Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan Considers Pulling a Joey With Saul Goodman

Its fifth and final season doesn’t even pop off until Sunday, but Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is already contemplating life after death for his beloved creation. Not merely content to kick back in Antigua puffing lye while watching those fat DVD boxed-set residual checks come in, Gilligan is now considering continuing the world of BB by way of a spinoff for Saul Goodman, the loudmouth drug lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk. He tells EW:

I would love to see a Saul Goodman spin-off show when it’s all said and done. I think that would present itself pretty nicely, storywise. While Breaking Bad is by design a show that is finite and limited in its scope — it’s a story of transformation that cannot go on forever — I think a Saul Goodman show could have great legs. I love the idea of a lawyer who will do anything to avoid going to court. He’s always going to settle on the courthouse steps.” Gilligan cautions that the Saul spin-off is just in the idea stage at this point. And he issues an all-important caveat, given that the writers are currently constructing the second half of the last season: “No viewer should breathe a sigh of relief that Saul won’t expire by the end of Breaking Bad,” he says. “Everything is on the table … Who knows where Breaking Bad will take us?” (Asked about the possibility of a Saul-centric series, Odenkirk seconds: “Saul has got to survive this show first.” He adds with a quip: “And if he doesn’t, then maybe it can be done as a prequel.”)

Well, that’s pretty crazy. Obviously we’re a long way from anything concrete, but if The Saul Goodman Show actually came to fruition, it’d be great news for Odenkirk. The guy’s long been revered by comedy nerds for his work on Mr. Show, but the showy career second act he’s pulling off on Breaking Bad has landed him a whole new legion of devotees. Surely he wouldn’t mind keeping the good times rolling a little longer. And the same goes for the Breaking Bad addicts — some of you probably wouldn’t mind a few more hits on the sweet, sweet meth pipe that is Vince Gilligan’s Albuquerque? (This might be your best shot, as Gilligan was much less encouraging about the possibility of a Breaking Bad movie: “I learned a long time ago to never say never, but I am working really hard to wrap up this story in these final 16 episodes.”)

But the most interesting thing to me is that Gilligan is at least considering swimming against the stigma of the spinoff. Traditionally, spinoffs, sequels, and derivations in general are the domain of TV’s lower-brow; from Saved by the Bell: The College Years to Private Practice to Joey, these cannibalizations almost always end up in the rubbish pile, only to be dusted off again when mean-spirited bloggers need headline-reference fodder. (Sorry, Joey.) Most of the highbrow showrunners would probably cringe at the thought of tweaking, in any minute way, the perfectly consummated visions they’ve slaved for years to create. (I can’t find it now, but I remember reading an interview with Quentin Tarantino in which he explains that the reason he doesn’t do “Director’s Cuts” on his DVD releases is because he made the movie he wanted to make the first time. Roughly speaking, the same concept applies.) Obviously Gilligan has a unique situation on his hands with Goodman, whose comic relief would work just as well in a show not as endlessly bleak as Breaking Bad. But I do hope Gilligan sparks a trend of highbrow showrunners getting off their collective high horses and at least considering spinoffs for their own precious creations.

Let me go ahead and run the idea by David Simon. I should check on an Omar spinoff, right? We all agreed that Omar is our favorite character?

Filed Under: AMC, Breaking Bad, Spin-offs, Vince Gilligan

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

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