Figured it was time for this bad boy to get its own thread.
A big Hollywood Reporter article on what's next for Vince Gilligan that was published today delves into the spinoff toward the end. Here's the dirt:
Better Call Saul initially was conceived as a half-hour sitcom until Gilligan and Gould, who created the character during season two, realized they weren't comfortable with a certain number of jokes-per-page format. "We're both one-hour drama guys," he says, but more to the point, they realized that so much of what they enjoyed about Breaking Bad was the show's visual elements. "So we figured, 'Why not shoot Saul in the same way?' Let's shoot it in Albuquerque, let's get as much of the crew back together as possible, and let's do it the way we did it before so that it will be of a piece with that pre-existing fictional universe that we had so much fun creating."
While they're still working through plot, they anticipate the series being set in an office with a much lighter tone than that of its predecessor. If Bad was 75 percent dramatic and 25 percent comedic, Saul will be the opposite. The challenge has been finding the dramatic tension in their lead character. Unlike Walter White, who was damaged and needy, Saul has been portrayed as happy-go-lucky until now. Says Gilligan, "We've had to find the ongoing itch that Saul needs to scratch, so to speak, or else we wouldn't have much of a show." The pair made a formal pitch this summer to AMC, which haggled with Sony over money for longer than expected before ultimately deciding to move forward at the eleventh hour. Others, led by Netflix, WGN America and FX, were ready to pounce had the flagship's network passed.
Both Cranston and Aaron Paul, in addition to some of Bad's other actors, have expressed interest in making appearances, which Gilligan intends to make happen. "Personally, I'd have a hard time resisting putting all these guys in for a cameo or two every now and then," he says, smiling at the very thought. He and Gould would like to lure at least a few of the other writers, too, with Bad writer's assistant Gordon Smith already on board. (They'll need to begin staffing up soon as the tentative plan is to have Saul on the air sometime between August and October.) Gilligan says he envisions being in the writers room full-time, at least for the first season, and already is slated to direct the pilot. Once Saul has found its footing, he'll turn his focus to other projects -- assuming he is able to detach.
I like that it's going to be in Albuquerque; I'm less thrilled that they plan on indulging in cameos. Honestly I'm still a little bummed about the prequel approach in general, but the people involved have earned the benefit of the doubt. Cameos, though? What, we're going to pretend Aaron Paul still looks 25 so we can have a pandering fan moment? Would Mike and Gus appearances, as cool as they seem on paper, really be a good idea?
Hopefully I'm just being too cynical, but I am concerned about the built-in limitations of winding the clock back. Anyway, the big news here is that they expect to start airing by this time next year.