News broke last month that the premiere of the "Breaking Bad" spinoff "Better Call Saul" has been pushed back from this fall, to 2015. Creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould addressed this news, and gave some new details about the show while addressing reporters Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills.
Some of the interesting facts learned Friday: Joining star Bob Odenkirk will be Jonathan Banks, reprising his role as fixer Mike Erhmantraut. And veteran comic actor Michael McKean will play Saul's brother Chuck, according the Los Angeles Times on July 12.
Other series regulars will include Rhea Seehorn as Kim, Patrick Fabian as Hamlin and Michael Mando as Nacho. As for delaying the premiere, Gilligan put that squarely on his shoulders, saying he's taking full responsibility for not making the original deadline. Vince said they could have made it, but he's, "slow as mud as a TV writer."
Gilligan and Gould pointed out they want to make sure the AMC spinoff show will have the same quality that fans admired in Breaking. And that requires time, the pair noting it was a major reason why the final season of "Breaking Bad" was broken into two halves.
Gilligan said the writing staff is currently starting Episode 8 of the 10-episode season, with each taking around three weeks to complete. Production on Episode 4 is scheduled to begin on Monday.
Also, "Better Call Saul" is set in 2002, six years before Saul meets Bryan Cranston's Walter White character in the original show. And the fact that the events in "Breaking Bad" started in 2008 is also new information, Gilligan said, adding that the original show never specified what year it took place, according to Entertainment Weekly.
And Saul Goodman's name in the new show is not yet Saul Goodman. When we first meet Odenkirk’s character, he actually goes by the name of Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer hustling to make ends meet while working with Mike. The new series will follow Jimmy's transformation into the Saul Goodman character.
Gilligan and Gould said it was certainly a possibility that other characters from the original show could appear in the spinoff, but it's not a focus or goal. If Walter White making an appearance makes sense, they'll do it.
Gould said they're trying to make something that stands on its own, and has an entertainment value that's not just about seeing a series of old favorites. That's just one of the major challenges of trying to develop a new series in a world where the fans are fervid and very familiar with and very protective of it, they said.
Gilligan also indicated that the the spinoff will feel the same as "Breaking Bad" in terms of storytelling style. He noted how in the original series, they liked to do a good deal of nonlinear storytelling. They liked to jump around in time, so that basically anything that was possible storytelling-wise on Breaking is possible on Saul.
One bit of great news is that the spinoff series, even with the delays, can take solace in the early renewal for a second season from AMC. But still, Gilligan knows pleasing a network is one thing, but pleasing the fans is another.
"Better Call Saul" is set to premiere in early 2015. As previously announced, Gilligan directed the first show of the first season, which will consist of 10 episodes. The second season will consist of 13. "It's daunting," Gilligan said. "It's always daunting."