Breaking Bad will wrap up its story at the end of the month, but not every character’s journey is coming to an end. AMC is indeed moving forward with that spin-off series featuring Bob Odenkirk’s unscrupulous attorney Saul Goodman, who has served as the crime drama’s comic relief and adviser to our meth kingpin Walter White (Bryan Cranston) since season 2. (The network and Sony Pictures Television, the show’s studio, announced earlier today that they had reached a licensing agreement for a prequel that will track the “evolution of Saul” before he met Walt; a series order is expected to follow when contracts are signed.)
Though Odenkirk and the creative team aren’t commenting yet, Breaking Bad co-executive producer Peter Gould – who concocted the character of Saul and is creating the tentatively titled Better Call Saul with Breaking Bad overlord Vince Gilligan – told EW last week that he and Gilligan were looking forward to subverting the audience’s expectations for this hour-long spin-off. “We’re using the kind of storytelling that we did on Breaking Bad but in a really new way,” he says, cautioning that it’s still a work in progress. “When people think of a Saul Goodman spin-off, they tend to think in terms of a laugh-a-minute comedy, and we’re going for something that has a very very unique tone. To play with a main character who has the unique morality that Saul Goodman does is going to be in its own way as much of an experiment as Breaking Bad was.”
What was it about Goodman that prompted Gould and Gilligan to build a show around this fan favorite? “He’s not a character I’ve seen before,” says Gould. “So much of Breaking Bad is about playing out ideas of morality and how you live in the world, and this is a guy who has a philosophy which is internally consistent but is also kind of strange. In addition to the fact that he always amuses us and we’re always ready to see more, the guy is a problem solver. He solves problems in his own way. He’s just as innovative as Walt is, so that really gives us a lot of stories and a lot of places to go with him.” (And given that this series is a prequel, it leaves open the possibility that Goodman – like any of the show’s characters – might not make it out of Bad alive.)
How does the man of the new hour, Odenkirk, feel about Better Call Saul? He calls himself extremely lucky, for starters. “It’s kind of like somebody asking you, ‘Would you like me to give you a winning lottery ticket?’” he gushed a few weeks ago during an interview for EW’s Breaking Bad cover story. “’Well, yeah! I mean, we both know it’s a winner, right? Sure, I’ll take that!’ … [Playing Saul has] been the greatest fun challenge of my life and I want to do that again. I’ll be thrilled if I get to do it.”
The fifth and final season of Breaking Bad concludes Sept. 29 on AMC.