Peter Gould, showrunner of Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, opened up about the series’ tribute to the late Robert Forster.
The actor played Ed the Disappearer in the series, with a particularly memorable appearance in the show’s penultimate episode. With the return of Better Call Saul on February 23, there was also a flashback featuring Forster’s character once more.
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“I was lucky enough to write and direct his one appearance on Breaking Bad,” Gould told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s hard to believe, but he was only in one episode. I had such a great time with him. We’d been looking for an opportunity to have him back on Better Call Saul.
There’s a close relationship between all existing Breaking Bad properties, including the original show, Gould’s show focusing on Bob Odenkirk’s character Saul Goodman, and the spinoff film El Camino which focused on the fate of Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul.
“Vince wrote [Robert] into El Camino,” Gould explained, “which was great. Those things probably happened almost simultaneously. I’m not sure if we had the idea of having him back on Better Call Saul first. But the truth is, when I wrote the first draft of the season opener, I didn’t think we would see him.
“But then while they were shooting El Camino, Melissa Bernstein, our brilliant producer, called me up and said, ‘How would you like to see him instead of just hearing him?’ And I said, ‘Hell, yes!’ Vince agreed to shoot Robert’s half of the phone call during the El Camino shoot, and El Camino was shot long before we started shooting this season of Better Call Saul.”
He continued: “Robert was on board, so I quickly rewrote the script to show his side of the conversation. And at the time I thought, ‘This is just great, efficient producing.’ It was fun to have that half of the phone call done.
“But now looking back on it, it’s so much more meaningful to have one last look at Robert in our world.”
Gould added: “We had the screening of the premiere episode, and there were nine members of his family who came, and it was just so wonderful to see them. And, you know, we miss him… It’s a very special thing to have him on the show.”
The spin-off Breaking Bad film, El Camino, premiered on Netflix last October. While some fans enjoyed the new film, it received mixed reviews. NME gave El Camino two stars.