As if we weren’t already excited enough for Better Call Saul, AMC’s planned Breaking Bad prequel series, which will follow the misadventures of criminal lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) before he met up with Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul), now Deadline is reporting that Jonathan Banks, who played fixer Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad, has joined the show’s main cast.
The series, which will debut on AMC this November, previously only had Odenkirk attached to reprise his Breaking Bad role. However, news of Banks’ involvement doesn’t come as a complete surprise. Showrunner Vince Gilligan previously spoke about casting for Better Call Saul and quickly brought up Mike Ehramantraut as a character he was very interested in bringing back for the spin-off. Gilligan was quoted as saying:
The character that springs to mind [for a role in the spin-off series] would be Mike (Jonathan Banks). That would be a great deal of fun.
Fans will likely to be thrilled to see Ehrmantraut back in action after previously saying a tearful goodbye to the character in the fifth season of Breaking Bad. Introduced in the second-season finale, Ehrmantraut quickly became a fan favorite for his grizzled, no-nonsense attitude and menacing modus operandi. Banks was nominated for an Emmy for his performance in the 2012 portion of season five, though both Banks and Breaking Bad co-star Aaron Paul lost to Boardwalk Empire‘s Bobby Cannavale.
News of Banks’ involvement seems to confirm that Better Call Saul will be set almost entirely before the events of Breaking Bad. His casting also suggests that the series may start out by exploring the origins of Saul Goodman’s partnership with the feared fixer. Cranston and Paul have both previously stated their interest in taking on cameo roles in the spin-off series, but AMC’s obvious desire to distance Better Call Saul from Breaking Bad enough for it to entertain on its own terms likely means that those two characters will be kept at bay, at least for now.
Better Call Saul will premiere on AMC in November, and streaming giant Netflix will handle international distribution so as to give subscribers a smaller amount of time to wait before gaining access to new episodes of the show.
How do you feel about Mike Ehrmantraut joining the main cast of this spin-off series? Is Better Call Saul a good idea, or just a blatant money-grabbing attempt by AMC meant to capitalize on Breaking Bad nostalgia? Sound off below.