AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” prequel to the mass hit television show “Breaking Bad,” has been delayed. Though no 2019 release date was ever technically conformed, audiences have come to expect a new season to premier every year, as it has since its debut back in 2015. But in an earnings call in April, AMC’s President, Sarah Barnett, announced that the show’s fifth season would not be released until 2020. In an interview with Vulture, Barnett stated that the decision to delay the show was driven by talent needs. “The writers,” she said, “they have a very particular, very clear sense of the arc of their show.”
It is no surprise that the writers and rest of the team behind the show – being the perfectionists they are – want to delay the season to do Jimmy’s arc justice (no pun intended). Their painstaking attention to quality and detail is what made “Breaking Bad” so successful, and they want “Better Call Saul” to live up to its predecessor, which are some big shoes to fill. “My dream would be that this is somewhere in the same universe of satisfaction as ‘Breaking Bad’ was,” said series co-creator Vince Gilligan. “I was so proud to be part of the way we ended Breaking Bad, and that was actually one of the fears of doing this show – that we would tarnish that. Having said that, I think we are closer to the end than to the beginning.”
Unfortunately for fans of the show, this means they’ll have to wait an extra year to continue watching the transformation of sweet Jimmy McGill (played by Bob Odenkirk) into the not-so-sweet Saul Goodman. But hopefully they will get a better show because of it. In the meantime, fans will have to do what fans do best: Scour the internet with speculation of the show’s ending. Which, from what Gilligan said, sounds like it is fast approaching. In fact, Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Gus Fring on the show, believes that “Better Call Saul” only has a couple seasons left. “There will be six seasons,” Esposito said in an interview with Collider, “it seems like that’s the way, the comfortable way, to end this show.”
Although nothing about the show ending on its sixth has been officially confirmed, it does seem the end of Jimmy’s journey may be near, given what Gilligan said. And his fellow series co-creator, Peter Gould, agrees. “The show is finite, and, for better or for worse, we’re telling a story with a beginning and a middle and an end, and it really feels like we’re closer to the end than to the beginning,” Gould said in an interview with The Hollywood reporter. “I don’t know how many more seasons we’ve got for sure, and obviously some of that is a question of how much more story there is to tell and some of it is hopefully enough people watch to continue having it as a going concern. We’re relying very much on the fans to keep us on, and we’ll have to see. Before season five is over, I think we’ll have a very clear idea of how much further we’ve got to go.”
So only two seasons left to go may not be that far of a stretch. Or alternatively, the next season (season five) could be its last, and AMC could split it into two parts – just like it did with “Breaking Bad” – premiering each part a year from one another. In fact, this is something Gould and Gilligan may have actually considered. “Peter and Vince have said things like, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if this had the same number of episodes as Breaking Bad?’” said actress Rhea Seehorn in an interview with Cinema Blend. “But they said that with a grin, because I think sentimentally it’s sweet to them to bookend [the shows] that way.”
Seehorn, who plays Kim Wexler on the show, said that comments like this may be why Espositov said what he did about the show ending on it’s sixth season, despite the fact that nothing has actually been confirmed (no denied). It is a fun thought though, and fans of both shows would likely be happy to see “Better Call Saul” parallel “Breaking Bad” so closely, but they’ll have to wait until at least 2020 to find out. And in the meantime, even though the ending of “Better Call Saul” has technically already been written (because it is a prequel), fans can continue to speculate on how we’ll get there.