As brilliant and bold as Better Call Saul has proven itself to be in its freshman run, there’s no escaping that the prequel series will always live in the shadow of its predecessor Breaking Bad. Luckily, show creator Vince Gilligan is completely fine with that and even plans to honor the Emmy-winning drama, widely considered to be one of the greatest shows of all time, by featuring Bryan Cranston’s Walter White in the prequel at some point down the line.
Speaking with the New York Daily News, Gilligan said that, “It would be a shame if the show had its run — hopefully a very long run — and he never appeared,” referring to Cranston’s chemistry teacher-turned-meth kingpin.
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Of course, any cameo for the character would have to be organically woven into the narrative structure of Better Call Saul, which takes place long before Bob Odenkirk’s conniving lawyer ever crossed paths with White. When pressed for details on when the character might make his Better Call Saul cameo, Gilligan said, “I have to be coy,” adding:
“All of the wonderful characters who may eventually appear on Better Call Saul will appear when it is most organic and fitting to the storytelling of Better Caul Saul and also when we can work out scheduling issues with actors. I would love to see that personally.”
One of the most admirable things about the first season of Better Call Saul was how immediately it set itself aside from the flagship series with a distinct tone, fascinating characters and a confident narrative. Though characters like Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), Tuco (Raymond Cruz) and his henchmen (Cesar Garcia and Jesus Payan Jr.) have crossed over from Breaking Bad, the spinoff has largely stood on its own so far, and that’s a stunning achievement when you consider what an intimidating figure the original series cuts.
As such, any appearance by Cranston’s Breaking Bad antihero will have to be done carefully. After all, there’s no obvious way to introduce him into the narrative, because we saw Saul Goodman and White meet for the first time in season 2 of Breaking Bad. There is the possibility of the character appearing in a flash-forward, like the one that opened the first season of Better Call Saul, but the main takeaway here is that Gilligan and company want to make it happen.
And what’s more – Cranston may join Better Call Saul in a different capacity altogether. Said Gilligan: “We are greedy because we would love to see Bryan direct an episode aside from acting in it at some point.” As with any cameo, that’s all going to come down to scheduling.