Better Call Saul: Creator Teases Walt May Be Alive in Flash-Forwards

Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has intimated that Walter White may still be alive during Gene's time in Omaha.

That Vince Gilligan is a crafty, crafty man.

Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad and co-creator of Better Call Saul alongside Peter Gould, tossed a succulent piece of foreboding plot meat to a horde of ravenous Breaking Bad fans today. In an appearance on the Better Call Saul Insider podcast, he suggested something absolutely wild but also completely possible: perhaps Walter White (as played by Bryan Cranston, obviously) is still alive in Better Call Saul‘s black and white flash-forwards. 

Here is what the genteel but also evil genius showrunner had to say, as transcribed by ScreenCrush:

Gilligan: Do we even know in our Omaha sequences, our Gene sequences, do we even know? Has (Walt’s death) even happened yet?

Gould: We haven’t said how long Gene has been in Omaha.

Gilligan: We don’t know yet. Has it happened yet? Has it not? As you said Peter, we have not defined it.

Gould: It’s an open question. It’s one that will have to be answered at some point.

Is that what we’re gonna do today, Vince? We’re just going to light the Internet on fire to watch it burn? Ok, fine. Let’s take a look. 

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This doesn’t appear to be solely fan bait from Gilligan and Gould as the timeline for what they’re describing can conceivably work out. The last we ever saw of Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad was in the show’s penultimate episode, “Granite State.” In “Granite State” Saul and Walt both use the services of vacuum repairman and ultimate fixer, Ed (Robert Forster).

Ed sets Jimmy up with a new identity (Gene) and sends him to Omaha to become a Cinnabon master and sends Walt to a remote cabin in New Hampshire where he can peacefully live out the rest of his (admittedly few) days. After a few months, Walt returns to Albuquerque to rescue Jesse and kill the men who stole his Empire and killed his brother-in-law. He will then die in a meth lab after a shootout.

So there is for sure a time period in which Saul is living in Omaha as Gene and that Walter White is still alive simultaneously. It’s just a matter of figuring out how long that time period is. Based on Breaking Bad Season 5 opening on Walt’s 51st birthday and the finale opening on Walt’s 52nd birthday, we can presume there is a three-to-nine month window in which Saul and Walt are living out their new lives at the same time.

It was a natural, fair assumption that Better Call Saul‘s black and white future Gene scenes took place after Walter’s death. But Gilligan and Gould have shown a real preference for bringing back characters from Breaking Bad, and those future scenes being prior to Walt’s death would give them an opportunity to bring the character back in a more meaningful fashion than just a cameo.

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