Walter White himself — Bryan Cranston — paid a surprise visit to the Better Call Saul panel at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys on Sunday. “I just couldn’t help myself,” he said. “Know where your wallet is right now,” quipped cast member Jonathan Banks as Cranston greeted his old crew on the eve of Saul‘s Season 3 premiere.
Also on the panel were Saul co-creator and EP Peter Gould, along with cast members Giancarlo Esposito and Rhea Seehorn.
The upcoming season on AMC sees Esposito’s return as Breaking Bad‘s Gustavo Fring, the disquieting fast-food entrepreneur and meth dealer. “I’m back in a new way,” said Esposito. “It’s a Gus you’ve never seen before. The subtle difference is I want to be the Gus that’s younger, vulnerable” and “finding the way to being the kingpin that you meet in Breaking Bad.”
Banks, who play Mike Ehrmantraut, also a holdover from the previous series, spoke on his character’s evolution. “Mike has been Mike a long time. He may not be the right-hand man to a drug lord, but Mike has been in a dark place for a long time,” he said, speaking with moderator Dominic Patten of Deadline. “There’s a lot going on. I’ll probably be doing backstory on Mike until the day I die.”
Compared with the Esposito and Banks characters, not as much is known about Seehorn’s Kim Wexler. “There’s some freedom and excitement that exists in the mystery of that,” said Seehorn, adding it’s not certain if “Kim exists during the Breaking Bad years. … For me, it’s a different responsibility of just playing the moment for what it is.”
Better Call Saul, an origin story of the morally questionable Albuquerque lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), takes place prior to the days of Heisenberg. Knowing where this road leads, Gould was asked if there already is a plan laid out for the series. “There’s no plan,” Gould said. “The only plan we have is what we’ve shown the audience. … We’re constantly pinning ourselves into corners and hoping like hell that we can get ourselves out. The positive thing about that is we can’t figure out what happens next. Hopefully the answer will be a surprise to the audience as well as us.”
Season 3 of the series, also co-created and exec produced by Vince Gilligan, launches Monday on AMC.