As “Better Call Saul” gets closer to the events of “Breaking Bad,” does that mean the series is getting close to its endgame? Star Bob Odenkirk certainly doesn’t hope so, and he’s even got an idea for how the show might continue.
“I don’t want the end game to be Saul Goodman, I wanna know what happens to Gene,” Odenkirk told IndieWire’s TURN IT ON podcast. “As a fan of the story, and playing this guy, I want that guy to figure out something better that he can be. I don’t see ‘Breaking Bad’ as the closure of this story.”
Indeed, “Better Call Saul” has started each season with a black-and-white look at what Jimmy McGill, a.k.a. Saul Goodman, is up to after he escapes Albuquerque. Now going by the name of Gene and working as the manager of a Cinnabon store in an Omaha, Neb., mall, Jimmy/Saul/Gene is constantly looking over his shoulder.
“Weirdly enough, in this story you think you know where it’s all going,” said co-creator Vince Gilligan. “Because you know that this guy, as Saul Goodman, if you’ve watched ‘Breaking Bad,’ you know it’s not a big secret that this guy goes off on the run at a certain point, from the police. But in Omaha, there is the possibility for redemption.”
Gilligan can’t promise that’s where the show will end up, particularly now that co-creator Peter Gould is handling the show’s day-to-day operations. But, he added, “as an audience, people want to see characters that they love be redeemed. So I don’t wanna promise, but there is a possibility.”
IndieWire sat down with Gilligan and Odenkirk at the Austin ATX TV Festival this June. Listen below!
Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television
It’s been a long wait for the return of “Better Call Saul,” which last aired in June 2017 with a rather fiery finale. Now, Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) is back, and the death of his brother (Michael McKean) — after their final clash — will continue to haunt him. And across town, the rise of Gus Fring’s power will bring “Better Call Saul” closer to the dawn of “Breaking Bad.”
As Season 4, premieres August 6 on AMC, a quick refresher about the Season 3 finale: Kim (Rhea Seehorn) had just exited the hospital in a cast, after the overworked lawyer had fallen asleep behind the wheel. Jimmy felt he was to blame, and decided to try and patch things up with Chuck — who instead railed against his brother. Chuck, who had just been forcibly bought out of his legal firm partnership, later destroys his house (setting it on fire) while looking for a hidden power source. Meanwhile, across town Hector (whose pills had been replaced by Nacho) has a heart attack during a meeting with Gus.
ATX TV Festival
“I can’t wait for me, Bob Odenkirk, to see Season 4,” Odenkirk said. “Because I read it, and I didn’t read the parts I wasn’t in very thoroughly, because I want to see those just like a fan.”
Odenkirk also turned the tables and asked Gilligan a question: Given the darkness of his series, what is his own worldview?
Gilligan answered: It’s bleak.
“I think it’s harder to write an upbeat, uplifting story. I also think it is more worthwhile,” he said. “I don’t know I’m wired to tell those kinds of stories, but I respect them greatly. I think they are ultimately more worth-while because I think our storytelling, if it can inspire us, if it can uplift us, that’s to the good. I wish I felt more able to tell those kinds of stories.
“I am not particularly optimistic by nature, but I’m not as negative as probably, I would come across with “Breaking Bad” on my resume,” he added. “But you know, I love “Spongebob Squarepants” I’m not even joking. That is a character who’s very positive, very, loves life, he’s a good person. I wouldn’t know how to write it.”
ATX TV Festival
This conversation was recorded live at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, TX. For information on how to attend next year’s festival (June 6-9, 2019), please visit atxfestival.com. To hear bonus content from the festival, subscribe to THE TV CAMPFIRE wherever you get your podcasts, or visit ATVXP.com to hear/watch more panels, Q&As, and conversations from ATX.
IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON with Michael Schneider” is a weekly dive into what’s new and what’s now on TV — no matter what you’re watching or where you’re watching it. With an enormous amount of choices overwhelming even the most sophisticated viewer, “TURN IT ON” is a must-listen for TV fans looking to make sense of what to watch and where to watch it.
Special thanks to KROQ’s DJ Omar Khan for the new theme song!