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BREAKING BAD’S Gus Fring Is Back! Giancarlo Esposito on BETTER CALL SAUL

Everyone’s favorite drug dealer is back from the dead…well, kind of. After teasing Breaking Bad villain Gus Fring’s (Giancarlo Esposito) return on AMC’s prequel series Better Call Saul in a mysterious Los Pollos Hermanos commercial, the network revealed during the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour that he is officially joining the show–in some capacity–for season three.

In fact, the way that AMC revealed the meth kingpin was making his grand return to the Breaking Bad universe was by Esposito himself passing out Los Pollos Hermanos fried chicken and biscuits to the room full of reporters before joining the cast and showrunners onstage for a panel all about season three.

“It’s really great to be back with such a great family of filmmakers and I’m so, so honored to be asked to come back and recreate this character, Gustavo Fring,” Esposito said. “I had to remind myself in coming back to be present within the character and that we’re at a time where he’s a little more immature than where we left off. I reminded myself that he’s still finding his ways, the businessman that he his and finding his way in regard to where we left off, where he was at with the cartel. So I’m excited to be back.”

As Breaking Bad fans know, Gus is destined for a very brutal, violent end on AMC’s award-winning drama. But Better Call Saul takes place years before Walter White (Bryan Cranston) ever crossed paths with Gus. So when Esposito approached playing the prequel version of the ruthless, practical businessman, he had to constantly remind himself that this is the earliest version of Gus who doesn’t have the history of his time on Breaking Bad yet.


“Certainly [executive producer] Vince [Gilligan] had to describe to me the situation where Gus is a very cagey character, a guy who, I go back to the original stage direction that Vince wrote that was really inspiring to me, is hiding in plain sight,” Esposito said. “The way I see Gus is that you’re not who you think you are, we as human beings in general. Sometimes we have different agendas and we go about achieving our goals in different ways. So Gus is very clear in where we left him. He’s a guy who wanted revenge. He’s a guy who wanted to create a business. But he’s also very caring about his family of business people. I’m looking forward to see where we do go with it.”

While Esposito couldn’t reveal much about how Gus returns to the show and what kind of an impact he’ll have on Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), he did talk about how he likes getting to play those kinds of secrets.

“Sometimes it’s more exciting to have a character that’s a little more mysterious, you don’t know so much about and you’re left with wanting to know more,” Esposito said. “And we unroll it in a way that will leave you with a thirst. We’re going to show that it’s very unexpected. Jimmy McGill’s character, who you look at and you think he could be one way and just when you think he’s moving toward sloughing off of all of those old characteristics that you’ve seen, he comes right back to a place where you’re surprised by him. I’m hoping that Gustavo Fring will be similar in that way and resemble that kind of trajectory as well.”

As for that Better Call Saul commercial that aired as a real Los Pollos Hermanos ad with Gus Fring, hinting that he would be joining the show, the inspiration came from the man himself.

“That was Giancarlo’s idea and we loved it,” executive producer Peter Gould said.


Better Call Saul season three documents Jimmy McGill’s  devolution further toward his destiny to become Breaking Bad‘s Saul Goodman, Albuquerque’s most notorious criminal lawyer. Six years before he meets Walter White, Jimmy is a more or less law-abiding, small-time attorney hustling to champion his underdog clients, build his practice, and somehow make a name for himself. Season two ended with Chuck (Michael McKean) betraying Jimmy by secretly recording his felony confession and Mike (Jonathan Banks) attempting to take out sociopathic cartel boss Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) before an ominous intervention stopped him prior to pulling the trigger, raising the question of which other dangerous players are currently playing the game. When season three begins, the repercussions of Chuck’s scheme test Jimmy and Kim’s (Rhea Seehorn) fledgling law practices and their romance as never before. This imminent existential threat presses Jimmy’s faltering moral compass to the limit. Meanwhile, Mike searches for a mysterious adversary who seems to know almost everything about his business.

According to Gilligan, season three is going to push Jimmy even further along on his journey to becoming the man who would represent Walter White’s legal counsel.

“That’s the trick every year, pushing the bar,” Gilligan said. “We thought it was going to be easier to write it before we started it. We knew the end goal, the end character. Every season is inching the ball down the field, closer and closer, sometimes baby steps, sometimes leaps, the journey of Jimmy McGill towards Saul Goodman. In that sense, there’s a certain consistency to the show.”

How do you think Gus will be incorporated into Better Call Saul this season? Tweet me your thoughts and wishes at @SydneyBucksbaum!

Images: AMC

Better Call Saul season three premieres Monday, April 10 at 10 p.m. on AMC.

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