Skip to main content

When Vince Gilligan first decided to create the spinoff prequel to the critically acclaimed series Breaking Bad, he never thought it would achieve the same level of success as the first show. He also didn’t envision it as a drama but was rather thinking Better Call Saul would be a half-hour comedy focused on the antics of everyone’s favorite lawyer, Saul Goodman.

Luckily for fans, Gilligan abandoned that idea quickly and came up with a legal drama that serves as a fitting backstory for Saul. But then a funny thing happened over the past 5 seasons of the show: some fans started liking it better than the original.

How does the showrunner feel about Breaking Bad potentially being bested by its prequel? Apparently, he’s thrilled about it.

Vince Gilligan
Vince Gilligan | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Gilligan and Gould were shocked to create such a hit

It’s not that the show’s creators thought Better Call Saul was going to be terrible — it’s just that coming off the high of Breaking Bad, they never expected for lighting to strike twice. Which is why at first, they had planned on making it totally unique.

“When we first started concocting the idea of doing a spinoff, we literally thought it’d be a half-hour show,” Gilligan 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.”

But then the story morphed into something else entirely. “I said, ‘Breaking Bad is about 25-percent humor, 75-percent drama and maybe this will be the reverse of that,’” Gilligan continued. “Well [Better Call Saul] is every bit as dramatic as Breaking Bad ever was. I just didn’t see any of that coming. I didn’t know how good it would all be.

Gilligan is glad when fans love ‘Better Call Saul’ more

Even though Breaking Bad will always be Gilligan’s first baby, and a career-defining hit, he’s always happy to hear fans of the series admit that they’ve fallen hard for the prequel. “I run into people every day now who say Better Call Saul is their favorite of the two,” the showrunner said.  

“I love hearing that. I don’t know where I fall personally on that scale, that continuum — I try not to choose. I don’t have children, but this is as close as I’ll ever get to having children. I find it hard to choose between them. But I’m just glad they both exist.”

He never thought anyone would like ‘Better Call Saul’ better

As Gilligan explained to Rolling Stone, he knew how special Better Call Saul was early on, but even then couldn’t have conceived that five seasons later it would be constantly getting compared to Breaking Bad in terms of quality.

He explained the phenomenon, saying: “I never thought anyone would come up to me and say, ‘I like Better Call Saul better than Breaking Bad.’ If you had asked me before we started, ‘Would that bother you if someone said that?’ First of all, I would have said, ‘That’s never gonna happen. And yeah, it probably would bother me.’”

But now? He doesn’t mind at all. Gilligan concluded that he’s delighted by fans defecting to Better Call Saul. “It doesn’t bother me a bit,” he said. “It tickles me. I love it.”