Two episodes of Fear the Walking Dead's fourth season have aired so far, and fans have gotten an update on the whereabouts of the major players who were present for the dam explosion that closed Season 3 — except one. There's a very conspicuous absence: hardened survivor Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades), who has so far been unseen and unremarked upon in Season 4. But to paraphrase Morgan (Lennie James), Salazar doesn't die, so fans are wondering where he is.
The good news is he will almost certainly be back at some point. The bad news is that it won't be any time soon.
New Fear the Walking Dead cast member Garret Dillahunt tells TV Guide that Blades has not appeared at any time during Season 4 so far, which is currently in production on the second half of the season, and may not show up at all this year.
"Rubén's just off winning Grammys," he says. (Blades, who's perhaps even better known for his singing than his acting, won Latin Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Salsa Album and a Grammy for Best Tropical Latin Album for his most recent album Salsa Big Band.)
Dillahunt asked his costar Danay Garcia, who has been with the show since Season 2, if Blades' appearances on Fear have been subject to his availability, which she confirmed. He's an icon — "In the Latino world, he's like James Bond," says Garcia — and he's very busy, so the show is willing to accommodate his schedule. His character previously disappeared for the second half of Season 2.
But Dillahunt and Garcia agree that they don't think Daniel is dead, which was all but confirmed by co-showrunner Andrew Chambliss in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Chambliss told EW he has "no inkling" of when Salazar will return, "but I think the thing we will say without giving away too much is that we definitely will be seeing Daniel Salazar in the Walking Dead universe. It's a very big world, and we will hint at what may have happened."
Daniel's lingering effects will be most seen in Strand (Colman Domingo), who is still dealing with the emotional baggage of non-fatally shooting Daniel in the face, Chambliss said.
It's unclear whether or not Blades will appear at all in Season 4. The Hollywood Reporter said he would be back as a guest star at some point, but then again Chambliss said "no inkling." Then again, Walking Dead producers and cast members will say anything to keep spoilers from getting out. TV Guide reached out to AMC to confirm if we'll see Blades as Salazar in Season 4, and didn't get a straight answer.
"Daniel Salazar is alive in the universe of the Walking Dead and audiences will be enjoying Rubén's brilliant portrayal of him again," Chambliss and Goldberg said. So who knows, maybe he'll show up on The Walking Dead.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.