When AMC first announced its Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul, it was called a prequel that would focus on the evolution of Bob Odenkirk‘s popular Saul Goodman character before Saul became Walter White’s lawyer. Today, answering TV critics’ questions about reports the sequel will jump around in time, as had Breaking Bad, exec producer Vince Gilligan responded: “I think the best way to answer this is that you saw, from Breaking Bad, we like nonlinear storytelling. I would definitely point you in the direction of anything that is possible on Breaking Bad is possible on Better Call Saul. It’s fun for us to be as nonlinear as possible.”
That said, the series will have as its base the start year of 2002, Gilligan said. “I hesitate to say it, but it is indeed a period piece,” he said. “I can’t believe it myself — it’s like it was yesterday, but it was 12 years ago.”
(UPDATE: Gilligan and fellow exec producer/writer Peter Gould also 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.)
TV critics — major Breaking Bad fans — immediately began asking which characters from that beloved series they could expect to see brought back in the first season of Saul. Gilligan and Gould said they are now working on Episode 8 and have yet to bring back anyone. “We’re trying to make something that stands on its own, that has entertainment value not just as seeing a series of old favorites or “remember when” – not the series equivalent of a clip show,” Gould explained.
“We’re still feeling our way through this…figuring out if and when — when and if — to see some of these characters,” Gilligan added, ominously
He said the delay in the new show’s premiere date– it’s now set for 2015 — was entirely a function of his being “slow as mud as a TV writer.” “We had a pace, thanks to AMC and Sony, on Breaking Bad that was deliciously stately for television,” he explained. “We averaged three weeks just for breaking episodes. Not a surprise to me, we’re doing same with Better Call Saul, and we feel that pays dividends. With Breaking Bad, people said that seemed to knit together pretty well. … So here we are again, doing same.”
Asked how he expects to do this show, and CBS’ Battle Creek, debuting next season, if he can only work at that pace, Gilligan said the latter “is a show I’m real proud of from more of a spectator point of view. I don’t have as much to do on that show.” Better Call Saul he described as a 50-50 collaboration but noted that “Peter created the Saul character” and will become even more involved as the series progresses.
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