AMC presented Better Call Saul to the Television Critics Association this afternoon—but before the TV press could ask Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould about their Breaking Bad prequel, it helped that anyone knew anything about the show, beyond its status as a Breaking Bad prequel. Ask and ye shall receive: Via press release, the network announced that Better Call Saul will take place six years prior to Saul Goodman’s first meeting with Walter White, when the morally compromised attorney was but a small-time hustler with more hairs in his combover named Jimmy McGill. Just as Breaking Bad took Walt from Mr. Chips to Scarface, Better Call Saul will chronicle Jimmy’s decline, a journey from being a nobody who Mr. Chips might flip past in the phonebook to Scarface’s weaselly legal counsel. Joining Odenkirk and previously confirmed castmembers Jonathan Banks and Michael McKean will be Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, and Michael Mando, “characters that will represent both legitimate and illegitimate sides of the law.”
Representing for both the lobby side and teller side of some sort of financial institution, here is a photo of Odenkirk seeking to cash a check that, perhaps, has been written out for a “Saul Goodman,” necessitating the transformation chronicled in Better Call Saul.
And here’s Jimmy/Saul with Michael McKean’s Chuck, seemingly preparing for a community theater production of True West—another situation that could cause Odenkirk’s character to seek a new identity, participating in the long showbiz tradition of name changes involving surnames like Goodman. (UPDATE: McKean and Odenkirk are playing brothers on Better Call Saul, so thanks for making that dumb True West allusion even better, Gilligan and Gould!)
As for the series’ delayed premiere date, Gilligan pulled an “Ozymandias” and fessed up: Better Call Saul has been pushed to 2015 because his writing process is “slow as mud.” Same for the bisected final season of Breaking Bad. “It was me saying to AMC and Sony I don’t think we can do this in the time allotted,” Gilligan said, absolving outside parties of any perceived Emmy and advertising-dollar greed before dropping off his new baby at a fire station that won’t open until 2015.
Stay tuned to The A.V. Club for more updates from the Television Critics Association summer press tour, which lasts through July 23. And be sure to follow TV Clubbers Erik Adams, Sonia Saraiya, Myles McNutt, and Will Harris for up-to-the minute commentary on Twitter.