Between the original series, follow-up movie El Camino and Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad universe encompasses about 127 hours of television. That, according to Vince Gilligan, is just about the limit of how long to spend in that world.
“One hundred twenty-seven hours is meaningful to me because that’s how long it took that poor bastard to decide to cut his arm off,” Gilligan told reporters Wednesday, referencing the story of mountaineer Aron Ralston and the 2011 movie based on his ordeal. In other words, he and co-creator Peter Gould don’t want to test their viewers’ patience by continuing to string things out.
“It’s a lot to ask of an audience,” Gould said during Better Call Saul’s final session with the Television Critics Association. “I couldn’t be happier and more proud of the work, but I have some other things I want to try. I love the cast, I love Albuquerque, I love whole group, so it would be great to keep the band together as much as possible.”
Gilligan also said he doesn’t have any plans to revisit the world he created with Breaking Bad. “You’ve got to know when to leave the party,” he said. “You don’t want to be the guy with the lampshade on his head. … I know I was asked the same thing at the end of Breaking Bad and I gave the same answer, but I need to prove to myself that I’m not a one-trick pony.”
Stars Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn also said they’d likely seek out different sorts of roles following Saul, but they’d like to continue working together. “My brain goes more toward how do I figure out a way to work with these people again,” Seehorn said. “I know Bob and I intend to work together again — I’m just going to make him write things for me.”
The Saul team naturally didn’t give up any details about the series finale, which airs on Aug. 15. Gould wrote and directed the final episode, and Gilligan said he’s eager to get it in front of an audience.
“It’s a delight,” Gilligan said of the final episode. “How anxious are we? I’m not nearly as much as I was with Breaking Bad. Maybe I’m getting older, but I have other things to worry about. But I can’t wait to see how people react.”
Odenkirk added that he’s not worried, “and I haven’t been since I read it, because [Gould] and the writers found a way to deliver on the heart of the show.” He allowed that he did have some concerns at the start because Breaking Bad “was such a monster show. I was concerned about it casting the wrong dimension on our show as we found our feet, but I don’t think it happened. And I think the ending goes right to the heart of what this show is.”