Bob Odenkirk Thought ‘Better Call Saul’ Was ‘Just Another Project’ — Until He Saw the Billboard

Vince Gilligan dreamed up Breaking Bad while having a sort of midlife crisis and when he did, he had no inkling that one of the side characters, the sleazy criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, would end up with a critically acclaimed spinoff. The showrunner admitted that he’s “tickled” to hear that some fans are starting to love Better Call Saul better than the show it’s based upon.

And the star of the show Bob Odenkirk was equally unenthusiastic. As he revealed during a recent appearance on the James Corden show, he never expected Better Call Saul to become one of the defining moments of his career. And yet, here we are.

Bob Odenkirk
Bob Odenkirk | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Bob Odenkirk worried about disappointing viewers with the spinoff

The 57-year-old actor and comedian realized that he had a lot to live up to when he agreed to participate in a Breaking Bad spinoff that would mostly attract those fans. Even then, the show was considered one of the all-time greats and had ended on a high note. Those fans had high expectations and Odenkirk — plus showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould — were very aware of the possibility they could disappoint those loyal followers.

Odenkirk said it sounded like an “interesting” show but not necessarily capable of reaching the same level of success. “I walked into Better Call Saul thinking it’s just another project,” he told Corden.

But that all changed when he was on his way home from filming the pilot and caught a glimpse of a Better Call Saul promo billboard. That’s when Odenkirk realized he was all in, for better or worse.

‘Better Call Saul’ was almost a very different type of show

Originally, Gilligan envisioned the spinoff about Saul Goodman as a half-hour long comedy that bore no resemblance to the original. But he quickly realized that wasn’t where the material was taking him.

“When we first started concocting the idea of doing a spinoff, we literally thought it’d be a half-hour show,” the co-creator told Rolling Stone. “It’d be something akin to Dr. Katz, where it’s basically Saul Goodman in his crazy office with the styrofoam columns and he’s visited every week by a different stand-up comic.”

It’s strange to imagine that now, with Better Call Saul becoming just as dramatic as Breaking Bad was. Clearly, the writers made the right call.

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This isn’t Jimmy McGill anymore.

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Some fans think ‘Better Call Saul’ will surpass ‘Breaking Bad’ by the time it ends

While many fans consider Breaking Bad the greatest series of all time, there’s a growing number of fans who think Better Call Saul will eventually outrank the show it’s based upon, especially since there’s an entire season to go.

The second half of season 5 has resulted in some of the highest-ranked episodes in the Breaking Bad universe, with “Bagman” earning a 9.8 rating on IMDb and “Bad Choice Road” receiving a 9.9. Meanwhile, the greatest Breaking Bad episode ever, “Ozymandias,” achieved a perfect 10 rating. Will Better Call Saul reach the same heights?

Odenkirk didn’t expect for Better Call Saul to be a big deal. But now with Emmy nominations looming, fans are beginning to petition that he gets the recognition he deserves for his work on the show. He may have thought Better Call Saul was just another project — instead, it’s the work legacies are made of.