'Gentefied' Cast and Creators Share Their Hopes for Season 3 (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
[Warning: Spoilers for the second season of Gentefied]
Gentefied's second season pulled at the heartstrings.
Centering on Pops' deportation case and Mama Fina's future, the new episodes also dove into the personal lives of the Morales cousins -- Erik (J.J. Soria), Chris (Carlos Santos) and Ana (Karrie Martin Lachney) -- as they forged new paths.
While each faced their own challenges, it was hard to witness the Morales family say goodbye to their beloved taco shop. ET spoke with creators Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, as well as the show's three young leads, about saying goodbye to Mama Fina's and their hopes for a third season.
"Pops' legal status, his immigration journey, is such a big one for Pops obviously, but also the entire family and how it's affecting everybody," Lemus shared, before diving into the heartbreaking decision to also have the family lose their restaurant. "The show is called Gentefied, and I think that we would have been a disservice, I guess, to the reality of gentrification to not see what that looks like. To fight as hard as we see them fighting the first season and going into the second season and coming out of it being like, 'Yeah, no. No matter how hard we fought, it still didn't work out for us.'"
"And I think that's a part of what we see. That's a part of what's happening in most major cities or around the country and in the world," he continued. "This season, when it came to the issue of gentrification, we wanted to explore it in a more nuanced way because there's so many other issues going on that we were exploring. But we wanted it to still have that presence there. And just like Pops, we grow to love that shop and what it means, and it feels like home and it's such a big part of [the show] and a part of their identity."
Lemus added that to have to see the Morales family say goodbye to Mama Fina's "felt symbolic" and also "reflects the reality" of the world we are living in, "especially during this last year in the pandemic."
"There's places that they're staples of their communities and they've been there for 30, 40, 50 years," he expressed. "And sometimes it's just not enough. And so it was important to be able to see that and to see the effects of that."
For the main characters, it felt like losing part of themselves. Santos shared that for his character, Chris, he was struggling "because he was betting on" the restaurant to continue working as a chef. While his father offers to pay for culinary school in Paris, he's also torn between staying and leaving.
"So not only is this already like a struggle to deal with that, but also the fact that it goes away, it just means a lot more," Santos said. "At the beginning of the season, Chris is kinda still struggling with the idea [of losing the shop], and then sees it as his purpose."
Martin Lachney added that for Ana, while it's "devastating" because the shop is "her safe space," it's also bittersweet. "[Mama Fina's] was something very consistent for her while everything else was very inconsistent," she shared. "But also, it forces her to grow up and mature as a woman, as an artist. I definitely think it creates a growth for her."
Eric, on the other hand, left with Lidia (Annie Gonzalez) and their newborn daughter to start a life in Palo Alto. While he wouldn't be around to continue working at the shop, Solis also called the news "devastating."
"The threat of possibly losing the shop, he feels disappointed because he's Pop's right-hand man in the shop," he expressed. "All these years and growing up in there. That part of the story really hit."
Chris, Ana and Erik all have so much more story left to tell and futures to figure out. So what are the actors' hopes for (hopefully) a third season? Santos would like to explore Chris' "next level," "because with every step and every checkpoint that the character goes through and they learn something, they become a different person."
Martin Lachney would love to see "who the characters are" outside of the deportation trial and losing the shop. "The family is essentially the core. It's not about the shop, although that held them together, that was like their anchor," she said. "But I think now that that lifeline is gone, who are we?"
As for Solis, he noted that viewers "never find out about what [Erik's] dreams are, what he's all about." While he's all about making his family happy and raising a kid, the actor asked, "But what are his endeavors? That would be interesting to delve into." He also added that he would be interested in finding out more about Erik's relationship with his estranged father.
Yvette Chávez, meanwhile, teased that Lemus already has something in the works.
"Marvin pitched something to me this past summer for season 3 that I thought was really interesting and fascinating," she said, with Lemus adding, "This season feels different from first season in like, we're always trying to figure out how do we not repeat ourselves? Part of me was like, 'I think it might be done.' And then I had a spark of creativity that I was like, maybe we have a way in [that would be cool]."
Season 2 of Gentefied is now streaming on Netflix.