6:41pm PT by Daniel Fienberg
Confirmed With Chicken: Gus Fring Is Coming to 'Better Call Saul'
The biggest non-secret in television was confirmed on Saturday afternoon at the Television Critics Association press tour, as Giancarlo Esposito delivered Los Pollos Hermanos chicken to reporters ahead of the panel for AMC's Better Call Saul.
The return of Esposito's revenge-bent kingpin Gus Fring, which was teased in the second season finale of Better Call Saul, was teased again with the release of a Los Pollos Hermanos commercial that actually aired in late-night TV in Albuquerque earlier this week and then was teased one more time when AMC put Esposito's image in the show's TCA seating chart.
It turns out that the ad, which quickly made its way around the internet, was actually Esposito's idea and was shot at the original Los Pollos Hermanos location in Albuquerque, with series co-creator Vince Gilligan joking that production on the commercial had to hide from a Breaking Bad tour group.
When the Gus return was presaged in the finale, Gilligan and co-creator Peter Gould claimed they didn't have a deal in place with Esposito and the Breaking Bad Emmy nominee admitted on the panel that negotiations were "a process that did take some time."
The panel featured no specifics on when or how much Gus will appear in the Breaking Bad prequel, which returns to AMC on April 10, and Esposito joked that the thing initially keeping him from committing was his own dream of a Gus prequel series that he titled The Rise of Gus.
Gilligan and Gould offered few additional teases on how the third season will progress Jimmy McGill's (Bob Odenkirk) journey toward becoming Saul Goodman. "It's a very interesting show that I think quite frankly we thought would be easier to write when we started," Gilligan said.
Gould agreed that as he wrote Jimmy, a character with a fundamental core decency, the transition to the ethically lax Saul became harder.
"For the first two seasons, I think it seemed almost an insoluble probable," Gould said. But he added, "This season, as it progressed, I started to understand it a little bit better."
Gould also noted, "It takes a lot of pressure to turn a lump of coal into a diamond" and Odenkirk agreed that this would be more turning diamond into coal.
The panelists stated that as long as Jimmy has his two fundamental connections — Rhea Seehorn's Kim and Michael McKean's Chuck — he can't truly become Saul, but Seehorn continued to shy away from the idea that just because Kim isn't a character in Breaking Bad doesn't mean something horrible happens to her.
"I don't know where she's going," Seehorn insisted. She's absent from the points of view of story we saw on Breaking Bad. Where is she during that time? "I don't know."
And might we see more from the black-and-white world that takes place after Breaking Bad, the Gene in Omaha reality that has opened both seasons?
"I would say that if 2016 taught us anything else, it's that anything is possible," Gilligan hinted.
Better Call Saul's third season premieres Monday, April 10 at 10 p.m. Watch a teaser of the new season below: