Breaking Bad may have come to its bittersweet conclusion in 2013, but Vince Gilligan's vision of the Albuquerque crime world will live on in spin-off show Better Call Saul, in which Bob Odenkirk's sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman and his roster of disreputable clients will take center stage.
Better Call Saul is coming to AMC and Netflix in 2014, with Gilligan as showrunner and three other members of the Breaking Bad production team - co-creator Peter Gould, co-executive producer Thomas Schnauz and executive story editor Gennifer Hutchison - also onboard, but aside from Odenkirk the question of which Breaking Bad cast members will definitely return remains largely unanswered.
"The sky's the limit, at least theoretically speaking," Gilligan says in an interview with The Playlist. While the cast of Breaking Bad definitely seem to have fond memories of their time on the show and probably wouldn't be averse to a reunion, the success of the show has left them with some pretty busy schedules.
Gilligan says that this is the main limitation on who they will be able to bring back:
"Realistically speaking, we’ve got a whole lot of actors, and the world is now well-aware of their wonderful talents and abilities, and therefore 'Breaking Bad' has probably made it tougher for Peter and I to get some of these folks pinned down for another TV show. They’re off making big movies and doing Broadway plays and whatnot, and that’s exactly the way it should be. That is a high-class problem that we will have to contend with as we go forward with 'Better Call Saul,' if we do indeed want to touch base with some of these characters.
"'Better Call Saul' could be 'The Love Boat' of its generation, where instead of Milton Berle showing up in a sailor’s cap, hopefully it could be Aaron Paul, also in a sailor’s cap."
There are some minor characters who seem likely to make a comeback in Better Call Saul - specifically, Saul's employees. That includes his reasonably happy personal bodyguard Huell Babineaux (Lavell Crawford), who is one half of the "A-Team" that also includes henchman Patrick Kuby (Bill Burr). There's also Saul's secretary, Francesca (Tina Parker), and his occasional private investigator and crime scene cleaner, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). In fact, Gilligan mentioned Mike by name as the character that most immediately springs to mind when he thinks of potential guest stars for Better Call Saul.
Of course, Better Call Saul doesn't necessarily need to star anyone from Breaking Bad in order to be a good show (except Saul - he's sort of important), and Odenkirk has insisted that it will be "entertaining on its own terms" instead of simply being an amputated limb of Breaking Bad. If anything, the new characters that the writers are going to come up with are even more worth looking forward to than guest appearances by familiar faces.
With the kind of timeline the writers have in mind, however, Gilligan believes that anything is possible:
"We think, by and large, this show will be a prequel, but the wonderful thing about the fractured chronology we employed on 'Breaking Bad' for many years is the audience will not be thrown by us jumping around in time. So it’s possible that we may indeed do that, and we’ll see the past and perhaps the future. Nothing is written in stone yet, we’re still figuring it out."
The DVD and Blu-ray version of Breaking Bad's season finale included an "alternate ending" set in the world of Malcolm in the Middle, in which Hal wakes up in bed after a horrible dream about meth cooks and a tiny waif man-child in oversized clothing, but one Breaking Bad fan theory posits that everything on the show really was just a dream.
It probably wasn't necessary, but Gilligan confirms that this isn't the case:
"I heard anecdotally that a lot of people were of the belief that the whole thing had been a dream, then I was kind of scratching my head because that to me as a fan of storytelling, that to me, is the antithesis of a satisfying ending... It does not work well to a modern audience. It certainly doesn’t work well for me that these people I’ve invested all my care and close attention to for years on end, that nothing they’ve accomplished happened to be real: It was all some bulls— dream. [Laughs] I was like, 'Are you kidding me?'"
Oh well, what does he know? Personally I'm a fan of the theory that they were all in the Matrix the whole time, and Marie was Agent Smith in disguise.
Better Call Saul will premiere on AMC in 2014.
Source: The Playlist