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‘Better Call Saul’ Will Be Set in 2002, Vince Gilligan Says

TCA 2014: ”I hesitate to say it, but it is indeed a period piece,“ Gilligan tells reporters

The “Breaking Bad” prequel “Better Call Saul” will be set in “about the year 2002,” executive producer Vince Gilligan told reporters Friday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.

“We tried hard on ‘Breaking Bad’ to not be too specific to when it was, but now we kind of have to be,” Gilligan said. “I hesitate to say it, but it is indeed a period piece. It feels like yesterday, but it was 12 years ago.”

Also read: ‘Better Call Saul’ Will Use ‘Flexible Timeline’ for Possible Bryan Cranston Return

The timeline answered one of the big questions about the show: When exactly it will take place. But Gilligan said the show may jump in time, just as “Breaking Bad” did.

Gilligan also said he hoped the new show would have the same “Swiss watch” quality of “Breaking Bad,” in which every element fits together. He and Gould said they aspired to write a similarly tightly plotted show, rather than a loose one with lots of standalone episodes that don’t need to fit together in order.

During the wide-ranging panel, Gilligan and executive producer Peter Gould talked about the origin of the Saul Goodman character. Gould said he came about because of an opening in the “Breaking Bad” universe that arose when Tuco, who was to have terrorized Walt and Jesse throughout Season 2, had to be killed off due to scheduling conflicts.

Also read: AMC Reveals First Look at ‘Better Call Saul,’ Announces Second Season Order

Gilligan also said he took “full responsibility” for the decision to delay “Saul” until 2015, rather than in the fall, when it was originally slated to air.

“We could have made the deadline, but I’m slow as mud as a TV writer,” he said.

He and Gould also said they remained open to the possibility of bringing back “Breaking Bad” villain Gus Fring.

On “Saul,” Bob Odenkirk will reprise his role as ethically flexible attorney Saul Goodman. He’ll be joined by Michael McKean, who’ll play his brother, as well as Rhea Seehorn (“Franklin & Bash”), Patrick Fabian (“Big Love”) and Michael Mando (“Orphan Black”). “Breaking Bad” alum Jonathan Banks will also return, as “fixer”/strongman Mike Ehrmentraut.