Following the monumental success of Breaking Bad, AMC is hoping to lure the millions of Walter White fans to come back and enjoy a prequel within the same twisted universe. Better Call Saul is the highly anticipated AMC spinoff which centers on Bob Odenkirk’s fan favorite character, Saul Goodman, and his life before meeting Walter White.
Co-executive producers Peter Gould and Vince Gillgian took the stage Friday afternoon at the TCA press tour in Beverly Hills to provide some brand new details as to what fans can expect from Saul Goodman’s world. Read on for insight into the Better Call Saul timeline, whether or not more Breaking Bad characters will be thrown into the mix, and a shocking family connection.
So why Saul Goodman? Out of all the mesmerizing characters that Breaking Bad introduced to the world, why did they decide to center this spinoff on Saul? Gould answered, “Vince had a vision for this universe that none of us completely encompassed and lo and behold, this weird puzzle piece of Saul Goodman, the slippery lawyer with the crazy suits in the crazy office, fit.”
The co-creator continued, “He made the drama more dramatic, and the comedy more comedy-esque. And so in a lot of ways it was about Saul Goodman solving a problem, but it was so much fun to write a character who was so slippery and loquacious.”
Thanks to the flagship series, the premise of Better Call Saul is already laced with plenty of questions that we need answers to. “We know from Breaking Bad that that’s not the name [Saul] was born with and one question we always ask ourselves is, ‘What problem does being Saul Goodman solve?’ And that sort of was our kickoff site,” Gould explained to the room full of reporters.
Unlike Breaking Bad, there are certain guidelines that Better Call Saul must adhere to since fans already know where the character will eventually end up. “We know where this guy is going, so for instance in the first episode we couldn’t have him lose and eye or an arm or anything like that,” Gould joked.
Gilligan revealed that although the majority of the series will take place in 2002, Better Call Saul could definitely feature the like non-linear storytelling that Breaking Bad was famous for. Due to the prequel atmosphere, the creators were forced to think about certain aspects of the show that they never had to worry about before.
“We tried hard on Breaking Bad, if you noticed, to not be too specific as to when it was [happening] and now we kind of have to be a little bit more specific,” he said. “I hesitate to say it, but it is indeed a period piece, I can’t believe it myself but that was 12 years ago, so there is a certain amount of effort that goes into making it as factual and related to the period as possible.”
And despite the fact that a prequel brings its fair share of challenges, it does allow for the opportunity to bring back beloved characters who have died, such as Giancarlo Esposito’s Gus, back into the mix.
“These are all characters we love,” Gould said of the Breaking Bad roster. “And with Gus we know that there is so much more you could say about that character. We certainly love Giancarlo and that’s certainly a possibility. Having said, that we’re trying to make something that stands on its own and that has an entertainment value, that’s not just seeing a series of old favorites.”
“We’re still feeling our way through this and we’re plugging away on the eight episode and we’re figuring out if and when, when and if to perhaps see some of these characters.”
Fans will most definitely be treated so some familiar faces, however they will also be introduced to many newcomers. Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian and Michael Mando have all been tapped to join the series as characters that will represent both legitimate and illegitimate sides of the law.
In an exciting twist, Gilligan also revealed that there will be a new branch added to Saul’s family tree. “[Michale] McKean plays Bob’s brother,” Gould confirmed. “We have these two comedy legends working together. He’s playing Saul’s brother. He’s one of the main characters we’ve introduced. He’s just a tremendous performer and he also answers questions about ‘Spinal Tap’.”
In lieu of the high anticipation for the series, many fans were disappointed when it was announced that the premiere of Better Call Saul had been pushed back from November of 2014 to early 2015.
Gilligan, However, accepted full responsibility for the delay revealing, “I’m going to tell you the true story of this: We could have made the deadline, however I am slow as mud as a TV writer. I always have been.”
Not to worry, fans! It will all be worth it in the end. Gilligan explained that he is beyond appreciative that AMC has allowed him to continue with average pace of three weeks of shooting per episode, so that Better Call Saul will have the same mind-blowing attention to detail that Breaking Bad was famous for.
Better Call Saul is set to premiere on AMC in early 2015.