Breaking Bad is coming to a close, the world is watching, biting their fingers in anticipation and dread, so naturally sitting down with the show's creator Vince Gilligan was a light-hearted romp. Mostly aimed at the future, we talk Saul Goodman's spin-off, where it could go in the show's timeline, and how Netflix has made the show the success it is.

Someone said you had to tell us the end, so...?

You know what, everyone thinks they wanna know but they don't. I always think about spoilers, I've never been someone who is into them personally, but it's also like hearing it said in words by someone as ill-equipped to describe it perfectly as I am would be like 'Do you want to hear a painting described or do you want to actually see the painting?' Just hearing someone tell you what happens is very different than experiencing it on screen. Most people ask what the ending is, as I start to make a joke and reply they then say "I don't wanna know!". I love that about fans.

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With the ending, will it detract from future versions of the show, such as the Colombian version of Breaking Bad?

They are indeed plugging away making the Colombian version as we speak, I've heard they are up to episode 6 and they're working away on it. Hopefully it won't detract, and also I would think the artists, the filmmakers, the writers and directors and actors who are making those versions, I would be fine if they wanted to take some artistic license here and there. Certainly, you have to if you're remaking something. You have to take some license here and there and make it work for the market that you're producing it for, so maybe there's some room to maneuver there creatively.

How involved with the production are you, consulting?

I hate to admit but I'm very uninvolved because when the process started with the Colombian version I was deep into writing and directing the final episode, but my assistant, a young man named Gordon Smith, was flown down to Colombia and he was available on the set for the first episode as a consultant. He answered a lot of questions for the good folks down there, helped them however he could and he brought back reports of how nice everybody was and how hard they were going to work to make it a good show and I just look forward to watching it as a fan.

© 2013 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.

And where else would you like to see Breaking Bad remade?

I'm greedy, I'd like to see it remade everywhere. I'd like to see what the UK version would look like.

Irish as well? I think Walter's name in the Colombian version is Walter Blanco, so the Irish version of white is bán, so Walter Bán, which sound slike Bong as well, which could really fit in.

I love it, I love it. I'm greedy, I'd love to see it happen everywhere. There was talk, at one point, of a Turkish version. The first time I ever heard the idea floated there was talk of a Danish version, but that was years ago, I haven't heard anything since. But hey, I'd love to see that, that'd be fantastic.

© 2013 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Where are you in deciding what to do next?

My agents are, as we speak... [checks watch at 11:40am BST] Well, not as we speak, as we speak they're sleeping, but they are working away trying to figure out a deal, an overall deal. I'm not sure where I'll end up, there are a couple of possible companies, production companies or studios, rather, that I could end up at. I would like to, first up, I would like to see a spin-off series centring around our Saul Goodman character, our crazy lawyer character, played by Bob Odenkirk. I'd love to see that happen, that would be a lot of fun I think. A writer named Peter Gould, one of my writers on Breaking Bad, writer-producer-director and a very talented man who actually created the character of Saul Goodman back in season 2 in one of his first episodes, is working on it with me and the two of us together are trying to get it up and running, and at the moment we're waiting to see if it's a go with our studio and our network. But that would be a lot of fun to do that, I would like to help get that going and let it very much be Peter's show.

© 2013 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Would it be an hour-long kind of thing or would you go shorter? Because Bob Odenkirk's used to comedy anyway, and it's a very comic character so would you go for a shorter, denser show or would you make the material darker?

That's a very good question and that's a question Peter and I spent a lot of time discussing. Our best guess at this moment, with the caveat that it could change, our best guess is it would be an hour long and the best way to describe it would be, we put as much humour as we could into Breaking Bad to leaven the extraordinary darkness, so to my mind roughly Breaking Bad was 80% drama to 20% comedy or humour, maybe this would be the flip of that. It would be 70/75% comedic to 25% dramatic because just turning Saul Goodman's world into a sitcom, a 30 minute sitcom, it wouldn't quite feel right to me, it wouldn't feel authentic. Saul Goodman is a funny character but he lives in a very serious and dangerous world, so if we gave that short shrift it would feel inauthentic, and it would reduce the tension. Comedic tension versus dramatic tension, they both operate using a great many of the same principles, so to make it more sitcom-y, if you will, would be to do it an injustice I would think.

 

© 2013 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.

In the US would it air again on AMC, do they have the first right of refusal?

AMC definitely has first right of refusal and I'm hoping that the show happens. I have no reason to believe that it won't, just waiting to hear. This is always the time where basically you pitch something and then there's that time frame during which it's a good time to be in Europe for three weeks. While other people who work above your pay-grade try to hammer out all the details, it's a good time to be in Europe and let the powers that be figure things out for themselves.

What made you choose Saul as opposed to other characters in Breaking Bad?

I've probably been thinking about it, and my writer's and I have been talking about it, probably since...it's hard to put a date to it but probably since season 4 or thereabouts. We were thinking "ya know, he might be a fun character to spin-off". We started to think about it in earnest maybe a year, a year and a half ago. The best way I can put this is he's a lot of fun to write for. The actor is a wonderful... honestly all the actors are wonderful people, every actor in our ensemble, they are all people I want to work with again in the future, so it wasn't about that so much. Bob Odenkirk is a wonderful guy, but all the actors are wonderful, it was as much that the character himself is so much fun to write for, spinning some of the crazy dialogue that Saul Goodman gives out with is just a lot of fun. It is pleasurable to put words in Saul Goodman's mouth and I guess that's as good an answer as any.

Is there potential for other characters to be spun off, perhaps in prequels, charting the origins of Gus and his rise to the top?

It's possible, and it's possible in fact that the Saul Goodman show will be indeed be a prequel, and if that is the case, I sound like I'm being coy, it's as much that we haven't nailed it all down yet but we are thinking it's a strong possibility that the Saul Goodman show would be a prequel, and if it is the sky's the limit. Yeah, we could see, potentially, Gustavo Fring, Mike Ehrmantraut, we could have a lot of fun with a prequel, I would think.

© 2013 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.

You've lived with Walt and Heisenberg in your head for a long time, has he ever reared his ugly head in your own day-to-day situations?

Not as such, but you know it's funny you ask that. This has been the greatest job of my life, probably will be the greatest job I'll ever have, but having to live with Walter White in my head 24 hours a day for six, over six, years can be detrimental. He's a tough guy to be carrying around in your brain for all that time, it's a hard thing to turn off because you're always facing such tough deadlines when you're in production and you start to inadvertently, because of this, start to see the world trough Walter White's eyes, through Heisenberg's eyes, and I don't think he made me "Break bad" in any particular sense, but in the other hand perceiving the world as Walter White does, starting to, has caused some unpleasant moments. Probably during the season where Walt was under constant threat of death from Gus Fring [Season 4], I started to get a little paranoid, in a parking deck, do I hear footsteps? It sounds a little crazy, but living with that guy in your head can be kind of tough, and as sad as I am that the show is over, as much as I miss the people involved in making it and as much as I miss the creative satisfaction of it, being able to scrape the remnants, the residue, of Walter White and the way he thinks out of my brain has been, probably, a healthy thing.

This season opened to double the ratings of last year, and it increased each year prior too, with people watching it on Netflix, and now Netflix does its own TV shows. Do you think that Breaking Bad was the breakthrough, the flagship for the future of television and streaming on demand?

We benefitted from nearly perfect timing in regards to Netflix and streaming video on demand. I don't claim that we deserve that, or that it was some divine right, it might have been just dumb luck but just as The X-Files benefitted, another show that I worked on years ago, just as The X-Files benefitted from its timing in relation to the onset of the internet, Breaking Bad benefitted to its timing relative to SVoD coming online, and I do not think it's a stretch to say if not for Netflix in particular and SVoD in general as a technology, I don't think it's a stretch to say if not for that I wouldn't be here talking with you. I wouldn't be on this press trip, I would have nothing to sell. In other words, it is very likely Breaking Bad would have been cancelled after season 2, maybe season 3. Because when we first went on the air we just had a very small number of viewers, and luckily the viewers we did have seemed to like the show and they would tell their friends, but lacking SVoD not enough people would have caught up, would have been able to catch up with the show, and a show like Breaking Bad you don't really want to start watching it half-way through season 2 or season 3. It wouldn't work, I don't think. It would be a very hard thing to catch up on.

But being able to instantly catch up with these episodes and not have to wait, for instance, for the network to re-air them which is a whole lot of work... I think it was dumb luck on our part but I'll take it. I'm grateful to Netflix and SVoD for coming into existence when it did, otherwise I wouldn't be here right now.

Are you also grateful to the websites that hosted it in terms of piracy, because a lot of people did watch it on Netflix, but also...

That's true, and that's the double-edged sword of those pirate sites. It really did, I mean, you're right, there has been a pro and a con as far as I'm concerned.

© 2013 Sony Pictures Television Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Do you think you could start working on the new spin-off this year?

I would think so, I think it could, but there's no hard or fast schedule for it yet. There's a lot of details that need to be hammered out but I would think that it was possible, certainly, that we could open a writer's room this year, before the year is over. Peter and I both have been very spoiled by Sony and by AMC in that they have allowed us a great deal of lead time in order to write Breaking Bad. These final 8 episodes, for instance, we were given the better part of, oh gosh, or 8 episode s we were given many months of lead time to break the final episodes. The final 16 we were given over a year to figure out the story. In other words, per episode we had 3-4 weeks of lead time, story breaking time, that's not even counting the writing. That's how long it took 7 writers in a room figuring out the ins and outs, the minutia of the plot of each episode, and I am very spoiled by that and I feel I need that now. I feel that whatever is good about Breaking Bad, aside from the actors, the wonderful actors portraying the characters, I feel that other than that, what's really strong in Breaking Bad I could credit to the fact that we had enough lead time to figure these stories out and I don't want to, in any projects that I work on in the future, I don't want them to not have that lead time. That's all my long-winded way of saying we could open a writer's room but we need the time we need to figure out the stories before we actually start shooting.

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The Final Season of Breaking Bad is available on Netflix UK from August 12th with new episodes available every Monday. Seasons 1-5 are available on Blu-ray, DVD and Netflix UK now.