Spoilers for last night's episode of Better Call Saul are below.
For its third season, Better Call Saul's creative team made the decision to anchor the marketing push around the impending introduction of Breaking Bad standout Gus Fring, as played by Giancarlo Esposito. So it wasn't hugely surprising when the bespectacled kingpin-in-the-making appeared (along with others) in last night's "Witness." But given how little we saw of him, combined with Mike's mysterious message, fans immediately wondered how much Fring we'll get to see in Better Call Saul. According to Esposito himself, Fring's story is strong is Season 3, and it'll likely go on for years after.
It's a multi-season commitment, barring something else that I'm developing, which, in my brain, we would juggle. In this third season, there are some reveals, but I'd like for deeper and more complicated reveals into Gus's past in season 4 that link him and bring us deeper into that cartel region.
Yes! An actor who was not at all willing to reprise a Breaking Bad role simply for fan service purposes, Giancarlo Esposito is very clear that had Fring's return not been set up so carefully and laid out with so many story threads to explore, the actor likely wouldn't have done it. But once everything began manifesting and Esposito realized just how deeply involved Better Call Saul would get into Fring's history, it sounds like he threw himself into it whole-heartedly, which is great news for fans with notebooks full of questions about the criminal mastermind and his past. Esposito wants to talk about all of those big past events, too.
Going so far as to mention potential arcs for Season 5, Giancarlo Esposito told EW that he indeed has options in his contract to continue on Better Call Saul in future years. And one has to assume that he'll end up doing it, because he's talking enthusiastically about wanting to delve into theorized-but-unspecified aspects of Fring's past, such as his Pinochet government ties and the character's sexuality. As well as some deeper looking into his eventually complicated relationship with Hector Salamanca. He obviously doesn't want to step on Breaking Bad's toes in any way, but he trusts the creative powers that be.
For now, we're still just witnessing the unperfected elixir that will later become Walter White's sympathetic nemesis. When asked about where Fring is currently at in terms of his killer instinct and his maniacal ways, here's what Giancarlo Esposito said.
Well, he's developing it as we see it. I'm hoping that season 4 will be the time to really dive into that. You certainly feel his danger, but he has a more close-to-the-vest respect for the cartel. This is the point where he has to get the cartel to trust him that his ideas are better, that his ideas aren't just because he wants to take over --- it's not just his ego, it's that he's figured out a better plan for a few different parts of their business, not only to grow it but to also keep it safe.
Sure, that decision-making will later lead to his downfall, but it'll be great to witness what we can of Gus Fring turning from the cartel's rising star into local legend. Especially if it takes another 3 or 4 years (or more) to do it.
When it comes to a project like Better Call Saul, of which there are admittedly few, there was the innate worry that building its connective tissue with Breaking Bad would be a part of the show's overall fabric, rather than something the narrative would strictly adhere to. Gus Fring obviously plays a massive role in both Mike and Jimmy's lives further down the line, but it wouldn't be so out of the ordinary if Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould subtly slipped the villain into the tapestry, as opposed to structuring his rise to scale with the show's central duo. Regardless, it sounds like such worries are meant to get thrown in the trash along with Jimmy's watch.
Now that we're left with the joy of Better Call Saul possibly lasting at least another two years, which is combined with the worry that Season 3 only has eight episodes left, we can uncomfortably wait for the story continue, as it does every Monday night on AMC at 10:00 p.m. ET. Head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide to see what other shows are coming to the small screen in the near future.