Better Call Saul creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould want to clear up some of the online confusion over their Breaking Bad prequel. The writer-producers and the Better Call Saul cast took the stage at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour in Pasadena on Saturday to take questions from reporters, many of whom have seen the first two episodes of the eagerly anticipated series which debuts Feb. 8 (the first-blush verdict in the room seems to be: The spin-off is much better than skeptics expected).
Gilligan and Gould said the question they’re most often asked is whether certain Breaking Bad characters will show up in the new series. It turns out stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul will not appear in the first season, but all Breaking Bad characters could and likely will show up on Saul at some point.
“In the spirit of full disclosure, Walt and Jesse will not appear in season 1,” Gould said. “Having said that, everything else is on the table.” Gould noted there’s a large board in the Saul writers’ room listing all the characters from Breaking Bad as potential script fodder.
Gilligan added: “The short answer is: The sky is the limit and any of these characters could conceivably show up in future seasons. But the intention is it will feel proper and organic, because if it feels like a stunt then something has gone terribly wrong in the writers’ room. Jesse will be tricky, because he’s so young [during the Better Call Saul timeline]. To be completely honest, I want to see them all eventually. There’s a constant tension of, ‘Man, this would be fun to do, but would it just be a stunt?'”
Joked star Bob Odenkirk: [The difference with being on Better Call Saul is] “every time I walk in [Saul’s] office I say, ‘Has Walter White called yet?'”
More from the panel:
— Odenkirk says Saul’s character is different in the prequel: “He’s a different guy. He’s a far more dimensional character than Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad—by necessity, [because] he’s on screen a lot more … [the writers] have a great time creating highly conflicting ethical situations where the character has to navigate a complex and ever changing prism of ethical choices.”
— Gilligan says he was pretty scared to muck with Breaking Bad‘s legacy by making a prequel, but is now feeling very confident in the show’s quality: “All of life is a risk, and this is certainly a risk, and I was scared the whole time, and I’m still anxious about how it will be received. I don’t think [it was until] we were in the editing room, and saw [the story] made tangible [that I said], ‘Shit, I don’t know if the world will like this thing, but I do. I’m really proud. It’s a goddamn good show. The first two are really good and it only gets better from there.”
— Based on the first two episodes, Better Call Saul has a Breaking Bad-ian feel in many respects—such as the very purposeful and character-driven use of color and sound effects—yet there are some creative changes behind the scenes: “Breaking Bad had a hand-held camera, it always had a little bit of motion to it,” Gould said. “This time the camera always tends to be static and locked down. It almost feels like [Saul] is struggling against the corners of the frame.”