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Fans Of The Breaking Bad Universe Need To Prepare Themselves For Life Post-Saul

The "'Breaking Bad' universe" is a term used to describe the title series that started it all, its prequel series, "Better Call Saul," which is nearing its end, and the 2019 Netflix TV movie "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Story." Like the world of "Star Trek," and the "Buffyverse" ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel") and numerous TV franchises before it, this universe tells a years-long story with overlapping characters that all manage to intersect in the same fictional world.

The timeline of all three works is spread across the years 2002 to 2010, which means there is a lot of backstory before 2002 and years of room for further storytelling post-2010 in the "Breaking Bad" universe. In fact, fans of this fictional universe have not been without it save for one year, 2014, since the title series started back in 2008.

But with the series finale of "Better Call Saul" set to air in mid-August 2022, a good 14 years after the premiere of "Breaking Bad," it may be time to finally move on after processing the finale. Many fans have always wondered if the "Breaking Bad" universe can expand beyond "Better Call Saul," but the recent updates on that front are not very promising.

Vince Gilligan speaks on the future of the Breaking Bad universe

As disclosed by The Hollywood Reporter, series co-creator Vince Gilligan told reporters at a recent Television Critics Association (TCA) session that he is planning to move forward with something different after "Better Call Saul" wraps up. "I couldn't be happier and more proud of the work, but I have some other things I want to try," he said. In the 14 years since the premiere of the "Breaking Bad" universe, Gilligan has only ventured into one other non-"Breaking Bad" project, the short-lived 2015 dramedy series "Battle Creek."

Gilligan feels that this fictional world has run its course, even though he is fully aware he made comments to that effect when "Breaking Bad" ended in 2013, and when he announced "Better Call Saul" the following year. When asked about this by the TCA press portal, Gilligan commented, "I know I was asked the same thing at the end of 'Breaking Bad' and I gave the same answer, but I need to prove to myself that I'm not a one-trick pony."

But when looking at everything that has come since that time with "Better Call Saul" and "El Camino," there are not many viable stories left to tell within the large cast of characters, and fans frequently point to the obvious aging of the actors within the timeline of the show universe and the passage of real time.

Fans have theories for possible Breaking Bad universe spin-offs

Since the events of this TV/film universe are contained in an eight-year time period told over 14 years of television and filmmaking, this creates obvious signs of age progression in the characters. When discussing possible spinoffs, Redditor u/DoILookLikeASkater stated, "I think they should continue the trend they've done for el Camino and better call Saul where they use the same cast so it's 74-year-old Johnathan Banks [sic] playing a version of Mike in his 20s/30s as a cop."

As noted by Forbes, film budgets are typically viewed as more important than TV, which makes using the de-aging technology popularly seen in 2019's "The Irishman" not always economically feasible. The "Breaking Bad" universe asks us to suspend our disbelief in this regard, but it can be jarring, which makes the timeline explored and the age of the actors a frequent point of fan discussion.

Fans wanting a "Better Call Saul" spin-off have frequently cited Walter White Jr. (RJ Mitte), a younger Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), and Kristy Esposito (Abby Quinn) as possible series spinoff protagonists. But given Vince Gilligan's recent comments on truly wanting to move on to new projects, fans will have to wait and see if he changes his mind in the future.