Giancarlo Esposito Talks Returning To Gus Fring For Better Call Saul

Giancarlo Esposito nearly said no to reprising his role as Gus Fring for the Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul. In a recent interview with Vulture, the actor talked about the difficult road towards convincing him to return to the Emmy-nominated role for the prequel's third season, saying that the network ended up having to pull out the big guns to get him on board.

AMC teased Esposito's Better Call Saul appearance in January via a Los Pollos Hermanos commercial, officially announcing it a few days later at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. Esposito, who got to play out a pretty memorable death on Breaking Bad, told Vulture that he turned down the offer at multiple points, even when it came from the head of Sony. "I don't like to repeat myself," he said. "I try to always be original in my work. So to come back and create a character I'd already created was... difficult."

Despite his reservations about returning to the character, Esposito decided he had to take a call from creator Vince Gilligan to see what he had in mind. "I needed to know: where does Gus, this iconic character, fit into this whole thing?" he said. "I loved the idea of looking into where Gus came from, and Vince had the integrity I wanted him to have about it. We also agreed that mystery about Gus was still important. When you see a character every week, you know what he's going do. You know his idiosyncrasies. What's fascinating about a guy like Gus is what we don't know about him."

With Gilligan's ideas officially bringing him into the project, Esposito said he then had to find a way to make Gus "new and fresh" in his reappearance. "He's good at being a leader, he's good at organizing, he's good at covering his tracks," he said. "To me, he's still fascinating. And a lot of questions we had about him in Breaking Bad, like 'How did he come to this life?' will hopefully be answered in Saul."

According to Esposito, there were some debates about where the character would be in season three, which takes place about five years before audiences originally met Gus on Breaking Bad. "I can't say explicitly, but there was a big question about whether I'd have the same hair as I did in Breaking Bad," Esposito teased when talking about the character's classic style. "I was determined that he have different hair because this is the Gus we don't know yet... I want to be always be thinking about these small details; this is where the divine channeling takes place. Gus is definitely very physical for me, but he's also emotional, powerful, and dignified."

Although few details have been released about Gus' return, Esposito seems confident that the show will do the character justice. "I came here to be part of something classic again," he said. "Breaking Bad will live on forever, and Saul has its place in that history now, too. You asked earlier why I came back? I'm back because I love and trust Vince and Peter. I don't act alone. I act with this family of filmmakers who do their work at a very high level. Those are the reasons I came back."

Better Call Saul season three premieres on April 10 at 10 p.m. on AMC, while Esposito will return in episode two. While we wait for Gus to make his triumphant return, see all the ways that Better Call Saul can connect to Breaking Bad.