While fans of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould‘s Breaking Bad prequel/sequel/parallel series Better Call Saul are looking at a slightly longer wait for the show’s upcoming fifth season, it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise if Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) recent comments about the show’s future are true. During an interview with Collider at the end of last week to promote the pop musical film Stuck, Esposito was asked how many more seasons he believed the AMC series still had left:
“It’s tricky with [co-creator Vince Gilligan]. If you look at the Breaking Bad model, he said five years, five seasons, but it was really five and six.”
Esposito is referring to the way the final season was split into two distinct halves – similar to The Walking Dead.
So how many seasons would that mean for currently-in-production Better Call Saul?
“There will be six seasons. It seems like that’s the way, the comfortable way, to end this show.”
At the time of this writing AMC has not officially commented on Esposito’s remarks.
During a wide-ranging interview with Vulture earlier this month, Sarah Barnett, president of the entertainment networks group at AMC Networks (AMC, IFC, SundanceTV, and BBC America) was asked about the Breaking Bad spinoff’s fifth season return – and that’s when she revealed the wait: “We said on our most recent earnings call that the series would come back for season five next year.”
Which would mean the earliest the series would return would be early 2020 – and the reason? To make sure the creative team has the time they need to craft the vision they want: Yes. It’s driven by talent needs, which we would not override if it would result in a worse show.
Barnett also confirmed that Better Call Saul was getting close to the point where it would hand-off to Breaking Bad storyline-wise – something the writers have been planning for all along, and something that would fit with Esposito’s comments above:
“Well, we know clearly the end was already written before the beginning began. [Laughs.] The writers, they have a very particular, very clear sense of the arc of their show.”
As for where the upcoming fifth season places towards reaching the end of the Better Call Saul story: “We’re certainly getting closer to it.”
So what can viewers expect when the Better Call Saul returns? Series co-creator Gould offered EW some insight during a December 2018 interview:
● Now that Jimmy’s enjoying wearing the Saul mask longer and longer (or Saul’s hating wearing the Jimmy mask any longer than he has to), what’s the next stage in Saul’s “evolution”?
“It seems like Jimmy’s first move is to try to leverage all the contacts he has in the world of selling drop phones. But don’t forget, he also knows the vet [Caldera, played by Joe DeRosa], and the vet is sort of Craig’s List for the underworld in Albuquerque. So he can get quite far. The question is: how does he establish a reputation as not just a criminal lawyer but a criminal lawyer? And what does that mean to him at this point? Because situations may require him to do things and turn a blind eye to things that Jimmy McGill would not be able to stomach.”
● While it’s easy to get lost in the Jimmy/Saul dynamic, let’s not forget about the third “character” in play here: post-Breaking Bad Jimmy alter-ego/Cinnabon manager Gene Takovic. Sounds like “Gene” has a fan in Gould…
“I am very, very interested in Gene Takovic. In some ways, Gene is very enigmatic. In some ways, he’s the opposite of Saul Goodman because he speaks so very little, he’s so afraid. But I’m fascinated by that situation and by the question of: is there still any chance of redemption or ray of light in this guy’s life after all the terrible things that he’s done, now that he’s run away and hidden himself in Omaha?”
● With talk of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) appearing on the series soon and confirmed-then-unconfirmed reports of a Breaking Bad movie set after the series finale, Gould would be interested in revisiting the Breaking Bad era again as they did during season 4 – as long as it works for the story:
“The question for us is always: are we telling the story of Jimmy McGill and Mike Ehrmantraut and Kim Wexler? And if showing scenes during the course of Breaking Bad add to that story or are important to that story or turn that story, then I think we should do them. But I don’t want to dip in to Breaking Bad just because we can.”
● Finally, Gould shared a question that fans should be asking themselves during the off-season – a question that season 5 hopes to answer: “We know who Saul Goodman is, but who is Saul Goodman to Kim Wexler?”