On the back of the news that Jonathan Banks will be reprising his role as PI/mob enforcer Mike Ehermantraut for Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad spin-off focusing on crookedly brilliant lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), any right-minded fan of the show could be forgiven for refreshing their Netflix page already.
Boasting deadpan quips, glowering stares and deadly precision when doing dirty jobs, Mike became a fan favourite throughout the show's five seasons, even joining the unlikely drug operations carried out by Jesse Pinkman and Walter White towards the end of its run.
But, as we reveal below, Banks inclusion isn’t the only reason to be excitedly twiddling your thumbs from now until the release of Better Call Saul...
1. We won’t see much of Saul in court
Much like Goodman's screen time in Breaking Bad, creator Vince Gilligan - who’s also directing the pilot - has hinted that we might not see the lawyer in front of a jury: “I like the idea of a lawyer show in which the main lawyer will do anything it takes to stay out of a court of law. He'll settle on the courthouse steps, whatever it takes to stay out of the courtroom. That would be fun—I would like that,” he said back in 2012.
2. Walt and Jesse will return at some point
With Mike resuming ‘fixer’ duties for Goodman, Gilligan is also keen to bring other major characters back, albeit for walk-ons: “Peter Gould (executive producer and show runner this time around) will be hitting up all these wonderful actors for cameos at some point,” he told Details Magazine. And lest we forget: it was Jesse who first informed Walt of Goodman’s *criminal* lawyer, provoking the delicious prospect of Pinkman being represented by the attorney at some point in those early years.
3. Expect Gilligan's now-signature time jumps
While not revealing the exact time frame the upcoming prequel will revolve around, Gilligan has revealed that he will be once more utilise his signature time jump tactics, even hinting he might even show us what becomes of Goodman after the end of Breaking Bad: "We think this show will be a prequel, but the wonderful thing about the fractured chronology we employed on Breaking Bad for many years is the audience will not be thrown by us jumping around in time - so it's possible that we may indeed do that, and we'll see the past and perhaps the future," he told Entertainment Weekly.
4. There will be more comedy than drama
If you’ve seen the entirety of Breaking Bad you’ll know that proceedings got dark, really dark, as Walt and Jesse got deeper into the drug business, pushing human emotions to the limits in the process. Though, according to Bob Odenkirk who plays Saul, a character Gilligan himself has dubbed “intrinsically undramatic”, the new show will function primarily as a comedy: “It’s not gonna’ be Breaking Bad 2.0 or whatever. It’s a different show with a different energy - something fresh with a character that is rich and funny,” the actor told Screenrant, before adding, “I wanna have a little more sympathy for this guy [and] understand how he’s a human being and not just a hungry hippo trying to get all the money.”
5. Some important questions will be answered
Naturally, old characters returning will provide the opportunity to flesh out some back stories. And, as you may know, not quite all loose ends were tied up in the show's final season. For one, it was never revealed why former Philadelphia beat cop Mike left the force - only that DEA Agent Hank Schrader implied it was in dramatic fashion; then there’s fried chicken/meth empire honcho Gustavo Fring, who we saw via flashback narrowly escaping death at the hands of a cartel boss who chillingly delivers the lines “I know who you are”, prompting some Internet theorists to thinking the Chilean-born Fring may have had ties with Pinochet government. Ridiculous? Time will tell.
6. It’ll be on our screens within the next 12 months
"We’re looking forward to having that [out] within about a year,” says Gilligan of the show which has been slated for a November and release and will see him directing the pilot episode. Netflix have announced that the entire first season will be available for streaming, with Europe getting it shortly after the US series premieres. Either way, we can’t wait.
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