Look out, La Casa De Papel fans! A new heist maven has been added to the team. And guess what? Her name is Manila.
Manila, whose real name is Julia, was first seen in season three as one of the hostages during the heist on the Royal Bank of Spain. However, in a spicy twist of events, she was revealed to be an undercover agent for the Professor's gang—recruited by her godfather Moscow, she was enlisted to blend in with the hostages, ratting them out to the robbers if they had any plans to rebel.
That's not all there is to her riveting character, though: Manila is also a trans woman. Money Heist is notable for its positive depiction of the LGBTQ+ community. One gang member, a Serbian soldier codenamed Helsinki, is openly queer. In a clear effort to pronounce support for the community, the newest season features a sweet reunion between Manila and her family friends Moscow and Denver, who had presumably last seen her years before her transition. "Everyone is free to do whatever they want and when they want it," Denver says before swooping in to give Manila a hug.
In a video call interview with Preview, actress Belen Cuesta revealed that she was overjoyed to be joining the Heist family. "I am especially thrilled to be [a part of this] show, [despite] what's happening internationally...As an actress, it's thrilling to do [these] high action scenes. I look forward to [continually] working with Alex, and our director. Also, on a professional level, I think I'm very lucky to get to get to do something like this. This is very different [from] what I have been doing lately," she said.
In the show, the robbers each adopt a city as a code name. Characters are named Tokyo, Lisbon, Rio, Stockholm, Nairobi, and others. According to the show's creator, Alex Pina, the cities were chosen randomly during the writing of the first season. However, for the latter seasons, cities were selected according to the countries with the highest number of Money Heist fans.
"The cities were chosen randomly in the first season, for example, for a [crew member's] shirt that read 'Tokyo.' Now, we work with cities with a certain sound [and] uniqueness. Some names are a tribute to those countries that have welcomed us so well," he told the Spanish publication El Periodico. Given this, we bet that the new character is definitely a shoutout to Filipino fans of the show!