Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad Spinoff, Is Officially Happening

Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 11 2013 4:25 PM

Better Call Saul Is Happening

Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 13
Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in Breaking Bad Season 5, Episode 13

Photo courtesy Ursula Coyote/AMC

The PR department at AMC just sent out the following brief statement:

AMC and Sony Pictures Television confirmed today that they have reached a licensing agreement for a spinoff of Vince Gilligan’s landmark AMC/SPT series Breaking Bad. As conceived, the new series is based on the show’s popular Saul Goodman character with the working title Better Call Saul. Plans call for Saul to be a one-hour prequel that will focus on the evolution of the popular Saul Goodman character before he ever became Walter White’s lawyer.
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Perhaps after someone writes a script they’ll all decide that this is a bad idea. Or maybe they’ll shoot a pilot and decide they don’t like it. But if nothing else this means that a bunch of creative people are going to try to make this show.

Rumors of a Saul-centric series have been going around for a while; back in April, June Thomas made the case here on Brow Beat that such a show was probably a bad idea, given that the sketchy lawyer archetype, while “a wonderfully adaptable supporting character,” is probably not “substantial enough to sustain a whole show.”

I tend to agree. But I’m still curious to find out. And the prequel route seems like the way to go; for one thing, it means we still don’t know whether Saul Goodman will make it to the end of Breaking Bad alive. And even if he does, I can only assume he’d want to follow up the Walter White saga with some peace and quiet. Better to see how he ended up in the dubious place he had reached when Walt first found him.

Update: Variety confirms that Bob Odenkirk will star in the series (in case you feared that AMC would try to cast a younger actor in the role of the youthful Goodman) and that Peter Gould, a writer and producer who has worked on all five seasons of Breaking Bad, will be “spearheading the project.”

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

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