Better Call Saul may be a prequel to Breaking Bad but its first series didn’t feel like one; forgoing flashy cameos and callbacks in favour of a more measured, thoughtful take on how Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) became criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. According to producer Peter Gould, however, that is set to change slightly in series two, with the story now being that bit closer to the beginning of Breaking Bad.
“All I can say is that what we try to do – and very successfully, I think – is to make [the connection to Breaking Bad] organic. There’s absolutely some things we’ll see and I think it’s probably fair to say that there’s more of that in season two than there was in season one. But it’s all in service of the story of Jimmy McGill. There are not extraneous cameos that are just for fan-service. Instead, we’ve tried to be very strict with ourselves and say, ‘what is the next thing that happens in these character’s lives?’”
So we’re not going to be seeing Walter White cleaning cars in the background? Or Jesse Pinkman quickly skating by smoking a bong?
“We’d sure love to see both Brian [Cranston] and Aaron [Paul] back on the show. That’s something that I personally hope happens at some point. Hopefully there’s other reasons to watch the show than just waiting for that, though…”
Indeed, series one of Better Call Saul ended with a big epiphany for McGill: that nice guys finish last, that no matter how much he tries to change he will always be Slippin’ Jimmy, the scam artist name he adopted when younger. Surely this was a sign that series one was all about Jimmy McGill; series two will be about Saul Goodman?
“I can tell you that if you were to have asked me after season one what was going to happen next I would never have come up with what actually happens! What we’ve done – for better or for worse – is to follow these characters and try to stay true to who they are. This character of Jimmy McGill went in directions that surprised all of us. And we’ve learnt more about what’s important to him and we’ve learnt more about what in him creates this character of Saul Goodman. But the more we love Jimmy McGill the sadder we are that he becomes Saul.”
But how long will that story take? How many episodes or seasons are needed to properly tell the tale of Saul Goodman?
“That’s something we debate constantly, he says. “My sincere hope is that we do exactly the right number of episodes to tell the complete story without overstaying our welcome. I’m hoping to repeat that particular magic Vince Gilligan brought to Breaking Bad of ending the story at the right moment, I can’t guarantee it but it’s on our minds constantly.”
Better Call Saul season 1 is available on Blu-ray and DVD now