Charging into its fifth season, Fear the Walking Dead is gearing up for the return of a fan-favorite character. After being sidelined for the entirety of Fear the Walking Dead's third season, Ruben Blades will be reprising his role as Daniel Salazar. The stay won't be permanent but he will have a brief presence on the AMC series, giving fans a taste of what the character has been up to since going down with the dam in the the Season Three finale a couple of years ago.
"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," Fear the Walking Dead co-showrunner Andrew Chambliss told EW. "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. We saw him stagger away at the end, but we don't know what's happened to him, where he's been."
Salazar's story has been one of tragic loss and tremendous triumph, all rolled into one. "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 explained. "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."
Of course, in his final moments on the series in Season 3, he developed a possibly irreparable difference with Victor Strand. As seen in the trailer for Fear the Walking Dead's fifth season, the two will be reuniting and it probably won't be very pleasant. "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 Seasom 3," Chambliss said. "Obviously, the most explicit relationship is the one with Victor Strand. 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."
In their sophomore year as showrunners, Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg had never worked with Blades prior to Season 5. Blades last appeared at a time when Dave Erickson was in charge of Fear the Walking Dead. "We're 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."
The Walking Dead will return for its tenth season in October. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season on June 2. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.