The following contains spoilers for Better Call Saul Season 3
Better Call Saul Season 4 is going to try something the show has never done: exist without Michael McKean.
McKean’s character, imperious attorney and Jimmy’s older brother Chuck McGill, perished offscreen in a house fire at the end of last season. Chuck, having suffered from a major relapse of his electromagnetic hypersensitivity, kicked over a lantern in his Collyer’s mansion, setting the whole thing ablaze. Chuck was unable to carry on after his brother exposed in court that his condition was mental rather than physical and Chuck was pushed out of his law firm.
Shows write off and kill off characters all the time. And Chuck McGill certainly seemed like a prime candidate given his outsized influence over Jimmy and apparent absence in his life later on when Jimmy would cross paths with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Still, Chuck and McKean were big parts of the show and Better Call Saul knows it.
In this exclusive clip, the cast and crew talks about the character, the actor, and what a post-Chuck version of the show can be.
It’s interesting how much McKean shaped the character he played. “When Vince and I wrote the pilot, we thought of (Chuck) as a responsibility for Jimmy. We thought of him as a little bit pathetic. Then Michael came in and brought such pride to the character such gravitas,” showrunner Peter Gould says.
Indeed it would be hard to imagine the power dynamic playing out between Jimmy and Chuck any differently.
McKean, himself, has some kind words for the character he’s leaving behind, saying, “I think Chuck went to this death thinking he had done everything the right way. I found a way to love Chuck.”
But of course Mike Ehrmantraut actor Jonathan Banks cuts to the core.
“No matter what sympathy you were supposed to feel I always thought ‘what a prick.’ And to take that character on and do that character. That’s a big deal,” he says.
Better Call Saul Season 4 debuts August 6 on AMC.