How do you solve a problem like Saul Goodman? According to Better Call Saul showrunner Peter Gould, the question should be, "What problem does being Saul Goodman solve?"
At the Television Critics Asscociation fall previews on Friday, Gould and co-showrunner Vince Gilligan revealed more about the Breaking Bad spin-off, including the time period, new characters and which illustrious directors have signed on. Read on for answers to burning questions:
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What problem does being Saul Goodman solve? The real name of the slimy lawyer we know and love sadly is not Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), but Jimmy McGill. What circumstances bring him to the point where we meet him in Breaking Bad is the series' aim. "It's a leap of faith or stupidity into the unknown," Gilligan said.
Which new characters will we meet? Michael McKean will play Chuck (pictured in the sneak peek below). "He's playing Saul's brother," Gould said. "It's two comedy legends working together. [Michael] is a tremendous performer and answers questions about Spinal Tap." We'll also meet the previously announced Rhea Seehorn as Kim, Patrick Fabian as Hamlin and Orphan Black's Michael Mando as Nacho. "[There are] a lot of lawyers and crooks," Gould said. "I know that will come as a big surprise."
Will we see a younger (and alive) Gus Fring? The fried chicken restauranteur/drug kingpin (Giancarlo Esposito) was the drug distributor that Saul had introduced Walt and Jesse (Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul) to through "a guy who knows a guy who knows another guy." "There's always a chance [he'll appear]," Gould hedged. "There's so much to say about that character ... but we're trying to make something that stands on its own. It always seemed that Saul didn't know Gus directly." Returning Summer Shows: Where we left offWhen does the prequel take place? AMC announced Friday that the series takes place six years before Saul meets Walt. Gilligan confirmed the approximate time frame: "It's 2002. It is period. We never completely nailed down when Breaking Bad took place. We tried hard on Breaking Bad to not be too specific, but now we have to be a little more specific than we're comfortable with."What was the inspiration for Saul? "We had a gap in the Breaking Bad universe," Gould explained. "Season 2 we had planned to be about Walt and Jesse and Tuco," but Tuco had to be killed off. "We had two guys great at cooking meth, but sh---y at selling it. We needed somebody to help them ... Saul moved the universe two degrees to the left. Saul Goodman was about solving a problem." Who will be helming the episodes? Several Breaking Bad directors will return for Better Call Saul including Michelle MacLaren, Terry McDonough, Colin Bucksey, Adam Bernstein and Tom Schnauz.Hot celebrity beach bodiesWhy was Better Call Saul's premiere delayed until 2015? "I'm going to take full responsibility," Gilligan said. "We could've made the deadline, but I am slow as mud as a TV writer. We have a way of doing things that is slower than most episodes. We average three weeks per episode. We want to think things through, and it pays dividends." Will the storytelling feel the same as Breaking Bad's? Gilligan said, "You saw from Breaking Bad that we like nonlinear storytelling. I would definitely point you in that direction. Anything that was possible on Breaking Bad story-wise is possible on Better Call Saul. It's fun for us."Are you excited for Better Call Saul? See where he ended up in the Breaking Bad finale here. Better Call Saul premieres in early 2015 on AMC.