‘Better Call Saul’ Boss on What Sidelined a Key Cast Member During Season 4, and Why the Show Is Closer to the End

Co-creator Peter Gould also told IndieWire why he thinks Kim Wexler is “Saul’s” version of Jesse Pinkman.

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for “Better Call Saul” Season 4 Episode 10, “Winner.”]

One of the best achievements of “Better Call Saul” Season 4 was tricking viewers into believing that Gus Fring could run. The reason this wasn’t easy was that Giancarlo Esposito — who has played the ruthless and enigmatic crime boss since Season 3 of “Breaking Bad” — broke multiple weight-bearing bones in his ankle halfway through the production of Season 4, rendering the actor incapable of walking for several episodes.

“It was a hurdle,” co-creator Peter Gould told IndieWire. “Most of all, it was a hurdle for Giancarlo, because he’s a wonderful guy and he should never be injured.”

Esposito is fine now, Gould said, but when the injury occurred several months ago, “once we knew that he was going to be okay, the question was how can we shoot the scenes with Gus Fring, when Giancarlo was really unable to walk at that point in his recovery?”

It didn’t require too much in the way of rewriting. Instead, some creative staging was involved. “There’s one scene in Episode 9 where we had him walking through Los Pollos Hermanos and, as aired, he sort of goes from one position to the other,” Gould said. “Our directors were very, very clever about using body doubles for a few moments.”

That included what Gould called “a Texas swap” in the season finale, which was a source of pride for the production team, because “on camera, without cutting, you switch between a double and the actual actor. The scene between Giancarlo and David Costabile in the super lab, it looks as if he’s walked from point A to point B, but he never did. You start off on Giancarlo, and then you pan over with David Costabile, and then Giancarlo appears in the foreground but in fact it’s actually not Giancarlo, it’s Giancarlo’s double. It’s pretty terrific.”

Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo "Gus" Fring - Better Call Saul _ Season 4, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Giancarlo Esposito in “Better Call Saul.”

Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures

Another moment faked on camera: Lalo (Tony Dalton) is stalking Gus’s operation, and through the Salamanca operative’s binoculars, you see Gus running to an SUV. “Of course that’s not Giancarlo,” Gould said. He praised Esposito for his “great attitude. He is such a trooper. His performance is wonderful and layered, as always. He just didn’t do as much walking.”

On a meta level, it makes sense that this sort of smoke and mirrors would be happening behind the scenes, given the character at the center of the story: “Better Call Saul” continues to track the evolution (or devolution) of Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) into the ever-scheming Saul Goodwin of “Breaking Bad.”

Season 4 brings us ever closer to the full-blown existence of Saul, as Jimmy declares, immediately after getting back his license to practice law, that he’ll no longer be using his real name. “It’s Saul Goodman!” he declares with a smile, stunning his long-time partner Kim (Rhea Seehorn), who’s just come face to face with the extent of his ability to inveigle, and doesn’t like it.

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler - Better Call Saul _ Season 4, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Rhea Seehorn in “Better Call Saul”

Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures

“I’m very excited to see what he’s going to do next,” Gould said of what’s coming for the character, “because he has this burst of energy and it’s almost a little bit manic and whenever he’s like that, really interesting things happen very soon. But at the same time, I’m also a little bit sad because he’s going to a place that I don’t think is good for him, as a person, and I think he’s losing, or at least hiding some of his humanity.” He also expressed concern about Kim Wexler’s character. “I don’t think Kim is through with Jimmy at this point,” Gould said, “but I’m worried about what happens to her if she sticks with him as he goes down the path that he’s headed.”

Kim has become a fan favorite (one who fans are very worried about), which makes Gould happy to hear. “Kim is a character who didn’t exist on ‘Breaking Bad,’ and when we started off, everything we did and everything we still do is in relation to ‘Breaking Bad,'” he said. “We started off in the shadow of ‘Breaking Bad.’ Now we’re an extension or a variation, but it’s in the same universe. So the fact that people are so attached to Kim is really meaningful.”

He recalled a recent moment in the writers room for the show. “I said, ‘In some ways, Kim Wexler is this show’s Jesse Pinkman,'” he said. “In that Jesse, for all his faults, never lost his humanity, and as the show went on I think a lot of us felt more worried about Jesse than Walt. Walt, at certain points, felt like a lost cause as a human being. I mean, he was fascinating, you could not take your eyes off him and you were always wondering how far he was going to go to next. But mostly I was worried about Jesse and I think… in some ways the dynamic is very different, obviously. But I think there’s a little bit of that in this show.”

Speaking of innocents who suffer within this universe, Gould did promise that fans can expect to see more of Gayle (David Costabile), seen in the Season 4 finale excited about the possibilities of cooking in Gus’s half-finished lab.

Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo "Gus" Fring, David Costabile as Gale Boetticher - Better Call Saul _ Season 4, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Giancarlo Esposito and David Costabile in “Better Call Saul.”

Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures

“Usually when we approach things, we try to think about what should happen in the story, and then find out if the performer’s available,” Gould said about the process of reuniting former cast members. “David has gone far out of his way to be a part of this show, and it’s so flattering that he does because he is a brilliant performer. And he and Giancarlo together are magic. Boy, I think we should see some more Gale, I really do.”

It’s a given that Jimmy will be back, of course, albeit using his new name in at least a professional capacity. What’s in a name, though? In 2017, as Season 3 was airing, IndieWire asked Gould what name the writers used in the writers’ room when referring to the main character of the show. “I remember in Season 1, when we were carding out the first few episodes, [co-creator Vince Gilligan] would write the cards,” he said at the time, “and at that point, the first episode or so, he was Saul.”

But that changed quickly over the course of Season 1, to the point where, during Season 3, Gould said that “I’m going to think of him as Jimmy for a long, long time.”

Now, as the writers’ room currently works to develop Season 5, that hasn’t changed — the name they use is still “Jimmy.” But after the events of Season 4, Gould said, “we have to do a lot of serious thinking in the writers’ room about what it means to be Saul Goodman. What is the essence of saying that this man is now Saul Goodman?”

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill - Better Call Saul _ Season 4, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Bob Odenkirk in “Better Call Saul.”

Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures

For Gould, what he thinks it means connects to “what he’s willing to do. Is he willing to hurt people and have people injured in various ways for his own well being and wealth? That’s the question, and I think the question is how far is Jimmy McGill willing to go to get what he wants? And if he’s willing to go to certain dark places, maybe that’s what makes him Saul Goodman.”

Gould admitted that when he and Gilligan began making the show, “we’ve been assuming that we would get to this point a lot sooner,” he said. “We knew, starting the show, that Jimmy McGill was eventually going to become Saul Goodman. I really didn’t think it was gonna take 35 episodes before he started using the name continuously, and then in Episode 40 he would say ‘I’m gonna practice law under this name.’ I would not have believed it would’ve taken so long, but the truth is the character just wasn’t ready. We had to experience all that we experienced to take Jimmy McGill up to this point.”

Here’s what matters, about Jimmy now being — at least in name — Saul Goodman: “I think it means we’re closer to the end of the story,” Gould said, “than we are to the beginning.”

“Better Call Saul” has been renewed for a fifth season by AMC.

‘Better Call Saul’ Season 4 Finale Gives Birth To A Brand New Jimmy

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details of the season 4 finale of Better Call Saul.
There are many moving parts to Better Call Saul, with the main lingering question being: “How did Jimmy McGill become Saul Goodman?” The season 4 final…

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details of the season 4 finale of Better Call Saul. There are many moving parts to Better Call Saul, with the main lingering question being: “How did Jimmy McGill become Saul Goodman?” The season 4 finale addresses this and continues to clear the path for the inevitable intersection with the Breaking Bad timeline — although we’ll probably have to wait a little longer to see Walter White or Jesse Pinkman make an appearance in Saul. Even…

Giancarlo Esposito Joins Forest Whitaker in Epix Series ‘Godfather of Harlem’

Giancarlo Esposito has joined the upcoming Epix series “Godfather of Harlem” in a series regular role, Variety has learned. The 10-episode series is inspired by the story of infamous Harlem crime boss Bumpy Johnson, who will be played by Fo…

Giancarlo Esposito has joined the upcoming Epix series “Godfather of Harlem” in a series regular role, Variety has learned. The 10-episode series is inspired by the story of infamous Harlem crime boss Bumpy Johnson, who will be played by Forest Whitaker. Esposito will play Adam Clayton Powell, a Baptist minister, Harlem congressman, and man of many […]

‘Godfather Of Harlem’: Giancarlo Esposito To Star In Epix Drama Series

Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul’s Giancarlo Esposito has been cast as one of the leads opposite Forest Whitaker in Godfather of Harlem, Epix’s straight-to-series crime drama from Narcos co-creator Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein and ABC Signature St…

Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul'Giancarlo Esposito has been cast as one of the leads opposite Forest Whitaker in Godfather of Harlem, Epix's straight-to-series crime drama from Narcos co-creator Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein and ABC Signature Studios. Written by Brancato and Eckstein, Godfather of Harlem is inspired by the story of infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Whitaker), who in the early 1960s returned from 10 years in prison to find the neighborhood he once…

‘Breaking Bad’ & ‘Better Call Saul’ Actor Giancarlo Esposito Joins Disney’s ‘Stargirl’

EXCLUSIVE: Giancarlo Esposito, most recently known for his role as Gus Fring on AMC’s Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul, has landed a supporting role in Disney’s Stargirl feature along with Disney Channel star Karan Brar (Bunk&#…

EXCLUSIVE: Giancarlo Esposito, most recently known for his role as Gus Fring on AMC’s Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul, has landed a supporting role in Disney’s Stargirl feature along with Disney Channel star Karan Brar (Bunk’d), Darby Stanchfield (Scandal), and Maximiliano Hernandez (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). The film, which will be released on Disney's forthcoming streaming platform, stars Grace VanderWaal as the titular character and Graham…

‘Better Call Saul’ Season 4 Teaser: Jimmy McGill Starts to Become a Truly Criminal Lawyer (Exclusive Video)

As Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman once so eloquently put it on “Breaking Bad,” “When the going gets tough, you don’t want a criminal lawyer. You want a criminal lawyer, know what I’m sayin’?”

That was in “Better Call Saul,” the very first episode in which we introduced to Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and, based on a new teaser for Season 4 of AMC’s prequel series of the same name, it looks like we are finally about to see Jimmy McGill turn into that bad, bad attorney we all know and love.

The 1-minute clip, which is exclusive to TheWrap, opens on an unemployed Jimmy, mourning at his brother Chuck’s (Michael McKean) funeral. The attorney is hoping to get back on his feet and be gainfully employed in a few months, but he’s gotta make some dough first. That’s when he starts casing joints and working overtime to convince Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) to team up on a job. Next thing you know, Jimmy is sporting a purple tracksuit and appears to be in way over his head as he inches closer and closer to becoming Saul.

Also Read: ‘Breaking Bad’: Anna Gunn Explains Why She’s Made Her Peace With All That Skyler Hate

And, of course, Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) is just as calm, collected and creepy as ever.

Here is the official description for the upcoming fourth season, per AMC:

In “Better Call Saul”s fourth season, Chuck’s death catalyzes Jimmy McGill’s transformation into Saul Goodman. In the wake of his loss, Jimmy takes steps into the criminal world that will put his future as a lawyer – and his relationship with Kim (Rhea Seehorn) – in jeopardy. Chuck’s (Michael McKean) death deeply affects former colleagues Howard (Patrick Fabian) and Kim as well, putting the two of them once again on opposite sides of a battle sparked by the Brothers McGill.

Meanwhile, Mike Ehrmantraut takes a more active role as Madrigal Electromotive’s newest (and most thorough) security consultant. It’s a volatile time to be in Gus Fring’s (Giancarlo Esposito) employ, as Hector’s collapse sends shock waves throughout the Albuquerque underworld and throws the cartel into chaos — tearing apart both Gus and Nacho’s (Michael Mando) well-laid plans. While Gus changes course, Nacho finds himself in the crosshairs of deadly forces.

Also Read: ‘Breaking Bad’ Creator Is ‘Desperately’ Trying to Figure Out How to Get Walt and Jesse on ‘Better Call Saul’

“Better Call Saul”  is executive produced by Peter Gould, Vince Gilligan, Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Thomas Schnauz and Gennifer Hutchison and hails from Sony Television.

Watch the teaser above.

“Better Call Saul” Season 4 premieres Monday, Aug. 6 at 9/8 c on AMC.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Bob Odenkirk Dreads Jimmy’s ‘Better Call Saul’ Transformation

‘Better Call Saul’ Season 4 Trailer: Jimmy Is Up to No Good, Gus Has Scores to Settle (Video)

‘Breaking Bad’ Creator Is ‘Desperately’ Trying to Figure Out How to Get Walt and Jesse on ‘Better Call Saul’

Another ‘Breaking Bad’ Character Is Coming to ‘Better Call Saul,’ Vince Gilligan Teases

As Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman once so eloquently put it on “Breaking Bad,” “When the going gets tough, you don’t want a criminal lawyer. You want a criminal lawyer, know what I’m sayin’?”

That was in “Better Call Saul,” the very first episode in which we introduced to Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and, based on a new teaser for Season 4 of AMC’s prequel series of the same name, it looks like we are finally about to see Jimmy McGill turn into that bad, bad attorney we all know and love.

The 1-minute clip, which is exclusive to TheWrap, opens on an unemployed Jimmy, mourning at his brother Chuck’s (Michael McKean) funeral. The attorney is hoping to get back on his feet and be gainfully employed in a few months, but he’s gotta make some dough first. That’s when he starts casing joints and working overtime to convince Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) to team up on a job. Next thing you know, Jimmy is sporting a purple tracksuit and appears to be in way over his head as he inches closer and closer to becoming Saul.

And, of course, Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) is just as calm, collected and creepy as ever.

Here is the official description for the upcoming fourth season, per AMC:

In “Better Call Saul”s fourth season, Chuck’s death catalyzes Jimmy McGill’s transformation into Saul Goodman. In the wake of his loss, Jimmy takes steps into the criminal world that will put his future as a lawyer – and his relationship with Kim (Rhea Seehorn) – in jeopardy. Chuck’s (Michael McKean) death deeply affects former colleagues Howard (Patrick Fabian) and Kim as well, putting the two of them once again on opposite sides of a battle sparked by the Brothers McGill.

Meanwhile, Mike Ehrmantraut takes a more active role as Madrigal Electromotive’s newest (and most thorough) security consultant. It’s a volatile time to be in Gus Fring’s (Giancarlo Esposito) employ, as Hector’s collapse sends shock waves throughout the Albuquerque underworld and throws the cartel into chaos — tearing apart both Gus and Nacho’s (Michael Mando) well-laid plans. While Gus changes course, Nacho finds himself in the crosshairs of deadly forces.

“Better Call Saul”  is executive produced by Peter Gould, Vince Gilligan, Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Thomas Schnauz and Gennifer Hutchison and hails from Sony Television.

Watch the teaser above.

“Better Call Saul” Season 4 premieres Monday, Aug. 6 at 9/8 c on AMC.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Bob Odenkirk Dreads Jimmy's 'Better Call Saul' Transformation

'Better Call Saul' Season 4 Trailer: Jimmy Is Up to No Good, Gus Has Scores to Settle (Video)

'Breaking Bad' Creator Is 'Desperately' Trying to Figure Out How to Get Walt and Jesse on 'Better Call Saul'

Another 'Breaking Bad' Character Is Coming to 'Better Call Saul,' Vince Gilligan Teases

‘Dear White People’: Creator Justin Simien on Season 2’s Surprising Cameos and Making that Most Meta Scene Happen

Simien also reveals how right-wing pundits and “Into the Woods” were major inspirations for the new season.

[Editor’s note: The following article contains spoilers for “Dear White People” Season 2.]

In a season full of emotional highs and lows, perhaps the absolute peak of “Dear White People” Season 2 (or Volume 2, depending on who you talk to) came in Episode 10, when Samantha White met… Samantha White.

Well, only on a meta level, but it was still surreal in the best way to see Sam (Logan Browning) confront right-wing talk show pundit Rikki Carter (Tessa Thompson) just before Rikki’s big speech at Winchester University. This is because Thompson had originated the role of Sam White in the film version of “Dear White People,” adding an extra layer of context that, creator Justin Simien told IndieWire, was quite deliberate.

“I always loved the idea of acknowledging that the cast changed in some way,” he said. “I like to tie up all my loose ends and so I wanted to do something meta.”

According to Simien, the idea for the character came before the idea to have Thompson play her. “I was fascinated by the idea of the model minority, advocating against themselves,” he said. “It was a theme that kept coming up, and I thought that was really interesting. [James] Baldwin, of course — I always quote him — has a quote about how oppression doesn’t necessarily even have to come from the oppressor, if it’s done right. You just have to do it to yourself. I just thought that was interesting, and so we were coming up with different versions.”

From the inspiration point of “What would it be like if an Ann Coulter-type person came to Winchester?” came Simien’s feeling that “the more interesting version would be if she was a black woman, a woman of color.” Which led him to think of Thompson, with whom he still shared a “mutual love” in his words.

To get Thompson on set, the “Dear White People” team had to negotiate with HBO, as she was a series regular on “Westworld” at the time, but they were able to shoot with her for, according to Simien, about a day-and-a-half. That left no time for rehearsals on any of her scenes, though it wasn’t too much of an issue for Simien (who directed Episode 10).

“Logan and Tessa are both craftsmen, as well as artists,” he said. “So once they started, it was there. It was just my job to help mold it, get out of the way sometimes, and film it well. But, the two of them literally could just recite the phone book back and forth, and it would be the most compelling thing you’ve ever seen.”

It’s hardly a list of names and numbers, though — the scene itself is a fascinating one for both characters but especially Sam, because as Simien put it, “I think Sam is terrified of being stuck in this character she’s created for herself. Even though it comes from a real place, and she does care about these issues, does she care about them all the time? Is she a 10 all the time? Is she the person people expect her to be all the time? Because to be that person would essentially be to become Rikki, maybe a Rikki on a different ideological spectrum, but Rikki nonetheless.”

DEAR WHITE PEOPLE Season 2 Logan Browning

Added Simien, “I think what strikes [Sam] is the dichotomy between who Rikki pretends to be and who Rikki is. I think anyone who thinks of themselves as a brand and not a person has to face that day. Which one of these people am I? Because people don’t stay the same. We’re always changing. We’re always tastes and interests and whatever it might be, we’re always changing, so, but brands don’t change. They stay the same, so there’s always that tension. Especially people who’ve been at it for years. People you love, you see them on-screen and you see them off-screen, and they’re more and more different the longer and longer it goes.”

The scene was shot late at night, due to scheduling constraints, which adds a notable edge. “I wanted it to almost feel like a glitch in the Matrix,” Simien said. “The two Sams, talking to each other. We’re not as surreal as, say, ‘Atlanta,’ but I wanted the surreal moment, when it was them in darkness, except for the color green, which symbolizes a bunch of things this season,” he said. “We sort of wanted them to feel like they were in a sunken place of some kind.”

The character of Rikki also opened the show up to discussing the current game being played by her and her real-life counterparts in the media, which comedian Michelle Wolf recently called out at the White House Correspondents Dinner. “More power to her for doing that, because it is a trap,” Simien said. “We have to do this story so that we get the rating so that we get the clicks, and all that stuff, it’s not doing what news is supposed to do, which is to educate the electorate. That’s what news I supposed to do. It’s not doing that. It’s entertaining the electorate, but it’s pretending to be information, because it’s not. It’s actually entertainment. It’s not based in reality.”

As Simien observed, “When you sit and watch the news, and it’s really just two sides of talking heads, who are but paid to show up and argue their point, and not actually have a discussion, I have no idea what the merit of that is supposed to be. It doesn’t do anything. It does not inform anyone. It doesn’t move any argument or discussion forward. Literally, these are two people being paid to not. It’s like watching boxing. What is the point? I don’t get it. I really don’t.”

Thompson wasn’t the only notable cameo of the season — Lena Waithe’s appearances in Season 2 had been common knowledge prior to the show’s premiere — but perhaps the most surprising moment of the season came at the very end, as Giancarlo Esposito, the previously unidentified narrator of the series, stepped out of the shadows to reveal himself as part of a secret society Sam and Lionel (DeRon Horton) had been trying to track down.

Esposito’s schedule wasn’t easy to work out either — he’s a series regular on “Better Call Saul,” among other roles — but “he is just such a joy to work with. [He’s] a true, genuine fan of the show.” In fact, Simien shared that he does the temp narration for each episode, and when Esposito watches the early cuts, “he’s got the best laugh. And as he’s listening to the narration, he’s, like, ‘oh-ho-ho, wonderful.’ I mean, he is just the best.”

Simien said that the idea to make Esposito’s narrator (whoever he might be) an on-screen presence came at some point during the making of Season 1. “Honestly, it probably comes from how much ‘Into the Woods’ meant to me when I saw it as a kid,” he said, referring to the Stephen Sondheim musical which plays with fairy tale tropes. “Just the embrace of traditional narrative, while also simultaneously deconstructing it.”

Though technically, the roots of the idea go back even further. “Even from the beginning, I never wanted it to be a straightforward narrator. We made fun of the fact that we have a narrator, ’cause it’s such a common TV cliché. It’s such a crutch. I don’t want to use a narrator as a crutch, so I thought the more interesting way to do it was to have him be a part of the story, which you never really expect. In fact, the person telling you the story is just as important to consider as the story you’re being told, and this season has everything to do with what’s really true, and is what I’ve been told the truth and what is being hidden from me. I just felt it was a really great subconscious way to just hammer that on home, as a last beat of the season.”

“Dear White People” Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.

Giancarlo Esposito’s ‘Westworld’ Cameo Was Such a Big Secret He Couldn’t Even Tell Evan Rachel Wood

(Major spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen “Reunion,” Sunday’s episode of “Westworld” Season 2.)

Yes, Evan Rachel Wood, that was Giancarlo Esposito hanging out on the set of “Westworld.” We’re sorry you had to find out this way. But hopefully the performance the “Breaking Bad’ star gave as El Lazo on Sunday’s episode is more than enough to help make up for that white lie he told you last year.

“Being on the set was the most difficult [part],” Esposito told TheWrap in an interview about his cameo Wednesday. “Just to stay in my trailer and not really show my face — be cool about my presence there while I was shooting — was one of the things I had to be conscious of because there were a lot of extras, a lot of actors who clearly I know, and I respect, who just wanted everyone to know, ‘He’s with us out here.’ But after shooting and knowing that the scene had gone so very well, I was really actually even more excited about no one knowing.”

Also Read: ‘Westworld’ Star Clifton Collins Jr on Becoming That ‘Faithful Sidekick’ for Ed Harris in Season 2

In the episode, titled “Reunion,” Esposito plays El Lazo — the head of a gang of outlaws in the hedonistic Westworld town of Pariah — who the Man in Black (Ed Harris) comes to for assistance while looking for “The Door” that the deceased Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) is teasing him with in a new game. The MIB brought along host Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr) as his new sidekick, which made Esposito’s scene all the more entertaining to watch, as Lawrence played the character El Lazo in the park in another life.

And, of course, an impressive scene makes it even more impressive that it remained a secret.

As of Wednesday, Esposito said, with a laugh, that he still didn’t “know what anyone knows!” And he confessed he had to be pretty shady around the “Westworld” cast to keep his cameo on the DL — including Dolores Abernathy herself.

Also Read: ‘Westworld’ Season 2: Yes, There’s a New Set of Timelines – Here’s How to Keep Them Straight

“So then I got really excited,” Esposito said. “I was at a party for the Emmys and some of the other actors from the show were there who I had not seen on the days that I was shooting. They said, ‘Oh, you were on our show!’ And I went, ‘Nooo, not me.’ And Evan Rachel [sic] [laughs]. And I said, ‘But it’s nice to meet you.’ ‘No, you were on our show! No, we were doing a scene at the other location and we were waiting for Sir Anthony Hopkins to come out of your trailer, because he’s such a big fan and he wanted to see you.’”

“And I said, ‘Nooo, I don’t think so. I think you must be mistaken’ — and they bought it!” Esposito said, laughing. “Actors who are on the show, who were there on another hill the day I was there! And I was just very excited about even trying to fool them. It gets to be a bit of a game and it’s fun when you think about it.”

Pausing here for a minute because, yes, you read that right: Hopkins — whose character died at the end of Season 1 — was on set when Esposito was there filming for the current installment.

Also Read: ‘Westworld’ Season 2 Premiere Ropes 2.1 Million Viewers

Earlier this week, HBO confirmed Hopkins had done voiceover work as Ford for last Sunday’s premiere, providing this statement from co-creator Jonathan Nolan to Uproxx about the actor’s involvement in Season 2:

“When available Anthony Hopkins graciously lent his vocal performance for our flashbacks.”

The premium cabler had no additional comment about Hopkins’ presence on set when reached by TheWrap.

OK, back to Esposito, who said landing this gig was “kind of an inside deal.”

“Well you know, I’ve been doing this show called ‘Better Call Saul’ [laughs],” Esposito said of his work on the “Breaking Bad” prequel series. “I was doing that show, and my guess is that most of it is, this is another top of the heap, an A-listed show.” Esposito said the AMC drama’s producers were approached by “Westworld” showrunners Nolan and Lisa Joy about a cameo, and that was that.

Also Read: ‘Westworld’: Every Sad or Confused Face James Marsden Made in the Season 2 Premiere (Photos)

“All of a sudden I was on the phone with Jonathan and with Lisa and they were describing everything,” Esposito added. “And I was just like, ‘Oh, this world is a world I want to be a part of.’ It came kind of through the backdoor. Because I was told they were writing this character and they could think of no one to play it but me. But they weren’t sure it would happen. But everyone was so amenable and I loved the idea, so I said yes.”

Sadly, Esposito’s version of El Lazo was not long for this world, as his cameo lasted about 5 minutes before he and his crew all shot themselves in the head to force Harris’ character to play Ford’s game alone. But because he’s a host and could come back, we of course had to ask if he would come back.

“You know, I would love to, because I think for me it’s really about being able to have the tools,” Esposito said. “And I’m that kind of actor who when I think about the scene now in a different way, yes a very short period of time on screen, a lot of information to unpack — as you put it — and speak to. But I think this is what I love about the work I do. It’s really about the subject matter. It’s about how we grow from the story and are entertained by it and titillated by it.”

Also Read: ‘Westworld’ Season 2: It’s Gonna Get ‘Uncomfortable’ for Lee as Maeve’s ‘Unwilling Hostage’ (Video)

“So if I had the opportunity to come back, and particularly this scene and El Lazo,” he continued. “He’s a guy who has been someone else, and then he’s channeling Ford and a bigger piece of this whole story than I think anyone would ever imagine. So I would love to come back and sort of unpack that and see what that looks like. And wow, I think there are some surprises there to be had that would be really, really, exciting for the audience as well.”

“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9/8 c on HBO.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Westworld’ Star Clifton Collins Jr on Becoming That ‘Faithful Sidekick’ for Ed Harris in Season 2

‘Westworld’: Every Sad or Confused Face James Marsden Made in the Season 2 Premiere (Photos)

‘Westworld’ Season 2 Premiere Ropes 2.1 Million Viewers

‘Westworld’ Season 2: Yes, There’s a New Set of Timelines – Here’s How to Keep Them Straight

(Major spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen “Reunion,” Sunday’s episode of “Westworld” Season 2.)

Yes, Evan Rachel Wood, that was Giancarlo Esposito hanging out on the set of “Westworld.” We’re sorry you had to find out this way. But hopefully the performance the “Breaking Bad’ star gave as El Lazo on Sunday’s episode is more than enough to help make up for that white lie he told you last year.

“Being on the set was the most difficult [part],” Esposito told TheWrap in an interview about his cameo Wednesday. “Just to stay in my trailer and not really show my face — be cool about my presence there while I was shooting — was one of the things I had to be conscious of because there were a lot of extras, a lot of actors who clearly I know, and I respect, who just wanted everyone to know, ‘He’s with us out here.’ But after shooting and knowing that the scene had gone so very well, I was really actually even more excited about no one knowing.”

In the episode, titled “Reunion,” Esposito plays El Lazo — the head of a gang of outlaws in the hedonistic Westworld town of Pariah — who the Man in Black (Ed Harris) comes to for assistance while looking for “The Door” that the deceased Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) is teasing him with in a new game. The MIB brought along host Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr) as his new sidekick, which made Esposito’s scene all the more entertaining to watch, as Lawrence played the character El Lazo in the park in another life.

And, of course, an impressive scene makes it even more impressive that it remained a secret.

As of Wednesday, Esposito said, with a laugh, that he still didn’t “know what anyone knows!” And he confessed he had to be pretty shady around the “Westworld” cast to keep his cameo on the DL — including Dolores Abernathy herself.

“So then I got really excited,” Esposito said. “I was at a party for the Emmys and some of the other actors from the show were there who I had not seen on the days that I was shooting. They said, ‘Oh, you were on our show!’ And I went, ‘Nooo, not me.’ And Evan Rachel [sic] [laughs]. And I said, ‘But it’s nice to meet you.’ ‘No, you were on our show! No, we were doing a scene at the other location and we were waiting for Sir Anthony Hopkins to come out of your trailer, because he’s such a big fan and he wanted to see you.'”

“And I said, ‘Nooo, I don’t think so. I think you must be mistaken’ — and they bought it!” Esposito said, laughing. “Actors who are on the show, who were there on another hill the day I was there! And I was just very excited about even trying to fool them. It gets to be a bit of a game and it’s fun when you think about it.”

Pausing here for a minute because, yes, you read that right: Hopkins — whose character died at the end of Season 1 — was on set when Esposito was there filming for the current installment.

Earlier this week, HBO confirmed Hopkins had done voiceover work as Ford for last Sunday’s premiere, providing this statement from co-creator Jonathan Nolan to Uproxx about the actor’s involvement in Season 2:

“When available Anthony Hopkins graciously lent his vocal performance for our flashbacks.”

The premium cabler had no additional comment about Hopkins’ presence on set when reached by TheWrap.

OK, back to Esposito, who said landing this gig was “kind of an inside deal.”

“Well you know, I’ve been doing this show called ‘Better Call Saul’ [laughs],” Esposito said of his work on the “Breaking Bad” prequel series. “I was doing that show, and my guess is that most of it is, this is another top of the heap, an A-listed show.” Esposito said the AMC drama’s producers were approached by “Westworld” showrunners Nolan and Lisa Joy about a cameo, and that was that.

“All of a sudden I was on the phone with Jonathan and with Lisa and they were describing everything,” Esposito added. “And I was just like, ‘Oh, this world is a world I want to be a part of.’ It came kind of through the backdoor. Because I was told they were writing this character and they could think of no one to play it but me. But they weren’t sure it would happen. But everyone was so amenable and I loved the idea, so I said yes.”

Sadly, Esposito’s version of El Lazo was not long for this world, as his cameo lasted about 5 minutes before he and his crew all shot themselves in the head to force Harris’ character to play Ford’s game alone. But because he’s a host and could come back, we of course had to ask if he would come back.

“You know, I would love to, because I think for me it’s really about being able to have the tools,” Esposito said. “And I’m that kind of actor who when I think about the scene now in a different way, yes a very short period of time on screen, a lot of information to unpack — as you put it — and speak to. But I think this is what I love about the work I do. It’s really about the subject matter. It’s about how we grow from the story and are entertained by it and titillated by it.”

“So if I had the opportunity to come back, and particularly this scene and El Lazo,” he continued. “He’s a guy who has been someone else, and then he’s channeling Ford and a bigger piece of this whole story than I think anyone would ever imagine. So I would love to come back and sort of unpack that and see what that looks like. And wow, I think there are some surprises there to be had that would be really, really, exciting for the audience as well.”

“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9/8 c on HBO.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Westworld' Star Clifton Collins Jr on Becoming That 'Faithful Sidekick' for Ed Harris in Season 2

'Westworld': Every Sad or Confused Face James Marsden Made in the Season 2 Premiere (Photos)

'Westworld' Season 2 Premiere Ropes 2.1 Million Viewers

'Westworld' Season 2: Yes, There's a New Set of Timelines – Here's How to Keep Them Straight

Dylan O’Brien’s ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ Starts Box Office Race With $1.5 Million Thursday

“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” grossed $1.5 million during Thursday previews, on its way to a $20 million opening weekend.

In comparison, the first “Maze Runner” raked in $1.1 million before it scored an opening weekend of $32.5 million. The sequel, “The Scorch Trials,” earned $1.7 million and went on to gross $30 million its debut weekend.

“Death Cure” is expected to earn around $20 million this weekend. The third installment in the franchise was supposed to open a year ago but was delayed due to lead actor Dylan O’Brien’s injuries sustained during filming.

Also Read: ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ Film Review: Action Soars While the Story Bores

Wes Ball directed all three of the films.

“Death Cure” also stars Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Ki Hong Lee, Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo Esposito, Patricia Clarkson and Aidan Gillen. This time, Thomas and his Gladers must find a cure for the deadly disease known as the “Flare.” They travel to the WCKD headquarters to rescue their friends.

The film already had a great start overseas, where it has grossed a solid $18 million from international markets.

Christian Bale’s “Hostiles” is expanding to 2,800 theaters this weekend after it had a limited release on Dec. 22. Since then, the drama has grossed $1.8 million. Rosamund Pike, Ben Foster and Wes Studi also star in the film written and directed by Scott Cooper. It is expected to earn roughly $10 million this weekend.

Also Read: ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ Trailer Shows Dylan O’Brien Back on the Run (Video)

Dwayne Johnson’s “Jumanji” is still expected to have legs this weekend after taking the number one spot for the last four weekends in a row. The comedy, also starring Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas, has grossed a stellar $320.5 million domestically since its debut on Dec. 20.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘American Assassin’ Review: Dylan O’Brien Mostly Hits the Target as New Secret Agent

‘Maze Runner: Death Cure’ Delayed to 2018 as Dylan O’Brien Recovers From Injury

‘Maze Runner’ Sequel Production Remains Shut Down By Dylan O’Brien Injuries

“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” grossed $1.5 million during Thursday previews, on its way to a $20 million opening weekend.

In comparison, the first “Maze Runner” raked in $1.1 million before it scored an opening weekend of $32.5 million. The sequel, “The Scorch Trials,” earned $1.7 million and went on to gross $30 million its debut weekend.

“Death Cure” is expected to earn around $20 million this weekend. The third installment in the franchise was supposed to open a year ago but was delayed due to lead actor Dylan O’Brien’s injuries sustained during filming.

Wes Ball directed all three of the films.

“Death Cure” also stars Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Ki Hong Lee, Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo Esposito, Patricia Clarkson and Aidan Gillen. This time, Thomas and his Gladers must find a cure for the deadly disease known as the “Flare.” They travel to the WCKD headquarters to rescue their friends.

The film already had a great start overseas, where it has grossed a solid $18 million from international markets.

Christian Bale’s “Hostiles” is expanding to 2,800 theaters this weekend after it had a limited release on Dec. 22. Since then, the drama has grossed $1.8 million. Rosamund Pike, Ben Foster and Wes Studi also star in the film written and directed by Scott Cooper. It is expected to earn roughly $10 million this weekend.

Dwayne Johnson’s “Jumanji” is still expected to have legs this weekend after taking the number one spot for the last four weekends in a row. The comedy, also starring Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas, has grossed a stellar $320.5 million domestically since its debut on Dec. 20.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'American Assassin' Review: Dylan O'Brien Mostly Hits the Target as New Secret Agent

'Maze Runner: Death Cure' Delayed to 2018 as Dylan O'Brien Recovers From Injury

'Maze Runner' Sequel Production Remains Shut Down By Dylan O'Brien Injuries

‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ Film Review: Action Soars While the Story Bores

The third and final film in the “Maze Runner” series, subtitled “The Death Cure,” gets it half right as an action movie. The stunts, the explosions and the chases are all exciting and elaborately mounted; there’s just not much of a movie to go with them.

When it was announced that last chapter of the on-screen “Divergent” saga was going straight to live on a farm upstate — or, rather, directly to television — it seemed like we’d heard the last gasp of the once ubiquitous, now exhausted YA genre. But no, here comes “The Death Cure” to pound the final nail in the coffin of teenage chosen ones fighting zombies in a post-apocalyptic dystopia. Goodbye, and good riddance.

“The Death Cure” provides no exposition or title cards up front to bring you up to speed if you missed the previous chapters or if, like me, you saw them but can scarcely remember the slightest detail about them, apart from a maze and some running. Nonetheless, we’re plunged right into the first of several splashy stunts, wherein a plucky band of rebels hijack a train, capture a futuristic fighter plane and liberate several dozen pre-adolescents.

Watch Video: ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ Trailer Shows Dylan O’Brien Back on the Run

That this entire operation involves the train, the plane and various feckless bad-guy soldiers winding up in exactly the right place at exactly the right time is the least of the film’s concerns. The one detail that Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his cohorts miss is getting the train car that contains their friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”); realizing his mistake, Thomas wants to try another rescue mission, even though it will take him and his friends into the heart of “the last city,” a walled stronghold controlled by the wicked WCKD corporation, which has been attempting to use all of these untainted teens to wipe out the virus that’s turned most of the planet into half-dead bloodsuckers.

For those who have been paying attention and have any emotional investment, “The Death Cure” brings back some surprise characters, offers redemption to some (if not all) of the villains and winds up with an emotional coda that pays tribute to the brothers- and sisters-in-arms lost along the way. And we know it’s emotional because the score by John Paesano (“The Star”) keeps whipping us in the face with tear-jerking semaphore flags.

Also Read: ‘Maze Runner: Death Cure’ Delayed to 2018 as Dylan O’Brien Recovers From Injury

For everyone else, there’s the action, and it’s here where “The Death Cure” makes its strongest case for existence. There are cranes and buses and explosions and shoot-outs and hand-to-hand battles and invasions and demolitions, and they’re all delivered with a verve that is otherwise missing.

Director Wes Ball’s entire feature output has been these “Maze Runner” movies, and he definitely seems to have been learning on the job. He (and a no doubt very talented second unit) teams with editors Paul Harb (“The Expendables 3”) and Dan Zimmerman (“The Dark Tower”) and a top-flight visual effects crew to jolt the movie back to life every 15 or 20 minutes with another thrilling sequence.

Watch Video: Tyler Hoechlin, Colton Haynes and Dylan O’Brien Return for ‘Teen Wolf’ Final Episodes

In between, alas, T.S. Nowlin (“Phoenix Forgotten”), adapting James Dashner’s novel, mostly goes through the YA motions. The plot is so by-the-numbers and the dialogue so forgettable that the talented cast of character actors – including Lee, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Patricia Clarkson, Giancarlo Esposito, series newcomer Walton Goggins, and one more who can’t be mentioned since it’s a spoiler – seem to be mainly biding their time until a more interesting and possibly less lucrative project comes along.

As for O’Brien and co-star Kaya Scodelario, they’ve been reduced to beautiful blanks over the course of this entire series. If it turns out that they have a post-YA resurgence along the lines of what Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have achieved since “Twilight,” more power to them.

The world of “Maze Runner” was never particularly unique or interesting. The best thing that “The Death Cure” does is blow it up spectacularly.



Related stories from TheWrap:

Patricia Clarkson to Star in Gillian Flynn’s HBO Drama ‘Sharp Objects’

Patricia Clarkson on Hollywood Sexism: ‘A White Male Actor Should Never Be Allowed to Complain About Anything’

Walton Goggins Closes Deal to Join ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’

‘Maze Runner’ Stars Send Well Wishes to Dylan O’Brien, Slam TMZ

The third and final film in the “Maze Runner” series, subtitled “The Death Cure,” gets it half right as an action movie. The stunts, the explosions and the chases are all exciting and elaborately mounted; there’s just not much of a movie to go with them.

When it was announced that last chapter of the on-screen “Divergent” saga was going straight to live on a farm upstate — or, rather, directly to television — it seemed like we’d heard the last gasp of the once ubiquitous, now exhausted YA genre. But no, here comes “The Death Cure” to pound the final nail in the coffin of teenage chosen ones fighting zombies in a post-apocalyptic dystopia. Goodbye, and good riddance.

“The Death Cure” provides no exposition or title cards up front to bring you up to speed if you missed the previous chapters or if, like me, you saw them but can scarcely remember the slightest detail about them, apart from a maze and some running. Nonetheless, we’re plunged right into the first of several splashy stunts, wherein a plucky band of rebels hijack a train, capture a futuristic fighter plane and liberate several dozen pre-adolescents.

That this entire operation involves the train, the plane and various feckless bad-guy soldiers winding up in exactly the right place at exactly the right time is the least of the film’s concerns. The one detail that Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his cohorts miss is getting the train car that contains their friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”); realizing his mistake, Thomas wants to try another rescue mission, even though it will take him and his friends into the heart of “the last city,” a walled stronghold controlled by the wicked WCKD corporation, which has been attempting to use all of these untainted teens to wipe out the virus that’s turned most of the planet into half-dead bloodsuckers.

For those who have been paying attention and have any emotional investment, “The Death Cure” brings back some surprise characters, offers redemption to some (if not all) of the villains and winds up with an emotional coda that pays tribute to the brothers- and sisters-in-arms lost along the way. And we know it’s emotional because the score by John Paesano (“The Star”) keeps whipping us in the face with tear-jerking semaphore flags.

For everyone else, there’s the action, and it’s here where “The Death Cure” makes its strongest case for existence. There are cranes and buses and explosions and shoot-outs and hand-to-hand battles and invasions and demolitions, and they’re all delivered with a verve that is otherwise missing.

Director Wes Ball’s entire feature output has been these “Maze Runner” movies, and he definitely seems to have been learning on the job. He (and a no doubt very talented second unit) teams with editors Paul Harb (“The Expendables 3”) and Dan Zimmerman (“The Dark Tower”) and a top-flight visual effects crew to jolt the movie back to life every 15 or 20 minutes with another thrilling sequence.

In between, alas, T.S. Nowlin (“Phoenix Forgotten”), adapting James Dashner’s novel, mostly goes through the YA motions. The plot is so by-the-numbers and the dialogue so forgettable that the talented cast of character actors – including Lee, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Patricia Clarkson, Giancarlo Esposito, series newcomer Walton Goggins, and one more who can’t be mentioned since it’s a spoiler – seem to be mainly biding their time until a more interesting and possibly less lucrative project comes along.

As for O’Brien and co-star Kaya Scodelario, they’ve been reduced to beautiful blanks over the course of this entire series. If it turns out that they have a post-YA resurgence along the lines of what Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have achieved since “Twilight,” more power to them.

The world of “Maze Runner” was never particularly unique or interesting. The best thing that “The Death Cure” does is blow it up spectacularly.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Patricia Clarkson to Star in Gillian Flynn's HBO Drama 'Sharp Objects'

Patricia Clarkson on Hollywood Sexism: 'A White Male Actor Should Never Be Allowed to Complain About Anything'

Walton Goggins Closes Deal to Join 'Ant-Man and The Wasp'

'Maze Runner' Stars Send Well Wishes to Dylan O'Brien, Slam TMZ

‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ Trailer Shows Dylan O’Brien Back on the Run (Video)

Dylan O’Brien’s Thomas is back on the run — and firing guns and leaping between moving vehicles — in the action-packed trailer for next year’s “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.”

Director Wes Ball’s final installment in the adaptation of James Dashner’s best-selling YA sci-fi series was delayed for more than a year by the on-set injury of “Teen Wolf” star O’Brien while shooting a stunt in March 2016.

In the epic finale to the “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all.

Also Read: Get First Look at Dylan O’Brien in Accident-Interrupted ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ (Photos)

Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze.

In addition to O’Brien, the new film stars Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Walton Goggins, Patricia Clarkson and Giancarlo Esposito.

The script is by T.S. Nowlin. Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Lee Stollman and Wes Ball produce.

Also Read: ‘American Assassin’ Review: Dylan O’Brien Mostly Hits the Target as New Secret Agent

Fox releases “Maze Runner: Death Cure” on Jan. 26, 2018.

Watch the trailer above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Get First Look at Dylan O’Brien in Accident-Interrupted ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ (Photos)

‘Maze Runner: Death Cure’ Delayed to 2018 as Dylan O’Brien Recovers From Injury

‘American Assassin’ Review: Dylan O’Brien Mostly Hits the Target as New Secret Agent

Dylan O’Brien’s Thomas is back on the run — and firing guns and leaping between moving vehicles — in the action-packed trailer for next year’s “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.”

Director Wes Ball’s final installment in the adaptation of James Dashner’s best-selling YA sci-fi series was delayed for more than a year by the on-set injury of “Teen Wolf” star O’Brien while shooting a stunt in March 2016.

In the epic finale to the “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all.

Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze.

In addition to O’Brien, the new film stars Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Walton Goggins, Patricia Clarkson and Giancarlo Esposito.

The script is by T.S. Nowlin. Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Lee Stollman and Wes Ball produce.

Fox releases “Maze Runner: Death Cure” on Jan. 26, 2018.

Watch the trailer above.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Get First Look at Dylan O'Brien in Accident-Interrupted 'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' (Photos)

'Maze Runner: Death Cure' Delayed to 2018 as Dylan O'Brien Recovers From Injury

'American Assassin' Review: Dylan O'Brien Mostly Hits the Target as New Secret Agent

John Stamos, Weird Al, and Finn Wolfhard walk into a Willy Wonka tribute concert…

Hot on the heels of bringing The Muppets back into the public consciousness with a recent live concert series, The Hollywood Bowl is set to give California-based nostalgics another hit of their drug of choice. Per Stereogum, the venue has just announced a new concert based on the 1971 kids’ classic Willy Wonka And The

Read more…

Hot on the heels of bringing The Muppets back into the public consciousness with a recent live concert series, The Hollywood Bowl is set to give California-based nostalgics another hit of their drug of choice. Per Stereogum, the venue has just announced a new concert based on the 1971 kids’ classic Willy Wonka And The

Read more...

Netflix’s ‘Okja’ Booed at Press Screening in Cannes

The early morning press screening of the Netflix film “Okja” was interrupted by boos and angry applause in the Palais des Festivals on Friday at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

The streaming service has divided film professionals at the festival, though it was unclear if the boos were because of a technical problem or because some oppose Netflix and Amazon being in competition, since their films debut on small screens rather than in theaters.

Update: A spokeswoman for the festival said a “mechanical problem” had interrupted the screening but was not more specific.

The screening of the movie, a competition entry directed by Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, was stopped after 10 minutes, according to TheWrap’s Steve Pond who was present. The Netflix logo was booed, and then a large group mostly in balcony seats booed, hooted, and did rhythmic clapping through the opening scene, forcing the festival to stop the screening.

Also Read: Cannes, Day 2: Mixed Praise for ‘Wonderstruck’; Sandra Bullock’s ‘Cash’ Grab; First ‘Okja’ Trailer

The screening continued after the interruption. It was not entirely clear that the boos were in protest of Netflix, but they came as the Netflix logo appeared on screen and into the opening scene of the film, which stars Tilda Swinton.

Cannes audiences are notoriously opinionated and often show their reactions at screenings.

Netflix has two films in competition, “Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories.” French exhibitors are angry that the festival accepted films that do not have a theatrical release first, and consider Netflix a threat to the established order of large-screen filmgoing.

READ MORE

See Tilda Swinton’s latest POWER MOVE.

PowerRank:

692

The issue has even divided the Cannes jury. Jury President Pedro Almodovar seemed to rule out voting for either of the Netflix films at the opening press conference for the festival this week, while another jury member, Will Smith, defended streaming movies.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Okja’ Star Tilda Swinton CannesWrap Exclusive Portraits (Photos)

Cannes Film Festival 2017: 20 Most Intriguing Movies, From ‘The Beguiled’ to ‘Okja’ (Photos)

‘Okja’ Teaser Reteams Tilda Swinton With ‘Snowpiercer’ Director for Visionary Adventure (Video)

The early morning press screening of the Netflix film “Okja” was interrupted by boos and angry applause in the Palais des Festivals on Friday at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

The streaming service has divided film professionals at the festival, though it was unclear if the boos were because of a technical problem or because some oppose Netflix and Amazon being in competition, since their films debut on small screens rather than in theaters.

Update: A spokeswoman for the festival said a “mechanical problem” had interrupted the screening but was not more specific.

The screening of the movie, a competition entry directed by Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, was stopped after 10 minutes, according to TheWrap’s Steve Pond who was present. The Netflix logo was booed, and then a large group mostly in balcony seats booed, hooted, and did rhythmic clapping through the opening scene, forcing the festival to stop the screening.

The screening continued after the interruption. It was not entirely clear that the boos were in protest of Netflix, but they came as the Netflix logo appeared on screen and into the opening scene of the film, which stars Tilda Swinton.

Cannes audiences are notoriously opinionated and often show their reactions at screenings.

Netflix has two films in competition, “Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories.” French exhibitors are angry that the festival accepted films that do not have a theatrical release first, and consider Netflix a threat to the established order of large-screen filmgoing.

READ MORE

See Tilda Swinton's latest POWER MOVE.

PowerRank:

692

The issue has even divided the Cannes jury. Jury President Pedro Almodovar seemed to rule out voting for either of the Netflix films at the opening press conference for the festival this week, while another jury member, Will Smith, defended streaming movies.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Okja' Star Tilda Swinton CannesWrap Exclusive Portraits (Photos)

Cannes Film Festival 2017: 20 Most Intriguing Movies, From 'The Beguiled' to 'Okja' (Photos)

'Okja' Teaser Reteams Tilda Swinton With 'Snowpiercer' Director for Visionary Adventure (Video)

‘Better Call Saul’s Giancarlo Esposito Promises “A Gus You’ve Never Seen Before” – The Contenders Emmys Video

“I’m honored to be coming back to a cast, a new cast and some older cast of really stellar actors, but primarily I’m back thinking in a new way of a Gus you’ve never seen before,” Giancarlo Esposito says of his ruthless Breaking Bad drug lord character that is joining Better Call Saul for the prequel’s third season.
Along with a surprise onstage visit from Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, Esposito was speaking during Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event last month at…

"I'm honored to be coming back to a cast, a new cast and some older cast of really stellar actors, but primarily I'm back thinking in a new way of a Gus you've never seen before," Giancarlo Esposito says of his ruthless Breaking Bad drug lord character that is joining Better Call Saul for the prequel’s third season. Along with a surprise onstage visit from Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, Esposito was speaking during Deadline's The Contenders Emmys event last month at…

‘Better Call Saul’ Review: It’s Strategy Versus Will in an Episode of Showdowns

Season 3 Episode 4, “Sabrosito” is all about the long game, on both the legal and less legal sides. 

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Better Call Saul’ Review: The Details Matter Most in A Tale of Two Schemes

Case Summary

Been saying to yourself, “When are we going to get more Gus?” Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, in  Episode 4, more than deliver. First, we get a look at how Gus’s operation, once upon a time, would way outperform the Salamancas. Then, in the present (the show’s primary present, anyway), the dick-measuring continues as Don Hector swans into the Albuquerque Los Pollos Hermanos to demand that Gus start moving his product (thanks to Mike’s work last week sabotaging the Salamanca distribution system).

But Gus does not seem dissatisfied with this turn of events — which is echoed by Jimmy and Kim’s own planning in preparation for Jimmy’s hearing over the legal matter that could get him disbarred. Enlisting Mike to get some extra intel on Chuck’s living situation is something we’ll see pay off in a future episode, certainly; what are the photos and “the other thing” for remains unknown. (Though an easy guess is that they plan to challenge Chuck’s basic competency, when this matter reaches the New Mexico Bar Association.) In the end, there were a lot of seeming triumphs this week for everyone we like — though how exactly that shakes out remains to be seen.

Remembering What Hasn’t Happened Yet (The “Breaking Bad” Tie-In)

We not only get reacquainted (for the first time) with Don Eladio, but we meet him at the fateful patio where Gus threw the worst pool party ever during “Breaking Bad” Season 4. There’s a clear rivalry being set up between Gus and Hector, but the question isn’t how it will resolve (after all, we have our answer). The real question is what happened, during this time period, that ended the rivalry with Gus a powerful shadow master, and Hector paralyzed in a wheelchair.

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler - Better Call Saul _ Season 3, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Lady Sings the Blues

This is really, really important — straight-arrow Kim, the show’s one shining symbol of ethical behavior, operated this week on a whole other level. She knew exactly what she was doing when she figured out what handyman would be coming to Chuck’s house, and what she was doing when she canceled the appointment. She’s playing Jimmy’s game now, like she never has before, and it has us more worried about her than ever.

Kim might have called her reasoning for helping Jimmy “sunk costs” last week, but it also looks a lot like love. The kind of love that’s powerful enough to ruin a life. But right now, she’s striding out with confidence, side by side with Jimmy….

Again, we are worried about Kim.

Brotherly Love

Speaking of love (or the lack thereof), the way Jimmy and Chuck’s big confrontation played pretty much how we might have predicted it — with Chuck maintaining his petty, letter-of-the-law approach, and Jimmy calmly accepting that punishment (because there’s more going on than Chuck knows). “Could you at least look your brother in the eye?” ADA Kyra Hay (played by “Vice Principals” star Kimberly Hebert Gregory, if you were wondering why you recognized her) asks at one point. It’s the toughest question of the episode for both men, because their relationship is not damaged. It’s broken.

Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo "Gus" Fring; group†- Better Call Saul _ Season 3, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Gus Watch

Real talk: Gustavo Fring might be, to the best of our knowledge, a cold-blooded sociopathic criminal and murderer. But he also genuinely seems like the best boss…at least, if you’re not making drugs for him. The way in which he seems to actively care for the employees of Los Pollos Hermanos is just one of the ways this show lets the humanity of its characters peek through, creating yet another nuance worth appreciating.

“It’s From a Movie!”

We couldn’t quite identify the movie that Mike watches over at Stacey’s house (which we learn is new — Mike once again protecting the ones he loves). But Kaylee gets a lot of granddaughter points for watching what was clearly an older film with no animation, songs or princesses. Just another example of the real and genuine love that exists between Mike and the family he has left.

Best Quote

“This is America. Here, the righteous have no reason to fear.”
— Gus Fring

Wow, that line. A beautiful sentiment in the early 2000s. Perhaps more believable even just a year ago. And in the present day… Wow. Here’s the fascinating thing — I think Gus actually believes in this, the immigrant’s dream, the belief in America’s promise.

In Conclusion, Your Honor

Just a really quick note: From its first introduction, IndieWire has always translated El Griego Guiñador, the Salamanca ice cream shop, as “The Winking Greek.” People told us we were wrong, that it was really “The Winking Gringo.” But tonight’s subtitles, in the opening scene, proved us right. And yeah, we’re going to take a moment to gloat.

Meanwhile, this wasn’t the most exciting “Saul” installment, with multiple storylines focused on set-up over actual story (the series’ one major weakness, due to its love of the long game). But between the character moments we got, and the extra emphasis on Gus’s earlier days as a player in the cartel, it was hardly a wasted hour.

Grade: B+

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‘Better Call Saul’ Teaser: Gus Fring Explains Proper Employee Behavior at Los Pollos Hermanos — Watch

Season 3 of the “Breaking Bad” prequel premieres April 10.

Gus Fring is back! The owner of the chicken joint/drug front Los Pollos Hermanos — whom we last saw terrorizing Walter White on “Breaking Bad” — is making a return in season 3 of the series’ prequel, “Better Call Saul.”

READ MORE: Bryan Cranston Visits the Set of ‘Better Call Saul,’ Jokes That He’s Playing a ‘Geriatric Patient’

AMC has released a new teaser featuring Gus (Giancarlo Esposito). In the video, dressed in his signature crisp yellow shirt and black tie, Gus introduces a 10-week online seminar and explains proper employee behavior at Los Pollos Hermanos. “Each and every day we serve our customers exceptional food with impeccable service,” says Gus in the video. But, as “Breaking Bad” fans know, the restaurant chain also runs as a money-laundering business and drug-smuggling operation.

READ MORE: ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 3 Review: As One of TV’s Greatest Dramas Evolves, Characters Inch Closer to ‘Breaking Bad’

Created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the AMC original crime drama series stars Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael McKean, Patrick Fabien and Rhea Seehorn. Season 3 of “Better Call Saul” premieres Monday, April 10 at 10pm. Check out the teaser below.

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‘Better Call Saul’: Don’t Work for Gus Fring After This Los Pollos Hermanos Training Video

Gustavo “Gus” Fring was one of the standout villains from “Breaking Bad.” He was connected, calculating, manipulative, and really good at hiding his meth side business. So of course he’s the star of a new series of videos promoting “Better Call Saul” Season 3 — and his fast-food chain, Los Pollos Hermanos.

The network is teaming up with Acura to sponsor a series of weekly training videos hosted by Fring (played by Giancarlo Esposito) that will let fans imagine what it’s like to work for Fring — at his legitimate business, that is. You can watch the video above.

As with Fring himself, things are going to be just a little off.

Also Read: TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch Right Now, From ‘OITNB’ to ‘Better Call Saul’ (Photos)

First of all, in order to work for Los Pollos Hermanos, you need to complete a 10-week online seminar, which is insane for any company, especially a fast food restaurant.  Secondly, Fring drops a number of references to his time on “Breaking Bad,” including mentioning his side business and noting how someone is “always watching.”

It’s a small glimpse of the Fring we know, even if in “Better Call Saul,” which is a prequel to “Breaking Bad,” he’s at a different stage in life.

AMC has been heavily teasing Fring’s return. One Season 3 teaser heavily featured Gus and his brand in a fake commercial, but didn’t include many nods to his role on “Breaking Bad.”

Also Read: Better Call Saul: Gus Fring Expands ‘Breaking Bad’ Chicken Chain With L.A. Pop-Up (Video)

The Los Pollos Hermanos brand is also getting a push. The recently held a one-day pop-up restaurant in Los Angeles, where fans could enjoy curly fries at a perfectly replicated version of the restaurant.

“Better Call Saul” returns Monday, April 10 at 10/9c. 

Related stories from TheWrap:

Better Call Saul: Gus Fring Expands ‘Breaking Bad’ Chicken Chain With L.A. Pop-Up (Video)

‘Better Call Saul’ Season 3: What We Know So Far (Photos)

Gus Fring Returns in ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 3 Teaser (Video)

‘Better Call Saul’ Star Bob Odenkirk Teases Season 3: ‘Innocence Gets Torn Away’ (Video)

Gustavo “Gus” Fring was one of the standout villains from “Breaking Bad.” He was connected, calculating, manipulative, and really good at hiding his meth side business. So of course he’s the star of a new series of videos promoting “Better Call Saul” Season 3 — and his fast-food chain, Los Pollos Hermanos.

The network is teaming up with Acura to sponsor a series of weekly training videos hosted by Fring (played by Giancarlo Esposito) that will let fans imagine what it’s like to work for Fring — at his legitimate business, that is. You can watch the video above.

As with Fring himself, things are going to be just a little off.

First of all, in order to work for Los Pollos Hermanos, you need to complete a 10-week online seminar, which is insane for any company, especially a fast food restaurant.  Secondly, Fring drops a number of references to his time on “Breaking Bad,” including mentioning his side business and noting how someone is “always watching.”

It’s a small glimpse of the Fring we know, even if in “Better Call Saul,” which is a prequel to “Breaking Bad,” he’s at a different stage in life.

AMC has been heavily teasing Fring’s return. One Season 3 teaser heavily featured Gus and his brand in a fake commercial, but didn’t include many nods to his role on “Breaking Bad.”

The Los Pollos Hermanos brand is also getting a push. The recently held a one-day pop-up restaurant in Los Angeles, where fans could enjoy curly fries at a perfectly replicated version of the restaurant.

“Better Call Saul” returns Monday, April 10 at 10/9c. 

Related stories from TheWrap:

Better Call Saul: Gus Fring Expands 'Breaking Bad' Chicken Chain With L.A. Pop-Up (Video)

'Better Call Saul' Season 3: What We Know So Far (Photos)

Gus Fring Returns in 'Better Call Saul' Season 3 Teaser (Video)

'Better Call Saul' Star Bob Odenkirk Teases Season 3: 'Innocence Gets Torn Away' (Video)

SXSW Film Review: ‘This Is Your Death’

Would you watch a reality show in which contestants killed themselves live on air? The screenwriters of “This Is Your Death” think you would, and they’re deeply disappointed in you. And so, out of deep concern for both your entertainment and enlightenment, they have written a dark social satire — serviceably directed by “Breaking Bad”… Read more »

Would you watch a reality show in which contestants killed themselves live on air? The screenwriters of “This Is Your Death” think you would, and they’re deeply disappointed in you. And so, out of deep concern for both your entertainment and enlightenment, they have written a dark social satire — serviceably directed by “Breaking Bad”... Read more »

‘Better Call Saul’ Season 3: What We Know So Far (Photos)

“Better Call Saul” Season 3 returns April 10 to AMC. Here’s what we know about the new season so far.

The Chuck Problem remains

Season 2 ended with Chuck McGill (Michael McKean) catching his brother on tape admitting to an ethical transgression that could cost him his law license. In a preview of Season 3, we saw Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) and new law partner Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) discussing the Chuck Problem. “Crisis averted, I guess,” says Jimmy. “He’s back to being the same old Chuck.” It sounds like he doesn’t know Chuck has the goods on him… yet.

Jimmy and Kim’s partnership seems tense

Kim is taking on a lot of the workload in their new partnerships for reasons that remain unclear (are they related to The Chuck Problem?). She’s taking on more of the workload. “How ’bout we call it a day? I’ll… buy you some dinner?” he asks. She replies: “You’re kidding, right? You realize how far behind I am?” She references taking on some of his clients: “Don’t act like I wanted this.”

“Innocence gets torn away”

In an interview, Odenkirk gave TheWrap some insight into his character’s transformation from Jummy McGill into criminal lawyer Saul Goodman: “This season is gonna be about how innocence gets torn away. We learn that Saul is just who he’s pretending to be to get back at the world… Season 3 is when things will really explode.”

The Chicken Man is back

AMC announced Gus Fring’s return to the Breaking Bad Universe by having the actor who plays him, Giancarlo Esposito, hand out chicken to reporters at a press conference. It’s a safe bet that he was also the one who stopped Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) from carrying out an assassination at the end of Season 2.

Gus will be “a little fresher”

Esposito said in a recent interview that since “Better Call Saul” takes place before “Breaking Bad,” Fring will be “a different guy. He’s a little fresher, a little less jaded. … I wanted him to be little more hopeful, a little more energetic, maybe not as definitive in some of his actions because he’s a Gus that we’ve never met before.” But don’t worry. He added: “He is still terrifying, there is no doubt about it.” 

Another mystery man will show up, too

Odenkirk appeared on Twitter alongside a man with his face blocked by a picture of… Bob Odenkirk. Who is this mystery man? Is this the long-awaited Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) cameo we’ve all dreamed of? We’re trying not to read too much into the mystery man’s Pink Floyd shirt.

Paul recently seemed to hint on “Ellen” that he may pop up on Season 3. She asked him: “‘Breaking Bad,’ that was such a great show, so the question is: Will you be on ‘Better Call Saul’?”

“God, I hope so,” Paul said. “Maybe I already shot the… We — They just wrapped the last season.”

 

Related stories from TheWrap:

Gus Fring Returns in ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 3 Teaser (Video)

TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch Right Now, From ‘OITNB’ to ‘Better Call Saul’ (Photos)

‘Better Call Saul’ Star Bob Odenkirk Teases Season 3: ‘Innocence Gets Torn Away’ (Video)

“Better Call Saul” Season 3 returns April 10 to AMC. Here’s what we know about the new season so far.

The Chuck Problem remains

Season 2 ended with Chuck McGill (Michael McKean) catching his brother on tape admitting to an ethical transgression that could cost him his law license. In a preview of Season 3, we saw Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) and new law partner Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) discussing the Chuck Problem. “Crisis averted, I guess,” says Jimmy. “He’s back to being the same old Chuck.” It sounds like he doesn’t know Chuck has the goods on him… yet.

Jimmy and Kim’s partnership seems tense

Kim is taking on a lot of the workload in their new partnerships for reasons that remain unclear (are they related to The Chuck Problem?). She’s taking on more of the workload. “How ’bout we call it a day? I’ll… buy you some dinner?” he asks. She replies: “You’re kidding, right? You realize how far behind I am?” She references taking on some of his clients: “Don’t act like I wanted this.”

“Innocence gets torn away”

In an interview, Odenkirk gave TheWrap some insight into his character’s transformation from Jummy McGill into criminal lawyer Saul Goodman: “This season is gonna be about how innocence gets torn away. We learn that Saul is just who he’s pretending to be to get back at the world… Season 3 is when things will really explode.”

The Chicken Man is back

AMC announced Gus Fring’s return to the Breaking Bad Universe by having the actor who plays him, Giancarlo Esposito, hand out chicken to reporters at a press conference. It’s a safe bet that he was also the one who stopped Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) from carrying out an assassination at the end of Season 2.

Gus will be “a little fresher”

Esposito said in a recent interview that since “Better Call Saul” takes place before “Breaking Bad,” Fring will be “a different guy. He’s a little fresher, a little less jaded. … I wanted him to be little more hopeful, a little more energetic, maybe not as definitive in some of his actions because he’s a Gus that we’ve never met before.” But don’t worry. He added: “He is still terrifying, there is no doubt about it.” 

Another mystery man will show up, too

Odenkirk appeared on Twitter alongside a man with his face blocked by a picture of… Bob Odenkirk. Who is this mystery man? Is this the long-awaited Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) cameo we’ve all dreamed of? We’re trying not to read too much into the mystery man’s Pink Floyd shirt.

Paul recently seemed to hint on “Ellen” that he may pop up on Season 3. She asked him: “‘Breaking Bad,’ that was such a great show, so the question is: Will you be on ‘Better Call Saul’?”

“God, I hope so,” Paul said. “Maybe I already shot the… We — They just wrapped the last season.”

 

Related stories from TheWrap:

Gus Fring Returns in 'Better Call Saul' Season 3 Teaser (Video)

TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch Right Now, From 'OITNB' to 'Better Call Saul' (Photos)

'Better Call Saul' Star Bob Odenkirk Teases Season 3: 'Innocence Gets Torn Away' (Video)

See Ya, TCA: 9 Things We Learned and 9 Things No One Knows

Gus is back. So are Will, Grace, Karen and Jack. Oh, and “This Is Us” fans — your favorite new show is going to stick around for a while.

Those are just some of the takeaways from the just-wrapped Television Critics Association press tour, the biannual junket for TV reporters where networks preview the coming months.

But we didn’t learn everything we want to know about the small screen in 2017: Like, when the hell is “Star Trek” going to actually premiere? And DC Comics, are you hiding something? Here are some of the things we learned at TCA, and things we still just want to know.

Also Read: TCA 2017: Will ‘Training Day’ Find an Audience and 11 Other Questions for Winter Press Tour

WHAT WE LEARNED

Gus Fring Is Back!
Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) will return to the “Breaking Bad” universe on AMC’s excellent “Better Call Saul.” But don’t let us ruin the awesome promo that Vince Gilligan and the gang put together: Watch the video here.

So is “Will & Grace.”
On Wednesday, NBC announced a 10-episode limited run of “Will & Grace” set for the 2017-2018 TV season. All your favorites are back, including the show’s two creators and regular director James Burrows. Insert your own favorite Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) quote here.

Also Read: ‘Will & Grace’ to Return to NBC for 10-Episode Run

Where you’ll see the Louis CK-Albert Brooks show ‘The Cops’
Answer: TBS

Throw in Greg Daniels and the animated show has more than enough comedy purity in its bloodline to be hilarious. “The Cops” follows Al (Brooks) and Lou (C.K.), two LAPD patrolmen trying their best to protect and serve, sometimes failing at both, according to  TBS’ description. Ride with them as they patrol one of the biggest cities in the world, then go home with them and be glad you’re not married to either.

When our favorite shows will premiere
You can find Fox’s premiere dates here — and ABC’s premiere dates here.

No, cable, we didn’t forget about you. Here are some key AMC return dates.

Also Read: FX Boss John Landgraf Explains Delays for ‘Atlanta,’ ‘AHS,’ ‘American Crime Story’

Who will sign Greg Garcia’s ‘Guest Book’
The cast includes Kellie Martin as Officer Kimberly Leahy, who serves on the police force in the small mountain town of Mount Trace. Additionally, Charlie Robinson is Wilfrid, an easygoing, friendly gentleman who manages a group of rental cottages with his wife, Emma, played by recurring guest star Aloma Wright.

Carly Jibson is Vivian, a tough, strong-willed woman who runs a bikini bar called Chubbys with her stepson Frank, played by Lou Wilson. Rounding out the first-season cast in recurring roles will be Garret Dillahunt, Laura Bell Bundy and Eddie Steeples. Check out the impressive group of guest stars here.

What James Franco’s next Lifetime movie is
James Franco will return to Lifetime’s Movie of the Week world with “High School Lover,” which he’ll star in and executive produce. Get more details on the “Mother May I Sleep With Danger” follow-up here.

Also Read: Allison Tolman Explains Her Twisted Route From ‘Fargo’ to ‘Downward Dog’

You’re going to wait for season 2 of your favorite Netflix show
As FX has previously done with “Louie,” the network is going to make fans of “American Crime Story” and “Atlanta” wait a while for more. Neither show will return for Season 2 until 2018. As chief John Landgraf put it: “Do you want it now or do you want it good?”

Spy robot orangutans are horrifying
PBS’s new nature documentary series “Spy in the Wild” captures an eye-level view of various exotic species using animatronic animals that are remarkably lifelike. Their eerily robotic movements and camera-equipped eyes peer directly into your soul.

“This Is” a big vote of confidence
NBC renewed its smash hit “This Is Us” for two additional seasons on Wednesday. The renewal is a no-brainer, though typically nets like to take it one season at a time. Clearly, NBC is making a big point about the top new drama of the 2016-2017 season.

Also Read: AMC Sets April Premieres for ‘The Son,’ ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 3

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

Um, more “X-Files”?
By now, one would think Fox could have locked up some more “X-Files,” but not so fast. When co-chairman and CEO Gary Newman was asked about the future of the franchise, his answer was pretty standard: Fox would love to do more episodes, and they’re looking into it.

What’s new, Netflix and Amazon?
The two top streaming players no-showed to the winter TCA event. So, ah, what’s up, guys? We have fewer answers than we normally would this time of year.

Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos probably needed six months off from getting asked to share TV ratings. We get that. But also: See you in the summer, Ted.

Also Read: Jude Law Reveals if He’s Seen All Those ‘Young Pope’ Memes

Answers to questions we couldn’t ask execs
ABC, NBC and CBS decided not hold Q&As with top executives this time around. Fox initially bailed out, too, but changed its mind and offered up Newman and David Madden to answer some questions. Here’s what they told us.

What of CW’s ‘No Tomorrow’ and ‘Frequency’?
The CW often likes to renew every show it’s airing, so fans of the new “No Tomorrow” and “Frequency” may be nervous that the two were not renewed along with other shows. But network president Mark Pedowitz insisted they are not canceled.

Also Read: LeBron James Game Show ‘The Wall’ Scores 20 More Episodes From NBC

Much of anything about ‘Twin Peaks’
The show finally got a Showtime premiere date, but series creator David Lynch and stars like Kyle McLaughlin and Laura Dern remained very tight-lipped about anything beyond that.

Will “Girl Meets World” survive?
Fans of the recently canceled “Girl Meets World” have been busy folding and sending paper airplanes to Disney Channel and other potential new homes like Netflix and Hulu. Showrunner Michael Jacobs seems hopeful, and already seems to have big plans to readjust the show for a more grown-up audience.

Also Read: ‘Fatal Attraction’ TV Series DOA at Fox

Where’s the lost ‘Dog’?
ABC waited until Jan. 10 to announce its midseason premiere dates, and then two of the network’s previously announced series didn’t even make the schedule. Viewers will have to wait to see the Allison Tolman-led “Downward Dog” and the untitled Shondaland drama formerly known as “Still Star-Crossed.”

Does ABC think “Downward Dog” is bad? Because over here at TheWrap, we’re wagging our tails over what we’ve seen.

So, ah, what is the mystery DC comic-book show?
DC’s chief creative officer Geoff Johns teased a new DC comic book show in the works on Twitter, but nobody at TCA, including his frequent collaborators from the “Arrow”-verse, would cop to what exactly it is. What it’s not, we know, is “Constantine,” which is being resurrected as an animated series on The CW’s digital distribution platform, CW Seed.

Also Read: Dick Wolf Weighs in on When Delayed Trump Episode of ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Might Air

When ‘Star Trek’ will actually take off
CBS TV Studios really needs to give this series all they’ve got, because “Star Trek: Discovery” has now been delayed for the second time since it was announced in late 2015. Fans seem to agree, though, that they’d rather wait for a great show than rush into a bad one. We’ve also finally seen casting news start trickling out, like the casting of James Frain as Sarek, the Vulcan ambassador and Spock’s father.

Joe Otterson, Reid Nakamura and Linda Ge contributed to this report.

Related stories from TheWrap:

3 Surprising Reasons Netflix, Amazon and Broadcast Execs Will Skip January TCA

John Ridley Updates on His Secret Marvel ABC Project: ‘I’m Very, Very Excited About It’

Reba McEntire, Marc Cherry Drama Picked Up to Pilot at ABC

Hulu Brothel Drama ‘Harlots’ Is Inspired by ‘London Guide to Whoring,’ EP Says

PBS Kids Lands Its Own National TV Channel

Gus is back. So are Will, Grace, Karen and Jack. Oh, and “This Is Us” fans — your favorite new show is going to stick around for a while.

Those are just some of the takeaways from the just-wrapped Television Critics Association press tour, the biannual junket for TV reporters where networks preview the coming months.

But we didn’t learn everything we want to know about the small screen in 2017: Like, when the hell is “Star Trek” going to actually premiere? And DC Comics, are you hiding something? Here are some of the things we learned at TCA, and things we still just want to know.

WHAT WE LEARNED

Gus Fring Is Back!
Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) will return to the “Breaking Bad” universe on AMC’s excellent “Better Call Saul.” But don’t let us ruin the awesome promo that Vince Gilligan and the gang put together: Watch the video here.

So is “Will & Grace.”
On Wednesday, NBC announced a 10-episode limited run of “Will & Grace” set for the 2017-2018 TV season. All your favorites are back, including the show’s two creators and regular director James Burrows. Insert your own favorite Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) quote here.

Where you’ll see the Louis CK-Albert Brooks show ‘The Cops’
Answer: TBS

Throw in Greg Daniels and the animated show has more than enough comedy purity in its bloodline to be hilarious. “The Cops” follows Al (Brooks) and Lou (C.K.), two LAPD patrolmen trying their best to protect and serve, sometimes failing at both, according to  TBS’ description. Ride with them as they patrol one of the biggest cities in the world, then go home with them and be glad you’re not married to either.

When our favorite shows will premiere
You can find Fox’s premiere dates here — and ABC’s premiere dates here.

No, cable, we didn’t forget about you. Here are some key AMC return dates.

Who will sign Greg Garcia’s ‘Guest Book’
The cast includes Kellie Martin as Officer Kimberly Leahy, who serves on the police force in the small mountain town of Mount Trace. Additionally, Charlie Robinson is Wilfrid, an easygoing, friendly gentleman who manages a group of rental cottages with his wife, Emma, played by recurring guest star Aloma Wright.

Carly Jibson is Vivian, a tough, strong-willed woman who runs a bikini bar called Chubbys with her stepson Frank, played by Lou Wilson. Rounding out the first-season cast in recurring roles will be Garret Dillahunt, Laura Bell Bundy and Eddie Steeples. Check out the impressive group of guest stars here.

What James Franco’s next Lifetime movie is
James Franco will return to Lifetime’s Movie of the Week world with “High School Lover,” which he’ll star in and executive produce. Get more details on the “Mother May I Sleep With Danger” follow-up here.

You’re going to wait for season 2 of your favorite Netflix show
As FX has previously done with “Louie,” the network is going to make fans of “American Crime Story” and “Atlanta” wait a while for more. Neither show will return for Season 2 until 2018. As chief John Landgraf put it: “Do you want it now or do you want it good?”

Spy robot orangutans are horrifying
PBS’s new nature documentary series “Spy in the Wild” captures an eye-level view of various exotic species using animatronic animals that are remarkably lifelike. Their eerily robotic movements and camera-equipped eyes peer directly into your soul.

“This Is” a big vote of confidence
NBC renewed its smash hit “This Is Us” for two additional seasons on Wednesday. The renewal is a no-brainer, though typically nets like to take it one season at a time. Clearly, NBC is making a big point about the top new drama of the 2016-2017 season.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

Um, more “X-Files”?
By now, one would think Fox could have locked up some more “X-Files,” but not so fast. When co-chairman and CEO Gary Newman was asked about the future of the franchise, his answer was pretty standard: Fox would love to do more episodes, and they’re looking into it.

What’s new, Netflix and Amazon?
The two top streaming players no-showed to the winter TCA event. So, ah, what’s up, guys? We have fewer answers than we normally would this time of year.

Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos probably needed six months off from getting asked to share TV ratings. We get that. But also: See you in the summer, Ted.

Answers to questions we couldn’t ask execs
ABC, NBC and CBS decided not hold Q&As with top executives this time around. Fox initially bailed out, too, but changed its mind and offered up Newman and David Madden to answer some questions. Here’s what they told us.

What of CW’s ‘No Tomorrow’ and ‘Frequency’?
The CW often likes to renew every show it’s airing, so fans of the new “No Tomorrow” and “Frequency” may be nervous that the two were not renewed along with other shows. But network president Mark Pedowitz insisted they are not canceled.

Much of anything about ‘Twin Peaks’
The show finally got a Showtime premiere date, but series creator David Lynch and stars like Kyle McLaughlin and Laura Dern remained very tight-lipped about anything beyond that.

Will “Girl Meets World” survive?
Fans of the recently canceled “Girl Meets World” have been busy folding and sending paper airplanes to Disney Channel and other potential new homes like Netflix and Hulu. Showrunner Michael Jacobs seems hopeful, and already seems to have big plans to readjust the show for a more grown-up audience.

Where’s the lost ‘Dog’?
ABC waited until Jan. 10 to announce its midseason premiere dates, and then two of the network’s previously announced series didn’t even make the schedule. Viewers will have to wait to see the Allison Tolman-led “Downward Dog” and the untitled Shondaland drama formerly known as “Still Star-Crossed.”

Does ABC think “Downward Dog” is bad? Because over here at TheWrap, we’re wagging our tails over what we’ve seen.

So, ah, what is the mystery DC comic-book show?
DC’s chief creative officer Geoff Johns teased a new DC comic book show in the works on Twitter, but nobody at TCA, including his frequent collaborators from the “Arrow”-verse, would cop to what exactly it is. What it’s not, we know, is “Constantine,” which is being resurrected as an animated series on The CW’s digital distribution platform, CW Seed.

When ‘Star Trek’ will actually take off
CBS TV Studios really needs to give this series all they’ve got, because “Star Trek: Discovery” has now been delayed for the second time since it was announced in late 2015. Fans seem to agree, though, that they’d rather wait for a great show than rush into a bad one. We’ve also finally seen casting news start trickling out, like the casting of James Frain as Sarek, the Vulcan ambassador and Spock’s father.

Joe Otterson, Reid Nakamura and Linda Ge contributed to this report.

Related stories from TheWrap:

3 Surprising Reasons Netflix, Amazon and Broadcast Execs Will Skip January TCA

John Ridley Updates on His Secret Marvel ABC Project: 'I'm Very, Very Excited About It'

Reba McEntire, Marc Cherry Drama Picked Up to Pilot at ABC

Hulu Brothel Drama 'Harlots' Is Inspired by 'London Guide to Whoring,' EP Says

PBS Kids Lands Its Own National TV Channel

Gus Fring Returns in ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 3 Teaser (Video)

Hide the box cutters, everyone. Gus Fring is coming to “Better Call Saul.”

After terrifying audiences as the fast food magnate/violent drug lord on “Breaking Bad,” Giancarlo Esposito is returning to the role that earned him his  first Emmy nomination as part of season 3 of “Better Call Saul.”

Of course, AMC revealed this in classic ABQ fashion: with a fake commercial for Gus’ fast food chain, Los Pollos Hermanos.

Also Read: ‘Better Call Saul’ Star Bob Odenkirk Teases Season 3: ‘Innocence Gets Torn Away’ (Video)

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen viral ads from Walter White’s Albuquerque.

During the run of “Breaking Bad,” AMC released commercials showing Saul Goodman — or Jimmy McGill, as he’s known on “Better Call Saul” — encouraging viewers to “sue ‘em now” with the help of his private practice.

Now we have this wholesome ad that seems to be a sign that we will soon discover how Jimmy first encountered Gus and the shady dealings behind Los Pollos Hermanos.

Also Read: How Dave Porter Merges the Music of ‘Better Call Saul’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ (Audio)

“Come in and try our new curly fries!” says Gus with an uncharacteristic smile in the ad. “We’re so sure you’ll like them, and if you don’t, they’re on me!”

We’re pretty sure that if you don’t like his fries, Gus will kill your infant daughter. Season 3 of “Better Call Saul” premieres on AMC this spring. Watch the Los Pollos Hermanos commercial above.

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Hide the box cutters, everyone. Gus Fring is coming to “Better Call Saul.”

After terrifying audiences as the fast food magnate/violent drug lord on “Breaking Bad,” Giancarlo Esposito is returning to the role that earned him his  first Emmy nomination as part of season 3 of “Better Call Saul.”

Of course, AMC revealed this in classic ABQ fashion: with a fake commercial for Gus’ fast food chain, Los Pollos Hermanos.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen viral ads from Walter White’s Albuquerque.

During the run of “Breaking Bad,” AMC released commercials showing Saul Goodman — or Jimmy McGill, as he’s known on “Better Call Saul” — encouraging viewers to “sue ‘em now” with the help of his private practice.

Now we have this wholesome ad that seems to be a sign that we will soon discover how Jimmy first encountered Gus and the shady dealings behind Los Pollos Hermanos.

“Come in and try our new curly fries!” says Gus with an uncharacteristic smile in the ad. “We’re so sure you’ll like them, and if you don’t, they’re on me!”

We’re pretty sure that if you don’t like his fries, Gus will kill your infant daughter. Season 3 of “Better Call Saul” premieres on AMC this spring. Watch the Los Pollos Hermanos commercial above.

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