How do you solve a problem like Saul Goodman? According to Better Call Saul showrunner Peter Gould, the question should be, "What problem does being Saul Goodman solve?"
At the Television Critics Asscociation summer press tour on Friday, Gould and co-showrunner Vince Gilligan revealed when the Breaking Bad spin-off will take place, unveiled some new characters, and named a few illustrious directors who've signed on to help with the project. Here's what we know:
What problem does being Saul Goodman solve?
The real name of the slimy lawyer we know and love is not Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), but Jimmy McGill. The series aims to show us the circumstances that bring him to the point where we meet him on Breaking Bad. "It's a leap of faith or stupidity into the unknown," Gilligan said.
Which new characters will we meet?
Michael McKean will play Chuck (pictured in the first-look photo below). "He's playing Saul's brother," Gould said. "It's two comedy legends working together. [Michael] is a tremendous performer and answers questions about Spinal Tap." We'll also meet the previously announced Rhea Seehorn as Kim, Patrick Fabian as Hamlin, and Orphan Black's Michael Mando as Nacho. "[There are] a lot of lawyers and crooks," said Gould. "I know that will come as a big surprise."
Will we see a younger (and still alive) Gus Fring?
The fried chicken restaurateur/drug kingpin (Giancarlo Esposito) was the drug distributor who met Walt and Jesse (Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul) because Saul introduced them through "a guy who knows a guy who knows another guy." "There's always a chance [he'll appear]," Gould hedged. "There's so much to say about that character... but we're tyring to make something that stands on its own. It always seemed that Saul didn't know Gus directly."
When does the prequel take place?
AMC announced on Friday that the series takes place six years before Saul meets Walt. Gilligan confirmed the approximate timeframe: "It's 2002. It is period. We never completely nailed down when Breaking Bad took place. We tried hard on Breaking Bad to not be too specific, but now we have to be a little more specific than we're comfortable with."
What was the inspiration for the Saul character?
"We had a gap in the Breaking Bad universe," Gould explained. "Season 2 we had planned to be about Walt and Jesse and Tuco," but Tuco had to be killed off. "We had two guys great at cooking meth, but shitty at selling it. We needed somebody to help them... Saul moved the universe two degrees to the left. Saul Goodman was about solving a problem."
Who will be helming the episodes?
Several Breaking Bad directors will return for Better Call Saul, including Michelle MacLaren, Terry McDonough, Colin Bucksey, Adam Bernstein, and Tom Schnauz.
Why was Better Call Saul's premiere delayed until 2015?
"I'm going to take full responsibility," Gilligan said. "We could've made the deadline, but I am slow as mud as a TV writer. We have a way of doing things that is slower than most episodes. We average three weeks per episode. We want to think things through, and it pays dividends."
Will the storytelling feel the same as Breaking Bad's?
Gilligan said, "You saw from Breaking Bad that we like nonlinear storytelling. I would definitely point you in that direction. Anything that was possible on Breaking Bad, story-wise, is possible on Better Call Saul. It's fun for us."
Better Call Saul premieres in early 2015 on AMC. Are you more excited or nervous for the series?
AIRED ON 4/6/2015
Season 1 : Episode 10
AIRS ON 2/15/2016
Season 1 : Episode 11