‘Better Call Saul’ Creators on Balancing the Tone of the ‘Breaking Bad’ Prequel

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Vince Gilligan will be the first person to tell you that the highly anticipated Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul, started out as a joke in the Breaking Bad writer’s room.

“We love writing for the character. We love putting words in his mouth,” the Breaking Bad creator and Better Call Saul co-creator tells HitFix of sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman (played by Bob Odenkirk). “And we had so much fun indeed doing that that it started as a lark; we'd come up with some great term or phrase and we'd laugh about it in the writer's room. And then we'd say, ‘You know, when we're doing the Saul Goodman show we'll be able to blah, blah, blah, blah.’ And we made that comment so many times that it started to dawn on us that it wasn't a lark; there was truth to it. It was not just a joke, but a potentially good idea.”

Both Gilligan and co-creator Peter Gould were concerned about the tone of the hour-long show. “I didn't know quite what we had because I didn't quite know what this show was compared to other shows. I mean is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is it a dramety?” Gilligan says. “I think it's none of those three. I think it's a comma. It was like for the longest time, what is this thing compared to? What is it like? Still to this day I'm still not sure I know the answer to that but I finally embraced the fact that that's, to my mind, a good thing and not a bad thing.”

“We talked about every possible permutation of this. And I got really scared for a while,” Gilligan adds. “And we finally, as we always do, we nibbled at it around the edges and we sort of figured out what we figured out. But I have to say it wasn't until we really got into the editing room after all the ten episodes were shot that I really started feeling truly energized and excited about it.”

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