AMC’s show Breaking Bad has ended, but creator Vince Gilligan is at it again with a spin-off called Better Call Saul, and the best part is, he snagged Jonathan Banks to continue playing Mike Ehrmantraut. The prequel to Breaking Bad, that tells the story of Saul’s life before he represented Walter White, will air on AMC this November. Along with Vince Gilligan, the one-hour dramedy will be produced by writer and director, Peter Gould, named as showrunner for Better Call Saul.
As a brief recap, Breaking Bad is the one-hour drama in which Bryan Cranston plays Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher, diagnosed with terminal cancer, who needs to make money, so he teams up with former student, Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul) to manufacture and sell methamphetamine, or crystal meth. Because of his expertise in chemistry, Walt creates the purest meth around, and so begins the journey through five extraordinary seasons.
For the fans of Breaking Bad, who want more, the news of Jonathan Banks joining the cast of the upcoming spin-off, Better Call Saul, is a great sign of what’s to come later this year. Vince Gilligan will tell the story of Saul before he met Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, so the show’s devoted followers will see the backstory of what has made Saul the man he is today.
Following the success of a show like Breaking Bad will not be easy, but with Jonathan Banks on board, joining Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, what could go wrong? While Mike was portrayed as the right-hand-man for Pollos Hermanos owner, and major methamphetamine producer, Gus Fring, for Jonathan Banks, the role of Mike was almost a one time thing. According to Forbes.com, Bob Odenkirk was unable to shoot the scene in which Saul cleans up after Jesse’s girlfriend fatally overdoses, so the writers created the character of Mike. In casting for the role of this quiet enforcer who demands respect, Jonathan Banks’ work on the show Wiseguy made him perfect as Mike Ehrmantraut. When Vince saw the completed work, he decided to add Mike as a regular character.
The addition worked; Jonathan Banks won an Emmy in 2013 for Best Supporting Actor on Television and was nominated for an Emmy in 2013 for his Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Collectively, the cast and crew of Breaking Bad has won ten Primetime Emmy Awards (with 42 total nominations), two Golden Globes (with seven total nominations), four Writers Guild of America Awards (with 20 total nominations), and one Screen Actors Guild Award (with 11 total nominations.)
As Better Call Saul comes together, Jonathan Banks joining AMC’s spin-off of Breaking Bad has fans on Twitter and other avenues of social media making predictions for plot lines, other familiar faces, and backstories of the shows most entertaining and beloved characters. Will Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould show Mike’s backstory, offering insight into why he is in this line of work? Will any other characters return for the prequel? Will Walt, Jesse, Skylar, or even Hank cross Saul’s path? All will be revealed starting in November on AMC.
By K. Corrine Van Vliet