‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6 Had a ‘Planet of the Apes’ Homage, Vince Gilligan Explains

Better Call Saul is the prequel to Breaking Bad so you would expect the show to have a lot of references to its predecessor. A Planet of the Apes reference is a bit more surprising. Yet there was a Planet of the Apes reference in the second episode of Better Call Saul Season 6. A viewer asked about it and co-creator Vince Gilligan confirmed. 

[Warning: This article contains spoilers for Better Call Saul Season 6 and Planet of the Apes.]

'Better Call Saul': The Kettlemans sign a contract with Jimmy in a scene with a 'Planet of the Apes' reference
L-R: Julie Ann Emery, Jeremy Shamos, and Bob Odenkirk | Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Gilligan spoke about the episode on the Better Call Saul Insider podcast on July 5. The final half of Better Call Saul season 6 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on AMC. 

‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6, Episode 2 makes a reference to ‘Planet of the Apes’

A viewer wrote into the Better Call Saul Insider podcast to ask if he was right. He noticed the Kettlemans’ inflatable Statue of Liberty in the episode “Carrot and Stick.” He wondered if that was intended to look like the Statue of Liberty shot in Planet of the Apes. Gilligan, who directed the episode, confirmed it was. 

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“You are very astute, my friend,” Gilligan said on Better Call Saul Insider. “Yes, the shot in episode 602 that you are referring to is indeed a visual shout out to the ending of the original Planet of the Apes when Charlton Heston and his lovely new lady of the future are riding up the beach on horseback. And then he sees oh my God, the Statue of Liberty, the wreckage of it in the surf. And then he says, ‘You maniacs! You blew it all up!’”

‘Better Call Saul’ star Bob Odenkirk took ‘Planet of the Apes’ even further 

Gilligan said there are outtakes from “Carrot and Stick” in which Bob Odenkirk really got his Heston on. In the Better Call Saul episode, Jimmy (Odenkirk) embroils the Kettlemans in yet another scheme to get back at Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian).

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“In fact, if we ever show the dailies, if we ever make public the dailies from that day of shooting, Bob Odenkirk does that exact line,” Gilligan said. “He says, ‘You maniacs, you blew it all up!’ We thought we would use but we were high. There’s no way we’re going to actually use that line in the actual episode.”

One big difference from ‘Planet of the Apes’

If you compare Better Call Saul “Carrot and Stick” side by side with Planet of the Apes, you’ll notice one major difference. At the end of the movie, Heston is looking to the left. Odenkirk looks at the statue balloon to his right. 

“The shot from the movie I think is eyeline left,” Gilligan said. “The way we shot it for reasons of where the light was coming from was eyeline right for Bob. Eyeline left for Charlton Heston but definitely that was an homage.”

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