Spoiler Warnings: Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul
Now that the AMC’s hit series Better Call Saul has entered its sixth and final season, many wonder whether a next installment in the Breaking Bad universe might be in the works. The show’s creators, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, hint at that possibility, telling Deadline there are stories left to tell about these characters, but for now, they are both involved in different projects. The X-Files producer Gilligan has been secretly writing a new series that is yet to be confirmed.
In a recent interview with InsiderGiancarlo Esposito, who plays one of TV’s most memorable villains Gustavo Fring, said he is interested in revisiting the character if the offer to be cast in another spin-off occurs:
“I would consider and think about that particular scenario because I think it’s another moral tale that allows us to view into humanity and into how we push our humanity aside and to be demonstrative and to say who we are and we lose everything in the process because we know where Gus ends. We do not know where he began. “
Let’s examine why Gus Fring’s own series would be a valuable addition to the franchise and a great way of further expanding his nuanced story.
The Rise of Gus
Giancarlo Esposito claims there is more room to explore ‘the rise of Gus’, and we could not agree more. In the two series, the drug-dealing mastermind mockingly nicknamed “The Chicken Man” by his rivals is featured as an obvious antagonist. And we all know every good villain had a turning point which makes for a fascinating backstory. This would lead us to Fring’s business partner and well-educated meth cook, Max Arciniega (James Martinez). The formidable drug lord Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) considers him the main reason Gus is out for his uncle’s blood and jokingly refers to him as Gus’s “boyfriend.”
He may be onto something. Fans have been speculating about the true nature of their relationship since the iconic pool flashback scene in Breaking Bad. Gilligan himself did not rule this theory out when speaking with Entertainment Weekly:
“It’s fun to be a little mysterious, and it’s nice to have the audience come up with backstories on their own. Having said that, I personally think Max was more than just a friend to Gus. I think they probably were lovers. And therefore it was understandably a very crushing, terrible loss for Gus, one that he would never forget. That one bit of emotion that he allowed himself ultimately proved to be his undoing. “
Gus took a great liking to Max when he saved him from Santiago slums and even paid for his chemistry studies. The two later established a fast-food restaurant chain Los Polos Hermanos, which also served as a cover-up for their involvement in illegal narcotics. Max was a gifted chemist, and he used his skills to produce highly pure crystal meth with an unparalleled market value. Gus approached Don Eladio (Luis Politti), a cocaine-dealing cartel leader, with free samples seeking to start a lucrative partnership, and we all know how that worked out.
How Villains Are Made
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It’s what turned Walter White (Bryan Cranston) into Heisenberg and Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). But who was Gustavo Fring before he became the sinister drug emperor as we know him? Fring’s mysterious past and unsettling ambiguity make him the perfect successor to the “good guy gone bad” character development typical of both series. Although predominantly portrayed as a cold-hearted calculative outlaw who presents himself to the public with an eerie mask of politeness, there is a subtle humane dimension to him. This was most palpable when we saw him crying after the crucial event at the poolside on Don Eladio’s estate. Eladio may actually hold the key to Fring’s untold background, given that it was the main reason he spared his life – a decision he would later come to regret.
We know that “The Man Who Knocks” emerged after Walter’s terminal diagnosis radically changed his outlook on life and faced him with the extreme option of providing for his family while he could still. Jimmy McGill, an incorrigible problem maker, was so desperate for his older brother’s approval only to learn how much Chuck (Michael McKean) has despised him his entire life. It would be intriguing to learn what led Gus, a well-respected philanthropic businessman, to delve into the criminal underground. If Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul teaches us anything about their main characters, it’s that villains are not born. They are made.
Although Gilligan and Gould may not confirm the rumored spin-off about younger Gus any time soon, if at all, it’s still good to know the door is open. It would be welcomed by the new fans as well as the loyal audience that appreciated the duo’s brilliant storytelling when it took an unexpected shift from the clever action-packed Breaking Bad filled with breathtaking cliffhangers to a more detail-focused but rewarding slow-burner style of Better Call Saul. Whatever they come up with next, it’s guaranteed to be just as binge-worthy.
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