation is called the Colombian Constitution of 1991 and is highly disputed as a corrupt piece of law that was edged into existence by the drug lords that were being slowly closed in on. Escobar wasn’t shy about bribing and honestly stated once that a bribe here and a bribe there are the only way to successfully hold his position.
3. Narcos Convinced Wagner Moura That Drugs Should Be Legalized
Wagner Moura plays Pablo Escobar in Netflix’s Narcos and has always been a believer in legalized drugs, the actor says that filming Narcos has solidified that belief. He grew up in Brazil which is another South American country that has been tormented by the drug trade. In an interview with The Daily Beast Moura stated quite passionately “The War on Drugs is a big flop,” he continues, heatedly. “Especially for those of us who live in countries that export and produce drugs. Those are the places where those wars are taking place, and still happening. The amount of people who are being killed in that war, I’m sure it’s bigger than the amount of people who are dying of overdoses.” Becoming more heavily identified with the narco lifestyle while filming the series made Moura feel that he was right in believing in drug legalization all these years and align with those of major drug reform advocates across the world.
2. Executive Producer Regrets Killing Escobar in Season 2
In an interview with E! News executive producer Eric Newman admits that he sort of regrets not stretching the story of Escobar anywhere from three to five seasons before ending the character’s life at the end of Season 2. Though he does admit that from the beginning of the project the story was only meant to last two seasons. The plots, storylines and mystique of Narcos has always been designed to continue breathing after the death of Pablo Escobar which is why the series was named Narcos and not Escobar or Medellin. It is possible that the next few seasons take us to Mexico where the story of El Chapo recently became headline news. Part of Newman’s regrets in killing Escobar so soon is because working with Wagner helped the team create such an impactful Netflix series. We’re sure that the team will be able to keep the magic alive in the next few seasons even without Wagner’s stellar performances.
1. Pablo Escobar’s Death Was Filmed Where He Actually Died
Though many fictional liberties were taken for the sake of television the death scene of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was filmed at the very same roof tops where he was shot while fleeing. In filming that scene the crew was very sure to be aesthetically accurate since the real siege was so highly publicized and so familiar to so many people. The official reports claim that he was killed while caught in the crossfire of Colombian police bullets but there is much speculation. Escobar had once told his brother in law that he would shoot himself just above his ear if he was ever in a place where he knew that he would die at someone else’s hand. The bullet that made the fatal blow was just above his ear. The truth remains a mystery as we have no way to know who made the fatal shot to the kingpin.