Smith, who received his second Emmy nomination for the AMC/Sony TV series this year sat down with Deadline Senior Editor Dominic Patten as well as Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk and co-creator Peter Gould tonight at Awardsline’s Emmy panel for the show. Take a look at last night’s panel above. It was Gould who first introduced the character of Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad; the cut-corners attorney who always lands on his feet. This year, the Breaking Bad prequel raked in nine Emmy noms in its third season bringing its lifetime running tally to 23. In addition to Smith’s nod for the episode “Chicanery,” the show is also up for outstanding drama series, lead drama actor (Odenkirk) and supporting actor drama (Jonathan Banks).
While Gould and Smith largely remained quiet about what we can immediately expect next season, there were bits and pieces within tonight’s conversation. Odenkirk for one, who serves as a producer on the show, has a wish list of plot points.
“Please let’s respect these guys,” responded Odenkirk to calls for season 4 spoilers, “It’s like an egg with a really soft shell that they’re trying to carry across the room.”
Gould echoed what he told Deadline at the end of the season: Jimmy McGill’s eccentric attorney brother Chuck (Michael McKean) is dead, having perished in a fire he started at his house in the last episode of season 3.
“We try not to screw around with the audience where ‘you thought it was this, but it’s now that’,” said Gould, “To build up the way we did and not have consequences, it would be a wet cracker.”
In addition, Gould revealed that’s there’s a happenstance rule on the show, whereby bad luck and problems make for great drama. “We believe that coincidence is tricky, but if coincidence is good for a character, it’s problematic. But if coincidence is bad, that’s good.”
One wish that Odenkirk expressed for a future episode: “We have to meet Lalo,” said the two-time Emmy winner who won for writing on Saturday Night Live and The Ben Stiller Show, “I want that monologue to mean a lot.” Odenkirk was referring to the time when we first met Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad: He’s kidnapped by Walter and Jesse and taken to a desert grave that’s been dug for him. Goodman begins begging for his life (“Oh, no, Lalo, please don’t do it!”). Wired magazine revealed that they spotted the name Lalo on a corkboard in the Better Call Saul writers’ room earlier this year. “We have to earn our Breaking Bad crossover moments on the show,” said Gould.
And Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), Jimmy’s gal, getting into a near fatal car accident last season:Is that a foreshadow of what’s to come? Is that a forthcoming tragedy which puts Jimmy over the edge into fully transforming into Saul? Gould tossed the questions to the Romans in the Landmark Theater. “Who wants to see Kim live?” asked the co-creator to great cheers.
“Kim will become the regional director of Cinnabon,” joked Odenkirk.
This soon led to chatter about Goodman’s alias, the tired and pale Cinnabon Gene, who appears in bookends of various episodes.
“I want to see his life,” said Odenkirk about Gene’s fate, “There’s no way for him to go on the way he is.”
Gould expounded: “I’m fascinated by the Gene element. [The show] is a prequel, and the Gene part of the story is a sequel. Doing this show is like a Rubik’s cube. We know certain events about these characters; they were deemed to meet for the first time on Breaking Bad … Gene fascinates me because he’s a survivor. There’s a cowardly aspect, but this guy told the kid, ‘Get a lawyer!’ You realize then that this guy has gone through all these identities. They’re separate people that Bob is playing, but they’re like Russian nesting dolls and Gene is the biggest of them.”
Odenkirk gave a shout-out to Patrick Fabian’s fierce turn as nemesis alpha male attorney Howard Hamlin. Odenkirk’s take on Jimmy’s relationship with Howard going forward? “Hamlin is a guy who at the end of the day does the numbers and reappraises somebody. He’s willing to listen to Jimmy and I think he respects Jimmy in a meaningful way…but Hamlin would say no to Jimmy’s formidable brain. Yeah, Hamlin doesn’t want that anarchy around him,” said Odenkirk.
Looking back, Gould said that if it wasn’t for Odenkirk’s sublime performance (a great clip was shown tonight showing Jimmy breaking down before his malpractice insurance agent, only to realize in the course of his cry that he can really double-cross his vengeful brother Chuck), that Better Call Saul “wouldn’t have the breath of happening.”
“When I wrote him at first, he wasn’t a multi-dimensional character. He was fun; the ultimate sleazebag lawyer,” said Gould, “I remember Bob asking me ‘You guys are going to kill me off pretty quick?’ I said, ‘Bob, we really like this character, we built a set and we can’t afford to kill you off.”
Said Gould about how much more Better Call Saul we can expect, “I would rather have it end too soon, then go on for too long.”
Before the panel, the trio spoke with Patten in a Facebook Live interview, check that out here:
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) August 8, 2017