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It's been a long, tough ten months for Breaking Bad fans, ever since Walter White left this earth to make meth with the angels. But help is on the way: Finally, after months of wild speculation, we're getting some solid details (and new photos!) from AMC's upcoming spinoff Better Call Saul, which centers on Bad's slimy attorney Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk.
At AMC's summer press tour today, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and producer Peter Gould (who wrote the BB episode Saul debuted in) shed some light on the much-anticipated prequel, where both serve as co-creators. We'll have to wait a little longer than expected to actually see Saul; AMC just pushed back the premiere date from November to early 2015. And we didn't get to see any footage; Gilligan says they're still busy writing scripts. But hey, any Breaking Bad news is good news, right?
So what do we know about Saul? It's an hour-long series that AMC calls "dramatic" and "woven with dark humor." (Hmmm, sounds familiar.) And it's set six years before Saul Goodman ever crossed paths with Walter White, putting the premiere somewhere around 2002 — which Gilligan ruefully says makes it a "period piece." Back then, Saul went by the name of Jimmy McGill, a "small-time lawyer searching for his destiny," according to AMC.
As Gould says, "we know that he wasn't born with that name," so he and Gilligan had to ask themselves, "What problem does being 'Saul Goodman' solve?" That inspired the two to really delve into the character of Saul in a way they hadn't before; Gilligan says he realized "we didn't really know this guy at all."
One thing we learn about Saul: He has a brother, Chuck, played by comedy veteran Michael McKean. Gould says he's in awe of having "two comedy legends working together… and he also answers questions about Spinal Tap." Otherwise, Gilligan and Gould are pretty tight-lipped about describing characters or revealing plot points. All Gould will say is "there are a lot of lawyers and crooks. I know that comes as a great surprise."
We do know Jonathan Banks will reprise his role as gruff fixer Mike Erhmantraut on Saul, but could we see other Bad favorites like Gus Fring make an appearance, too? Gilligan just smiles: "There's always a chance." And Gould says of Gus, "there's so much more to say about that character." But he also insists: "We're trying to make something that stands on its own. It's not the series equivalent of a clip show."
Oh, and don't sweat that pesky scheduling delay; it doesn't mean there's anything wrong behind the scenes. Gilligan says, in his low-key Southern drawl, "We could've made the deadline, but I am slow as mud as a TV writer. We had a pace on Breaking Bad that was deliciously… stately." And if Saul turns out to be even one-tenth as compelling as BB was, we're more than happy to wait a little longer to get our fix.
Better Call Saul premieres in early 2015 on AMC.