While Better Call Saul promises to fill in the gaps before the events of Breaking Bad, many fans have been left wondering what happened in its aftermath, and what it had to do with U.S. marshals played by Val Kilmer and Slash. Now a man named Lawrence Shepherd is out to answer those lingering questions with Anastasia, a Breaking Bad sequel he’s financing through Kickstarter that will pick up in the moments just after we last left Walter White, and just before Val Kilmer and Slash walked in.
Here’s the video in which Shepherd lays out Anastasia’s premise—with the admonition that it’s a spoiler for those who still haven’t seen the Breaking Bad finale, as well as for those who’d rather wait for the premiere of its sequel, starring Val Kilmer and Slash.
Of course, Shepherd recognizes there may be some hindrances to getting a Breaking Bad sequel starring Val Kilmer and Slash made, beginning with the unthinkable proposition that the makers of Breaking Bad might have a problem with it. Still, “God forbid Sony and Vince Gilligan say no, we’re not gonna sit in the corner and suck our own thumbs,” Shepherd says, insisting that the show will stand on its own merits, as a standalone series about another “Walter White,” but mostly about Val Kilmer and Slash hunting down dangerous fugitives. “We are grabbing our boards, and riding the wave Breaking Bad created. But in doing that, we are creating our own wave, and Breaking Bad is invited to ride along with us,” Shepherd says magnanimously.
Also invited to ride along: Many of Hollywood’s most famous recovering substance abusers—including “Russell Brand, Jamie Lee Curtis, Steven Tyler, Dick Van Dyke, Drew Barrymore, Robert Downey Jr., Robin Williams, Neil Young, Eminem”—to whom Shepherd has extended an open call to come on Anastasia and talk about their problems in dialogue “completely created by them,” in scenes that take place in 12-step meetings attended by Kilmer’s character. But what if, for example, Robert Downey Jr. is too busy filming “some Iron Man thing” to come improvise about addiction for The Val Kilmer & Slash Show?
“No problem,” Shepherd tells Vice. He’s already purchased “20 red-and-white checkered tablecloths” for those scenes, so he can just put one in the mail for Downey, and that way he can film wherever. “I think that’s going to work real well,” Shepherd says of that plan, and basically all of this.
In fact, Shepherd seems to understand that the most important part of creating a Breaking Bad sequel with Val Kilmer and Slash is to stay flexible. For example, Val Kilmer wasn’t even his first choice—Nathan Lane was. (As evidence, Lane’s name even lives on in the Kickstarter’s URL.) But because Nathan Lane lives in New York, Shepherd realized he’d have to pay for his transportation, so he switched to Kilmer. “I think Kilmer and Lane have equal acting ability,” Shepherd tells Vice, shortly after declaring, “From what people tell me about Val Kilmer, you don’t have to pay him a million dollars. If there’s some money there, he’ll typically do it.” Despite all this unabashed flattery, Kilmer has yet to sign on.
Slash, however, will “definitely” be in the pilot—“That’s what I’m hearing,” Shepherd says—even though his touring schedule may prevent him from being in every episode. Still, rehearsal shouldn’t take up too much time, seeing as his character will actually be Slash, with his famous guitar player guise revealed to be an undercover ruse that helps him catch criminals. “Who doesn’t want to see Slash with a Glock sticking out from under that jacket? Come on!” Shepherd asks redundantly.
Still, not everyone is as on board as Shepherd hears they are, with Laura San Giacamo’s manager having already told him she won’t be able to star in his Breaking Bad sequel with Val Kilmer and Slash, since “she’s already doing a pilot” (but otherwise, presumably, totally would). But hey, at least Shepherd still has the crucial role of “Slash’s girlfriend” filled by the “very beautiful” and “amazing” singer Jana Mashonee, whom Shepherd certainly did not craft this entire project around as a means to meet and possibly sleep with.
So why did Shepherd, who by his own admission has “no experience in the industry,” decide to try his hand in television production? “I haven’t liked a lot of the writing on my favorite shows and movies,” Shepherd says, before launching into an excoriating takedown of one of his favorite programs, The Big Bang Theory, and the ridiculous way it handled a recent Raj subplot. “Did you stay awake late nights trying to come up with that one?” Shepherd scoffs, by way of promoting his Breaking Bad spinoff about buddy cops.
Over at Vice, he even takes Breaking Bad itself to task, expressing how disappointed he was that it never even had a scene where Walt Jr. and Jesse wrestle. “I like the way Breaking Bad ended, but I think they could have done better. That’s when I just started writing,” Shepherd says. The fruits of that inspiration can be enjoyed by all in the script pages he’s provided, which feature a lot of cops executing cool cop maneuvers around Walter White’s car—something that Vince Gilligan’s ending definitely didn’t have.
Shepherd says he’s already written all 10 episodes of Anastasia’s first season, and declares, ever specific in his desires, “I want the pilot to air the Monday before Halloween.” As with everything else that must and will fall into place here, the timing is crucial, as the pilot features a scene set during trick-or-treating—a scene that you can also be a prominent part of, provided you donate $5,000 or more. (Please note, however, “you must provide your own Halloween costume.” All other expenses are going to production costs, with whatever is left going to Val Kilmer, who will just be happy to have the money.)
Continuing that theme, future episodes of the show will also feature surprise guest stars “in full make up/prosthetics throughout the show, and we will only reveal who they are at the end! They of course are fugitives that Kilmer and Slash are chasing, who have had plastic surgery!” [END SPOILER] Also of course, each episode will end with a PSA from one of the show’s stars saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, Anastasia is proud and honored to have this nation’s veterans acting on our show,” as a nod to all of the soldiers who returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to find a new life playing police officers on Shepherd’s Breaking Bad sequel.
Suggesting America does not support its troops, Anastasia has so far only met $155 of its $500,000 goal. But Shepherd, as always, remains optimistic, saying he’ll just restart the campaign on the first of the month if the funding isn’t there. There’s no word on what that sort of delay might mean for Val Kilmer and Slash’s involvement, but we’re hearing it probably won’t be affected.