Next Monday, AMC will debut one of the most anticipated episodes of television in 2022: the series finale of “Better Call Saul,” co-creators Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan’s six-season spinoff to the hit drama “Breaking Bad.” At the Television Critics Association 2022 summer press tour, Gould and Gilligan said they didn’t want to overdo the universe of these shows, but didn’t deny the possibility of another installment altogether.
“Vegas metaphors are probably a mistake, but you just can’t keep putting all your money on red 21 over and over again,” Gilligan said. “We probably pushed it doing a spinoff of ‘Breaking Bad.’ I could not be more happy with the results, and then I did ‘El Camino’ [a ‘Breaking Bad’ sequel film], and I’m very proud of that, but… you better know when to leave the party.”
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“So I don’t have any plans right now to do anything more in this universe,” he continued, before adding: “I know I was asked at the end of ‘Breaking Bad’ and I gave the same answer. I gotta prove to myself that I’m not a one-trick pony. I love working with these people — I want to keep the band together no matter what, but with a different universe.”
Gould concurred, though he seemed slightly more open to doing another project within the “Breaking Bad” world.
The total running time of both series and the movie is “a lot of time, a big investment to ask from the audience,” Gould said. “I couldn’t be happier and more proud of the work, but like Vince, I think there are some other things I want to try. Having said that, I love Albuquerque. I love Bob [Odenkirk]. I love Rhea [Seehorn]. I love Vince [Gilligan]. So we’ll keep as much of the band together, and also, never say never. Who knows how we’re going to feel in a couple of years?”
Though fans must wait for Monday’s finale, titled “Saul Gone,” to have many of their questions resolved, the penultimate episode “Waterworks” did answer a big one: Kim Wexler (Seehorn) was indeed alive during the years that “Breaking Bad” took place.
“I don’t think we ever really, seriously [considered killing the character]. How are you gonna kill off America’s sweetheart? Do you ever remember talking about doing that?” Gilligan asked Gould.
“A lot of this show is about how you live with what you’ve done. How you live life, as opposed to ending it,” Gould replied. “We knew pretty early.”
Since Kim lives on, the episode also brings up questions about how Kim currently feels about Jimmy (Odenkirk) after the events of “Breaking Bad.”
“I absolutely think that she still has love for Jimmy,” Seehorn said during the panel. “Even in the heartbreaking episode where they break up, it was never because she didn’t love him. That is not how she came to the decision she made.”
Odenkirk shared the anxieties he felt about how “Better Call Saul” would be received when it first began.
“I completely compartmentalized and ignored those kinds of feelings and fears,” he said. “But the first time I was worried about tainting the legacy of ‘Breaking Bad’ was when I saw that billboard go up after we shot the season. ‘Oh, shit, we made a show that people are going to actually watch.’ I’m so used to getting knocked down in Hollywood that you don’t even worry about people watching it and judging it.”
“The critics and the audience, right away, were like, ‘Okay, they’re doing something interesting here.’ And I did not expect that. I give all the credit to the audience and to the critics for being sensitive and paying attention. But also, I give credit to Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, who didn’t have ‘Breaking Bad’ run until you were exhausted by it.”
And while Odenkirk’s now much more confident about the show, he did have an answer when asked what he looks out for in his own performance — he plans to rewatch the entire series a few months from now.
“I think the thing I’m going to be most sensitive to is — Peter already knows this — I’ve grown extremely sensitive to crying on screen. I feel like real people don’t show emotion that often, and I worry I’m going to watch myself get teary-eyed too often,” Odenkirk said. “So I hope I haven’t done that. And I hope every time I have, it comes off as true as Rhea Seehorn’s wonderful scene. That came off as just utterly, soul-baringly true. So when I watch again, I’m going to be watching for: Did I deliver on those emotional moments that are really delicate? You have to be very true and honest about them.”
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