Season 2 of Better Call Saul ended with a cliffhanger that will no doubt move Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) closer to his transformation into the conniving and charming alter ego Saul Goodman. The series is based on the popular character from Breaking Bad, and while Jimmy is still years away from the events of Breaking Bad, several characters from those days are appearing on the series, such as The Cousins (Daniel and Luis Moncada) and Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis). According to the show creators, fans can expect to see many more familiar faces in the upcoming third season of Better Call Saul.
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The second season finale appeared to tease the return of Emmy-nominated favorite Giancarlo Esposito as drug lord Gus Fring. Fans don’t actually see Fring in the episode, there is simply an ominous note left for Mike (Jonathan Banks) warning him not to take a full measure against Salamanca. After the finale aired, social media lit up with theories that the note was written by Fring, or one of his associates. Then fandom exploded by the discovery that the first letter of each of the ten-episode titles in Better Call Saul’s second season are an anagram for “FRING’S BACK.” The creators of the series say this is no coincidence. They just weren’t expecting fans to figure it out as quickly as they did.
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Vince Gilligan and co-creator Peter Gould were hoping to unveil the mystery “sometime over the summer.” Yes, Esposito’s Breaking Bad villain is coming back, or at the very least, his presence will be felt. Fans just have to wait a bit longer for the epic moment to arrive.
Variety spoke with Gould and Gilligan about their decision to tease Fring in such a fashion, and the duo confessed that they “underestimated the genius and hard work of our fans.” Gould said he was hoping Fring’s return “would be more of an open question,” but viewers’ keen attention to detail now has them mulling over the narrative leading up to Esposito’s return.
“We did not think the clues in the titles would be decoded as quickly as they were. We’re still mulling over season three. Now that the cat is out of the bag, we’re certainly thinking Gus Fring had a hand in what happened with Mike at the end of season two,” said Gould.
So what kind of discussions have they had with Esposito about signing on for a guest feature in Season 3?
“We love Giancarlo, he’s family, he’s part of Breaking Bad and therefore part of the Better Call Saul family as well even if we never see him on the show,” said Gilligan. “He’s a wonderful human being and a great actor. He’s a very much in demand actor and it stands to reason he’s much sought after because he’s so wonderful. I just saw his name, he’s in the giant hit movie “The Jungle Book.” He’s busy and always planning to be busier, so that was maybe one of the dumbest things we ever did.”
Gilligan has also asked fans to keep their anticipation in check because “folks [shouldn’t] assume that they’ll see him at the beginning of Season 3. This is a character who is very circumspect. Very cautious. He does not reveal himself easily,” he explained.
Whether Gus Fring appears in Season 3, or sometime Season 4, one thing is certain: Gus Fring is coming!
As Gilligan and his team continue to prepare viewers for Jimmy’s anticipated transformation into Saul, fans remain enthused by the deepening mystery of which Breaking Bad cast of characters will be on Season 3. Of course fans are hoping Bryan Cranston’s Walter White bumps into McGill at some point, but that’s unlikely. However, many are hopeful that actor Aaron Paul scores a role on the series. After all, his Jesse Pinkman character introduces Walter White to Saul Goodman in the first place, and considering Albuquerque is a small city, it’s likely that Jesse and Saul will cross paths. Paul is currently busy starring in Hulu’s The Path, but he has expressed interest in appearing on the show.
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Walter White’s kleptomaniac sister-in-law Marie was almost used in the Better Call Saul finale administering Chuck’s CAT scan, because in Breaking Bad, fans learn that she is a radiologic technologist. However, Gilligan revealed to Entertainment Weekly that his writers decided she “would have distracted the viewer in the moment.”
Marie’s husband Hank Shrader (Dean Norris), and actor Steven Michael Quezada (Steven “Gomie” Gomez), were spotted on the “Saul” set during filming of Season 2. While they didn’t make an appearance on any particular episode, the men certainly have left fans speculating on what may be in store next season.
“We have a board up in the writers office with the names of characters we’d like to bring back,” Gilligan explained. “At this point there are almost as many “Better Call Saul” characters, or almost, as there are “Breaking Bad” characters. There are a lot of folks we saw in season one of “Better Call Saul,” like the Kettlemans for instance, who we’d love to see again. Weirdly enough we have this embarrassment of riches, because we have all these wonderful characters played by brilliant fun actors to choose from to bring back.”
He added that “there’s always a temptation to do an episode which is a just a giant class reunion — which we’d love to shoot and it would be so much fun in Albuquerque to have everybody there — but we’re really slaves to the story that we’re telling. We have to make sure that anything we do is justified by the story of Jimmy McGill and Mike Ehrmantraut.”
The premiere date of Better Call Saul Season 3 has yet to be announced, but according to Coming Soon, it is set to air in early 2017. Meanwhile, the series overall has seen a spike in ratings and a bigger fan base.
[Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP]