As we’ve discussed continually, the inherent problems with prequels is generally inevitability. We know the outcome for these characters, so how do you build stakes and emotional investment when you’re already aware of everyone’s fate? Some narratives can pull it off, “Hannibal” is a great example of a prequel that works well, but more often than not, they work in the blandest, most obvious form of “this is how character X became the person you already know” (see what happened in the unfortunate final season of “Boardwalk Empire.”
Will the same happen to “Better Call Saul,” the “Breaking Bad” prequel by creator/showrunner Vince Gilligan? Maybe not, because the show centers on venal lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). Also going for the show is the fact that Saul is actually named James McGill when it starts, having not adopted a new persona yet. The flipside is that we assume the show is essentially just the trajectory of how Saul went wrong and why he had to change his identity and start over.
Another knock: all anyone really wants to know about ‘Saul’ is will Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) appear? The answer is not right now. “We want this show to stand on its own,” executive producer Peter Gould said during the recent TCA conferences. “Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul will not appear in season one.”
Well, that’s that, but there is at least one familiar element returning for the show: Jonathan Banks returns as the heavy Mike Ehrmantraut. Comedian Michael McKean also has a significant role. How will “Better Call Saul” differentiate itself from “Breaking Bad”? Well find out during the two part premiere on February 8th and 9th. Watch the new trailer below.