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Selena: The Series

Selena Quintanilla’s family and Netflix hit with $1 million lawsuit over upcoming series

The producer of the 1997 biopic ‘Selena’ claims he owns the rights to her life story.

When it was announced that a series about Selena Quintanilla would be released on Netflix, Latinx’s rejoiced. After the trailer was released in October fans couldn’t wait to relive their childhood and sing along to her legendary songs.

Some fans were worried that the series wouldn’t be able to properly portray the Mexican-American story the way that she deserves. Others even accused the series of “White Washing” the iconic singer by choosing a light-skinned actress. Along with minor criticism, the series has a new thing on their plate- a lawsuit. It was greed that led to the murder of Selena by her fan clubs president Yolanda Saldívar, and even after death- it lingers.


According to E! News, Moctesuma Esparza, the producer of the 1997 film Selena starring Jennifer Lopez and Edward James Olmos has filed a lawsuit against her father and sister, Abraham and Suzette Quintanilla, and Netflix. According to documents obtained by the outlet, Esparza filed a lawsuit on November 6th claiming Abraham signed a contract agreeing to give him all rights to his daughter’s life stories in 1995.

However, as pointed out by E! In an archived Los Angele Times article published just 8 months after the singer’s death on November 26, 1995, that wasn’t the case. The writer noted at the time, “unlike most makers of movie biographies, he did not seek rights to Selena’s life story. Instead the filmmakers entered into an unusual formal agreement that gave the family script approval while allowing Esparza control over the production itself.” Esparza said at the time, “I have never gone after headline stories.”

Selena Archive©GettyImages
Selana Quintanilla 1994

But according to Esparza, this non-formal agreement changed in 1998 when he sat with Selena’s surviving family members to discuss a series based on her life to serve as a follow-up to the biopic. Esparza asserts in his lawsuit the issue of the rights to Selena’s life stories came back up during the discussion, at which point they formalized their agreement. Obviously, the project never went forward. With Selena: The Series less than a month away, Esparza claims they ignored his legal rights in the situation and is asking for 1 million dollars in damages.

The show features, Christian Serratos who will be taking on the role of the Tejano star. Fans can expect to see a fresh look at Selena’s life focusing on her early years in the family band Selena y Los Dinos and her rise to fame as a solo artist. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the show’s creator and executive producer Moisés Zamora teased, “You’ll see her coming of age as she transforms into the incredibly confident superstar everyone knows and loves. We will dive into the family dynamics and will show some interesting things people don’t know about the Quintanilla’s.”


The first part of Selena: The Series hits Netflix on December 4th.

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