Skip to main content

Better Call Saul Creators Say Walt May Still Be Alive During Gene's Flash-Forwards

better call saul gene

Mild spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched the Season 4 premiere for Better Call Saul.

In Better Call Saul, fans knew they were getting a prequelized take on Saul Goodman's life prior to his connection with Walter White, but the black-and-white flash-forwards have been a series of short-lived surprises. The exact timeline for Gene's Cinnabon-managing stint has yet to get nailed down within the show's narrative, and co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould are now dropping teases that Bryan Cranston's Walt might actually still be alive during the Gene scenes that we've seen thus far, including his hospital-bound trip that kicked off Season 4. Here's how they put it.

Gilligan: Bob brings up an interesting question. Speaking of which: Do we even know in our Omaha sequences, our Gene sequences... I mean, has it happened yet?Gould: We haven't defined that. We haven't said how long Gene has been in Omaha.

That's kind of a mind-blowing option for fans to consider, since the going idea for Better Call Saul is that any potential Walter White appearances would have to be in full flashback form, with him popping up during the time before his rise to underworld infamy as Heisenberg. But if Gilligan and Gould are being on the level with viewers here, then there's the slightest chance we could get a new look at Walt when he's caught up in the downward spiral that led to his death, and to Jesse's escape from the Neo-Nazis. Among other Breaking Bad-familiar situations, that is.

These comments were made during the latest episode of Better Call Saul Insider Podcast (opens in new tab), and the "interesting" question that Vince Gilligan was referring to came from star Bob Odenkirk, who somewhat rhetorically inquired about Gene potentially coming out of hiding upon hearing news of Walt's death. But instead of dancing around that question in the normal way, the co-creators unlocked a new avenue of speculation for fans to careen down.

And they kept the teases going for just a little longer, too.

Gilligan: It's a good question. Like you said, we don't know yet. It's a good question. Has it happened yet, has it not? As you say, Peter, we have not defined it.Gould: It's an open question. It's one that will have to be answered at some point --- like a lot of these things.

Vince Gilligan himself has copped to being more interested in the Gene flash-forwards than other show elements at this point, and his heightened interest would be more than justified if Gene's mall-manager stint actually does line up with Walt's cabin retreat-turned-revenge mission. It still wouldn't make for the easiest Bryan Cranston cameo, but perhaps Gene could be watching the local news via hospital TV, where he sees a report about Walt's crimes. Or maybe the two men's last piece of communication was through a phone call that viewers never knew about. There are ample options.

Bob Odenkirk has his own Breaking Bad crossover theories that he's interested in seeing come to life. But before any of that happens, Jimmy McGill will be dealing with his brother's death, as TV fans are coping without Michael McKean around on a regular basis. All while Gun Fring makes his own rise in criminal rankings.

While we might not get to figure this mystery out until Season 5 or beyond, Better Call Saul will keep audiences busy with Season 4 every Monday night on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what other shows will be debuting in the meantime, head to our fall premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.