'Better Call Saul' Bosses on Shocking Cameo, Going Beyond 'Breaking Bad' Timeline

Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould say their surprise opening leaves plenty to explore: "[We] don't think the story is over."

[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Sunday's premiere of Better Call Saul, "Uno."]

Things are not looking good for Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), no matter what time period he's in.

Better Call Saul begins with a present-day shot of Saul working in an Omaha Cinnabon, where he has ended up after fleeing Albuquerque and changing his identity in the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad. At home in his apartment, he dejectedly watches a VHS tape of his glory days — back when he had boasted gaudy commercials and criminal enterprises.

Read more 'Better Call Saul': Bob Odenkirk Explains "Sad as Hell" Opening Scene 

The Breaking Bad prequel then flashes back to where most of the series will take place — six years before the events of Breaking Bad. Jimmy McGill (Saul) is revealed to be a broke criminal defense attorney, whose prospects go from bad to worse after he tries to trick soon-to-be indicted embezzlers the Kettlemans (Julie Ann Emery and Jeremy Shamos) into being his clients. Instead of landing their business, he ends up in the clutches of Tuco (Raymond Cruz) — which, as Bad fans will know, is very bad news for Saul.

In a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, co-showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould reveal how they decided to bring Tuco back and much of Saul's post-Breaking Bad story viewers will see. For more, check out THR's chat with Odenkirk here.

You opened with the bleak, depressing Cinnabon scene. Is there more of that to explore in the post-Breaking Bad Saul?

Gilligan: It does indeed give us the indication that there is more to explore about the present. That sequence in Omaha — him working at the Cinnabon, with his new name, Gene — that's pretty interesting stuff. I'd like to see more of it. We may well indeed, and I'm not going to say when.

Watch more Vince Gilligan Tackles Four 'Breaking Bad' Myths

Gould: We're really telling the story of this guy, who seems to go through life with a number of different identities. When I watch that sequence, I don't think the story is over.

Gilligan: I don't think so, either.

How do you keep the timelines straight?

Gilligan: Technically, everything we're telling in Better Call Saul, or the main meat of the story, is the past. But when you're working that out day in and day out, it feels like the present and the Cinnabon stuff feels like the future. But it all depends on your frame of reference.

See more 'Breaking Bad': 20 Most Shocking Deaths

How did you decide Tuco should come back?

Gould: We had the idea of the twins getting the wrong car. We said, "You know, the scheme feels too seamless. It's a good scheme, but Murphy's law — anything that can go wrong will go wrong."

Gilligan: We said, "Something has to go wrong." Maybe the kid gets killed by Mrs. Kettleman. Maybe he ends up in an iron lung. Then we thought the scheme should go well, but something should go wrong. Maybe he ends up with the wrong car.

Gould: What if it's the wrong car, and who would be the worst possible person? We probably said, "Well, if it were someone like Tuco …" Then, why should it be someone "like" Tuco? Why not Tuco? We were so lucky we were able to get Raymond.

See more 'Breaking Bad': 25 Most Badass Quotes

How does the pressure of Better Call Saul premiering compare to when Breaking Bad was debuting in 2008?

Gould: I was such a small part Breaking Bad [at the time], so I was just excited. I wasn't sure we would get another season, because in my experience nothing good happens in show business — until I got onto Breaking Bad. I felt so confident and so excited about it. This one, because I was in it from the beginning, it's a different feeling. I'm nervous as hell and jumpy.

Gilligan: I'm nervous as hell too, and my anxiety grows day by day. … I want this show to be well received. The end of Breaking Bad was more anxiety inducing for me personally, because I knew we had something that was important to a great many people all around the world, and I did not want to screw it up. This is not yet important to a great number of people around the world. I hope very much that it will become that.


Email: Aaron.Couch@THR.com
Twitter: @AaronCouch 

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