Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have bad news for “Breaking Bad” fans who hoped that their favorite meth kingpin Walter White might be popping up in the upcoming “Bad” prequel “Better Call Saul.”
“Walt and Jesse [Pinkman] will not appear in Season 1; we really want this show to stand on its own,” “Saul” co-showrunner Gould told reporters at the show’s panel at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena on Saturday. “But having said that, everything else is on the table.”
Set six years before the events of “Breaking Bad,” the new AMC drama — which premieres Feb. 8 and 9 at 10 p.m. — sees Bob Odenkirk reprising his role as ethically flexible attorney Saul Goodman (though, at this point, he’s known as Jimmy McGill). The series also brings back Jonathan Banks as future fixer Mike Ehrmentraut. And while Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul won’t be showing up as White and Pinkman on “Saul’s” maiden run, “Breaking Bad” creator Gilligan — also a showrunner on “Saul” — offered hope that they might appear in future runs. (The series has already been greenlit for a second season).
The fun in “Saul” being a “Breaking Bad” prequel, Gilligan said, is “that it allows the sky to be the limit … a lot of the characters who are deceased on ‘Breaking Bad’ could theoretically show up.”
However, he cautioned, the characters would have to be “organic” to the development of “Saul.”
“If it feels like a stunt, then we in the writers’ room will have done something terribly wrong,” Gilligan cautioned.
Odenkirk, for one, seemed eager to see White pop up on the new series.
“Every time I come to the office on this show I say, ‘Has Walter White called yet?'” Odenkirk quipped.
In the meantime, the show will delve into the story of Jimmy McGill — who, Odenkirk said, will be “far more dimensional than Saul Goodman on ‘Breaking Bad.'”
And as far as other “Bad” characters who might or might not appear on “Saul,” Banks offered, “They are loved, their ghosts are there, no question. [But] this is a different show.”