The news comes ahead of NBC Universal’s Upfronts, which will feature the Spanish-language broadcaster’s slate.
The first season of the show, which is based on Arturo Perez-Reverte’s novel, launched in 2011 and returned for a second season in 2019. The third season will start production early next year, as long as production can resume as a result of COVID-19.
The show is the network’s most successful ‘Super Series’, used to differentiate it from its traditional long-running telenovelas.
The third season is a co-production between Telemundo Global Studios and Netflix; Telemundo holds rights in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, while the streamer airs globally.
The second series picked up eight years after the events of the season one finale with Mendoza was pregnant and unsure of her future. When La Reina returns, it emerged that she’s disappeared into the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program and is currently living in Italy under the name of Maria Dantes with her daughter Sofia.
Kate Del Castillo told Deadline that the character of Mendoza keeps getting more interesting with each season. “I love playing Teresa Mendoza and am proud of the success of La Reina del Sur, the series that unleashed a new genre in Spanish language television,” she said. “Each season, Teresa Mendoza’s character evolves and gets more interesting. She is a very human character with her own flaws and imperfections. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of fun playing her, and I’m curious to see what will happen in this new season. She’s a woman I learn from in every season and every episode, who continues to surprise me.”
Last year, the Jane The Virgin star said that she “hated” the fact that she had to have a double for Mexico-set scenes of the Telemundo narco drama after she became a major player in the El Chapo saga, helping to set up a meeting between Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán and Sean Penn in 2015.
However, she said that she will now be able to return to the country if it decides to shoot there. “La Reina del Sur is a high-level production that has taken us to shoot all over the world season after season. But yes, if the story takes us to Mexico next season, I will be there. I’m so excited,” she added.
The second season was filmed in over 300 locations including Italy, Russia, Romania, Spain, Belize, Colombia and United States as well as Mexico.
Showrunner Marco Santana, who is also president of Telemundo Global Studios, said that the company was currently in the script and overall development phase of the new season. “We are working with an incredible group of writers to bring to life the continuation of a thrilling and involved story that we are all very excited for,” he told Deadline. “We have filmed La Reina del Sur around the world. It’s a story that travels through different locations, and season three won’t be an exception. We are planning for, and are hopeful that, by the time we begin production in 2021, restrictions due to the Coronavirus will have eased.”
Ronald Day, EVP, Entertainment, Telemundo Networks said that the broadcaster was still feeling the “power of its impact”. “It is the show that propelled the network to the top of the charts and kicked off Telemundo’s Super Series franchise as the most successful Super Series in the network’s history. It was the show that redefined Hispanic media and set a new standard in our content offering. There is a tremendous fan base for the first two seasons and for Teresa Mendoza, the iconic character played by Kate del Castillo, so we knew we had to bring her back. This is a series that resonates with the new Latino of today who craves for contemporary cutting-edge narratives coupled with strong characters in a premium-level production. The first two seasons were wildly successful on linear and across all platforms, so as we continue to look at all new IP through an omnichannel lens, it made a lot of sense to bring La Reina back,” he told Deadline.
Day added that La Reina helped to bring more diversity to the screen and allow it to “break away” from the conventional telenovela format. “La Reina del Sur is the best example of how Telemundo continues to reimagine storytelling and raise the bar with contemporary stories featuring strong characters, in particular, strong female characters. This series brings together a lot of elements of success – great acting, an engaging story line, action packed scenes, a story of redemption, and obviously, the outstanding production quality that Telemundo Global Studios has been able to deliver. The return of La Reina del Sur comes at a great time when we continue to shape a new era in Hispanic media with content exclusively made for Latinos living in the US looking for culture-centric stories that are both American and Latino,” he added.
Del Castillo is repped by Sweeney Entertainment and Felker Toczek Suddelson & Abramson, LLP.