With Better Call Saul season 6 arriving next week, fans are gearing up for a tough goodbye to one of modern TV’s greatest-ever shows. Here’s a quick recap for anyone looking to tag along for one last ride:
As the first (and only) spinoff of the Breaking Bad universe, Better Call Saul has enjoyed incredible critical success, with some fans even touting it as superior to the original. While the finale’s high-stakes plotlines will result in final goodbyes to more than a few characters, there’s plenty of history to play around with, meaning that we may see another awesome spinoff series in the years to come.
While there’s nothing in active development, we’re not just talking fantasy here. Both creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould haven’t shut the door on the world they’ve built quite yet, even if they’re looking to work on new projects for a while.
Gould himself confirmed this in a recent interview with Deadline, when he was asked about spinoffs. ”I love these characters, I love this world,” he enthused. “Maybe someday, but personally I’m going to take a little break from that world and try something else, just to prove that I can.”
Gilligan has also followed suit, and elaborated on his future goals. “I think that’s my answer too,” he agrees. “There are stories left to tell, but it’s not proving something to the world, it’s about proving something to yourself. That thing, I’m working on, hopefully someone will want to buy it, someone will want to make it.”
So, at the very least, us hardcore fans can hope. But out of the dozens of awesome characters written by the duo, who seems worthy of lifting an entire show on their shoulders? We can certainly think of a few:
1. Gus Fring
Finely riding the line between charismatic and terrifying, Gus Fring’s story is one of the absolute highlights of both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. In the latter, we get to learn two key plot points: that Gus had a storied, potentially bloody past in Chile, during the brutal regime of Augusto Pinochet.
This conveniently gives us a two-sided story set in the ’70s and ’80s, telling us more about Gus’ rise from poverty to possible military power, his escape from Chile, and even his meeting with Maximilo, who fueled Gus’ quest for revenge against the cartel.
It’s also heartening to know that actor Giancarlo Esposito himself has expressed an interest in a Gus spinoff. “I’ve always wanted, I’ll just say it, I’ve always felt in my mind there is room for ‘The Rise of Gus.’,” said the actor in a TV interview earlier this month.
2. Mike Ehrmantraut
You could almost say that Better Call Saul’s second main character is ex-cop turned narco-bodyguard Mike — the toughest SOB that Albuquerque’s ever seen. The show takes great efforts to show us his personal demons — all of which converge at the point where he murders the dirty cops responsible for his son’s death.
A prequel featuring a young Mike, set in the 1970s would be — in a word very much used to describe the character — badass. It’s implied that Mike served in the Vietnam War as a marine sniper; this setting not only gives us a clear understanding of the experience in special ops, surveillance, and marksmanship that we get to see several decades later, it also sets Mike up perfectly for his return to society.
Like many ex-Vietnam soldiers, Mike’s experiences of war leave him feeling alienated and morally lost, perhaps contributing to his involvement in Philadelphia’s corrupt police dealings. We also get to see a few happier moments in the man’s life too, including his close relationship with his son Matt prior to his tragic murder.
3. The Salamancas
One of the most influential cartel families portrayed across both series, the Salamancas were as crucial in season 1 of Breaking Bad as they are today, in the final season of Better Call Saul.
Often serving as the fearsome enforcers of the Mexican drug trade, the Salamancas have a long list of crimes behind them, running all the way back to Don Hector Salamanca’s origins as a founding member of the Juárez Cartel.
A prequel centered around the family gives us a chance to see Hector’s narcos-style rise to the top of the drug trade, and even gives us a convenient segue half-way through. We’re told in S2E3 of Breaking Bad that Hector served 17 years in prison once, allowing us to focus more on the younger Salamanca generation.
A season of drama and fun featuring Lalo, Tuco, and their cousins? Hell yes.
4. Huell Babineaux
Not every character on this list has to be a dangerous, terrifying cartel associate – one of the biggest strengths of both series has to be the hilarious deadpan sense of comedy written into many episodes and characters, with Huell Babineaux easily contending for a top spot.
Actor Lavell Crawford is also a pretty accomplished comedian, so when the DEA finally get a hold on him and confusedly let him go, Huell is free to get into plenty of hilarious and wacky situations with the residents of Albuquerque. Drag in Skinny Pete and Badger, and you’re up for one of the funniest stoner comedies of all time.
5. Todd Alquist
As the main catalyst towards the beginning of the end for Walt and Jesse’s partnership, Todd’s softspoken nature belies his ability to work as a skilled, capable, and extremely dangerous criminal.
As a close ally born into the white-supremacist gang of Jack Welker, Todd’s hsitory and upbringing is certainly worth a look at. At one point, he even was employed at Albuquerque’s local newspaper, and may have once been helped out by Saul Goodman in his early criminal career.
Better Call Saul releases its final season on April 18th, 2022.
(Featured Image Credits: AMC)