With the unveiling of Far Cry 6, the very villain-focused series is celebrating its highest-profile casting nab yet. Giancarlo Esposito, known best as Gus Fring on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, and a stand-out in so many other productions (from The Mandalorian all the way back to Do the Right Thing), did a press blitz ahead of Far Cry 6's trailer debut, and in one interview, he confesses that he did tell a fellow Saul and Far Cry actor about his role in the game a bit early.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Esposito reveals that he did talk to Better Call Saul's Michael Mando about taking on the role of dictator Anton Castillo in Far Cry 6 earlier this year. Mando, who plays Ignacio "Nacho" Varga on Saul, is also known for playing Vaas Montenegro, the antagonist and star of Far Cry 3. Back at the premiere of Better Call Saul's fifth season earlier this year, the two touched base on their new Far Cry connection.
"I mentioned to him that I was doing this game and said I was going to ask Ubisoft to show me what you did," Esposito says. "He said he enjoyed his time working on Far Cry 3 and was excited I was going to be a star in Far Cry 6. He fell short of giving me any pointers. I would have liked to pick his brain about how it works, but I know from game to game it's very different."
For the brief time last week, some wondered if the stories of Vaas and Anton might actually intersect. In a recent Reddit AMA, Mando teased the possibility of reprising his role as Vaas, and after the Far Cry 6 leak, some speculated that Anton's son Diego (Coco's Anthony Gonzalez) might actually be a young Vaas. Given other details about the characters and the apparent modern-day setting of Far Cry 6, though, that theory looks to be toast.
Instead of sneakily setting up a link between Saul actors, an Ubisoft chat with Narrative Director Navid Khavari suggests Far Cry 6 really is focused on the new fictional setting of Yara (drawing heavily on Cuba) and its central father-son relationship. "[Anton's] in charge of the country; he believes he's doing the right thing by enslaving his population," Khavari says. "But you take someone like that, and then you couple that with having a teenage son—Diego is 13 years old—and I think, for us, that's something that Far Cry has never really had. It allows for a complex dynamic."
While many are excited to see what Esposito and Gonzalez will bring to their roles, Far Cry 6 is also attracting early critiques. Many have noted that Esposito himself is not of Latin American descent, raising questions about the decision to cast him as the dictator of a pseudo-Cuba. As Ubisoft grapples with internal changes in the wake of harassment and abuse allegations and aims to revise its all white male Editorial Department, it looks like we're in for some familiar discussions around inherently political content and worldbuilding once again.