“In the interest of full disclosure, Walt and Jesse will not appear in Season 1,” Peter Gould told distraught TV critics re Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul’s Breaking Bad characters popping up on Better Call Saul, AMC’s spinoff prequel of that much loved series. “We don’t want to mislead people. It’s not going to happen — ut, having said that, everything else is on the table,” EP Gould added.
“We’re not saying it’s never gonna happen. We’re not saying it will happen,” jumped in EP Vince Gilligan.
“It’s a natural question: How many character from BB world may appear on Better call Saul,” Gilligan said patiently, during one of the times the question came up during today’s Better Call Saul Q&A at Winter TV Press Tour 2015. “I have to admit, a big part of the fun for us is setting a series as a prequel, six years earlier. The sky’s the limit” he said, while pointing out it would be a little tricky to bring back Jesse because he’d be in middle school.”
“Every time I come into the office on this show, I say, ‘Has Walter called yet?’,” added Bob Odenkirk, who played Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman who is aka Jimmy McGill on Better Call Saul.
TV critics had a tough time getting off the topic. Later in the Q&A, Gilligan acknowledged “it’s certainly a question I’d be asking.” Adding, “I guess the best way to answer is, we’ve got to have the storytelling…If it ever got to the point in the show where we said, ‘Hmmm, this [episode] is going to air around a sweep week, we need Bryan in this one’, I hope that will be the day I quit. The short answer is, the sky is the limit and the characters could conceivably show up in the future but our intention is when they do feel proper and fitting and organic. If it feels like a stunt, then we in the writers room have done something terribly wrong.”
But he admitted there is a “constant tension” on the spinoff, in which the writers say, “Man, this would be fun to do” in regards to bringing back Walter or Jesse — “but, yes, it’s kind of like a stunt.”
That said, Gould described the “cork board with the names of all the characters from Breaking Bad “we could conceivably bring back” adding “you want it to be organic to the show and don’t want the detail in the background to distract you from what’s going on in the foreground. What we’re trying to do is keep our eyes on the prize.”
While the two shows share certain qualities, Gilligan promised the new show would feel different. “Walter White had a very existential and immediate problem. He was dying of cancer, so that whole show felt, by necessity, had to be very accelerated story-telling . We don’t have that with Jimmy McGill.”
“Saul could be disbarred at any moment,” Odenkirk joked.
In July, Gilligan and Gould revealed that Goodman’s character won’t be called Saul Goodman: He will be known as Jimmy McGill as the series tracks his transformation from a small-time lawyer hustling to make ends meet into Saul Goodman.
AMC has set a February 8 premiere date for its Breaking Bad spinoff starring Bob Odenkirk as the oily attorney. Better Call Saul will take over the 10 PM Sunday slot that its predecessor series called home during its five-season until it wrapped in September 2013. The cable net will follow the Saul opener with a second new episode on Monday, February 9, making it AMC’s first two-night series premiere. The drama — which also stars Jonathan Banks, Michael McKean, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian and Michael Mando — focuses on the evolution of the Goodman character before he became Walter White’s lawyer in Breaking Bad.