Vince Gilligan Hints That His "Fun And Different" New Series With Rhea Seehorn Takes Place In Albuquerque & Is "Mild Science Fiction"

With the WGA guild strike over, writers’ rooms all over the industry are back open for business. And that includes the one for Vince Gilligan‘s upcoming show at Apple TV+ with “Better Call Saul” actress Rhea Seehorn. In a new sitdown with Variety, Gilligan talked about the 10th anniversary of the “Breaking Bad” finale and ChatGPT, among other things. But the talk also allowed the showrunner to discuss his new series and when audiences should expect it.

READ MORE: Vince Gilligan’s Next Series Lands At Apple With ‘Better Call Saul’ Actress Rhea Seehorn

Gilligan explain that work resumed on the upcoming show, still untitled, at the start of this week. “We’re back to work. We’re officially back in the writers room on Monday,” said the showrunner. “When the strike hit, we were very close to the ending of breaking the first season. So we’re going to go back and finish the second-to-last episode and then get to work on the last episode. We lost a lot of momentum, actually. I can’t even remember where we were exactly. So I’m going to be spending this week reading through previous episodes and old notes to figure out where we stand.” As for whether he’s annoyed about the guild-related delays, Gilligan confirmed that’s all part of the business for him. “We’re looking forward to getting back to work. We would have been shooting already if it weren’t for the strike. The strike was a sad necessity, and we’re all glad that it’s behind us.”

As for the show, Gilligan couldn’t be more excited to start work on it again, but he played go about giving too much away about it. As for its premise, “I wouldn’t call this heavy science fiction, I would call it mild science fiction,” he explained. But it does have a sci-fi element to it, at its corse. And there’s no crime, and no metamphetamine. It’s going to be fun and different. [And] I have no prediction as to how folks [will] react to it—whether they’ll love it or hate it, or somewhere in the vast in-between. But I know it’s a story that interests me, and Rhea will be playing a very different character than she played on “Saul.”” Gilligan also mentioned that the show takes place in Albuquerque, albeit a different one than his previous two shows. “There’s no overlap that I can see,” he continued. “[Rhea’s] playing a character who is not Kim Wexler, but hopefully people will roll with that. I’m nervous. It’ll be interesting to see how folks react to it.”

So how different is this show’s Albuquerque to the one from the “Breaking Bad” universe? And what’s so sci-fi about its premise? Gilligan only gave hints. “The world changes very abruptly in the first episode, and then it is quite different,” he said about the show’s start. “It’s the modern world — the world we live in — but it changes very abruptly. And the consequences that that reaps hopefully provide drama for many, many episodes after that.” That’s a vague explanation, but maybe necessary, considering Gilligan and co. haven’t even completed writing the show yet. But story-wise, this show sounds like a departure from the crime drama of Gilligan’s recent work, which makes this new series something of a wildcard.

As for returning to the Albuquerque of “Breaking Bad,” would Gilligan ever consider it? “To be brutally honest, if I get my ass handed to me with this next show and the one after that, and nobody wants to see it and everybody wants “Breaking Bad,” who knows!” quipped the showrunner. “Maybe we’ll see our way clearer to doing something in the future. But what I’d like to do is leave it be. It’s the work of my lifetime — “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” — it’ll be the first thing engraved on my tombstone, and I couldn’t be more proud of it. And I kind of wonder if there are further stories to tell, but I don’t want to beat a dead horse.”

Plus, Gilligan doesn’t want to bleed his franchise dry like some other contemporary film and TV series. “I look around and see other storytelling worlds — I’m not going to name names — that feel like, ‘Boy, they are really sucking that last dime out of that franchise.’ I’d hate to see that happen with this. I’d rather err on the side of leaving the party too soon than too late. But never say never. That’s just how I feel right now, but who knows down the line.”

Stay tuned for more info on Gilligan’s new series as it (hopefully) approaches production in 2024.