Fear the Walking Dead Showrunners Address Bringing Back Daniel Salazar and His Dark Struggle

Fear the Walking Dead showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg address the return of Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades) in the coming fifth season and reveal what’s in store for the fan-favorite who was MIA during Season 4.

“It’s a character that we’re very excited to have rejoin the show, and I think the thing that excites us most about it is where we last left him — this kind of goes to why we haven’t seen him in all of season 4 — because we last left him moments after Strand shot him in the face and left him for dead at the dam,” Chambliss told EW.

“We saw him stagger away at the end, but we don’t know what’s happened to him, where he’s been.”

Season 3 ended with Salazar’s fate in the air following the destruction of the Gonzalez Dam — triggered by the since killed off Nick (Frank Dillane) — after Salazar suffered the loss of daughter Ofelia (Mercedes Mason).

Now Salazar is back and will again wrestle with his darker side.

“He’s a character who we’ve seen a very nurturing paternal side from, but he’s also a character that we’ve seen a very dark side from, who has a very traumatic past that goes all the way back to his childhood,” Chambliss said.

“The thing that is most interesting to us is to explore what side of Daniel Salazar will win out in something as traumatic as what happened at the dam and what he was dealing with emotionally with the loss of his daughter.”

Salazar’s return brings with it a chance encounter with old frenemy Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), now seeking redemption under the stewardship of Morgan (Lennie James) and his crew of survivors, who deploy across the west in search of strangers in need.

“The other thing that is very interesting to us is what’s going to happen when he finds some of these characters who he knew during Season 3. Obviously, the most explicit relationship is the one with Victor Strand,” Chambliss said.

“Strand has come a long way since he shot Daniel in the face. Strand has been seeking his own redemption, and I think the thing that will happen when Daniel Salazar enters the story is it’s going to make both men question who they are, whether they can overcome their past, and really test whether Strand has become a new man.”

Salazar, too, will be a “changed man” when he returns — but to say how he’s changed, Goldberg teased at WonderCon in April, would be a spoiler.

Until more is uncovered, the show runners are “very excited to be working with Rubén,” Chambliss said.

“He has such kind of energy and life to him. He brings so much to the show, both on screen and behind screen. That was something in addition to bringing the character back, it’s just fun to be able to work with Rubén.”

Fear the Walking Dead Season 5 premieres Sunday, June 2 on AMC.

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