You’ll see plenty of familiar faces from AMC’s “Breaking Bad” populating the show’s prequel series, “Better Call Saul,” premiering Feb. 8. But don’t expect to see Walter White or Jesse Pinkman again any time soon — showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould say the two future meth kingpins will not appear in the new show during its first season.
“It’s a very natural question, how many characters from the ‘Breaking Bad’ world may or may not appear,” Gilligan tells television reporters Saturday (Jan. 10) at the winter TV press tour. “A lot of the fun in setting the series as a prequel [is the ability to bring back characters who were killed on ‘Breaking Bad,’ like Jonathan Banks’ Mike Ehrmantraut]. The sky’s the limit.”
Plus, Gilligan loves all the characters he helped create. “I agree with you. I want to see them all eventually.”
But don’t hold your breath for the main “Breaking Bad” twosome. “In the spirit of full disclosure, Walt and Jesse will not appear in Season 1. We want it to stand on its own,” Gould clarifies.
Says Gilligan, “We need to be as organic as possible. We need to let the story and the characters dictate to us where it’s going to go. … [If we do bring people back] it will feel proper and fitting and organic. If it feels like a stunt, then we in the writers’ room have done something horribly wrong.”
Bringing old characters back is always a possibility, though — Gould says there is even a white board filled with the names of old characters they would like to eventually bring back.
“It’s always on our mind, but as Vince says you want it to be organic to the show,” Gould says. “You also don’t want a detail in the backgound distract you from what’s going on in the foreground. You don’t want to lose focus.”
Although “BCS” is its own story, of course there are similarities between it and “Breaking Bad.” “Every time I come into this show I say, ‘Has Walter White called yet?'” jokes star Bob Odenkirk. In all seriousness, though, “It’s a crazy ton of overlap because Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould are the brains behind it and the brains behind ‘Breaking Bad,'” he says. “Tonally and story-wise, their expertise, that’s all carried over.”
“Better Call Saul” also films on the same stages in Albuquerque and uses much of the same crew as “Breaking Bad.”
“It felt a lot like ‘Breaking Bad,” Odenkirk says. “It didn’t feel strange. It felt very comfortable.”
“Better Call Saul” premieres Sunday, Feb. 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on AMC, and moves to its regular timeslot the following night. Watch a new extended trailer below.