The bad news is you’re suffering from Breaking Bad withdrawal. The good news? Fans of the hit AMC show – which wrapped up its five-season run in a gripping finale last fall – can look forward to an upcoming Spanish language remake that has plenty in common with Vince Gilligan’s Emmy-winning drama.
Or will it? Sure, true to the original, Walter Blanco – his last name means “white” – is a timid chemistry teacher who transforms into a meth-dealing mastermind after he’s diagnosed with lung cancer. But there are also a few notable differences too, which make Metástasis a blend of high-stakes telenovela drama and American cable TV storytelling. (Never fear: Gilligan consulted on the Colombian remake.) Here are a few of the most striking differences – with the promise of a lot more to come when the show premieres in July in the United States on Univision-owned network UniMás.
Remember season 5’s shocking Great Train Robbery? Breaking Bad’s Spanish cousin promises to deliver that type of suspense, but with a twist. In Metástasis, Walter (Colombian telenovela star Diego Trujillo) and Jose Miguel Rosas (known as Jesse in the original and played by hunky Roberto Urbina) steal their methylamine from two cargo trucks that need to use an alternate road since the city’s main highways are blocked by protesters – a common occurrence in Latin America.
During the final episodes of Breaking Bad, Walter hides out in a small, isolated cabin in New Hampshire. But in Metástasis, Walter Blanco hides out in the craggy mountains of Colombia – much closer and more familiar to Latino audiences than far-off New England. And here’s another fun fact: Original Breaking Bad fans might remember “Negro y Azul,” a narcocorrido by Cuates de Sinaloa that opened an episode in season 2. But for Metástasis, show creators commissioned a song titled “Vals de Jaisenber.” (Non-Spanish speakers: That’s “Heisenberg” spelled phonetically in Spanish.) The tune is an original song written by Colombian musicians, but for the purposes of the series, the fictional band that performs the tune is called “Los Cuates de la Roca” (“Friends of the Rock”). Get it?
The Spanish-language version of Saul has a much bigger platform than a few low-budget television ads. In Metástasis, Saul hosts a late night talk show called Cuéntele a Saúl, in which he offers audiences legal advice – a riff on a talk show model that’s highly popular among Spanish speaking audiences.
Walter’s swimming pool played a vital role in Breaking Bad – but Bogotá, Colombia, where Metástasis takes place, is typically too chilly for a pool. The backyard oasis, therefore, won’t be a fixture in Metástasis as it was in the original series.
Scene after scene of Breaking Bad takes place in a classic RV where Walter and Jesse cook meth. In Metástasis, an old school bus is used because campers aren’t common in Latin America.
When fans first met Walter in 2008, he was a humble public school chemistry teacher. In Metástasis, Walter teaches at a private school. It’s not a matter of making a statement regarding Walter’s background – in Latin America, private schools are generally more affordable than their U.S. counterparts and are attended by a greater majority of children than public schools.
The fearsome killers known as the Salamanca cousins in Breaking Bad also make an appearance in Metástasis. But in a fun twist, the roles of the deadly duo – personified by brothers Luis and Daniel Moncada in the U.S. show – are played by real-life twin actors Oscar Luis and Luis Oscar Medina.
Craving more already? Check out a sneak peek of Metástasis below.