A mixture of nervous anticipation and cautious optimism continues to mount for ‘Better Call Saul,’ the spin-off of the heralded ‘Breaking Bad’ that gives one of its most beloved supporting characters a leading role.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, ‘Breaking Bad’ creator Vince Gilligan talked about what is possible for the show, elaborating on earlier vague details, but still keeping things open to much potential.
“We think, by and large, this show will be a prequel,” said Gilligan (based on how the show concluded, it seems both near-impossible and far less rewarding to create this story as a sequel). Gilligan does admit though, that as they played with time and chronology on ‘Breaking Bad,’ he and writer/director Peter Gould, who wrote the Goodman character, may do the same with Saul (Bob Odenkirk).
Gilligan did confess that it will be difficult to flesh out a character that was so great in ‘Breaking Bad’ in part due to him being in a smaller role, but also because he was a savvy, content, wise-cracking foil to dour and often foolish Walter White.
“[Saul] seems to be a character who is pretty happy with himself, especially when we first meet him…and that also makes for tricky drama. Even in a comedy, you want drama, you want tension and conflict, and a character that at heart seems at peace with himself is intrinsically undramatic.”
Still, Gilligan asserts that from a writing perspective, anything is possible. Some of it could take place in the same timeline as ‘Breaking Bad,’ and familiar characters could pop up as well. Gilligan cited specifically Jonathan Banks, who played Mike, as a figure who would be both plausible and enjoyable to see back.
Banks, coincidently, has earned a regular role on ‘Community,’ a show Gilligan will guest star on in this year, and like many other actors from ‘Breaking Bad,’ may have a tough go finding time to appear on ‘Saul.’
Gilligan concluded talking about his love for both the show he created and the character of Goodman, “I’ve always loved the character Saul Goodman, I’ve always felt like there’s a whole world of story possibilities contained within him and the world that he inhabits, and I would just love to see some version of this world continue. By its very design, 'Better Call Saul' has to be a different kind of show, and we’re not looking to simply keep 'Breaking Bad' going by having a spin-off series.”
“It has to stand on its own two legs as its own series, otherwise there’s no point in doing it. It will be Saul Goodman’s world.”
For what it’s worth, this is Gilligan’s second attempt at a spin-off series. In 2001, after working on ‘The X-Files,' he sent the nerd trio 'The Lone Gunmen' off to a show of their own. It was not renewed for a second season, and was quickly forgotten in the graveyard of television. Here’s hoping ‘Saul’ has a better fate.