If you've been geekily scouring Better Call Saul for Breaking Bad references then your luck has just come in. Bob Odenkirk believes Vince Gilligan will bring back the cancer-stricken chemistry teacher and his junky sidekick as early as the second series.

Despite Gilligan's previous assurances to the contrary, Odenkirk believes the Breaking Bad creator is protesting too much.

"I'm sceptical of Vince's denials," he told The Independent in an interview. "He does know where he's going to use those guys or have them appear. He just doesn't want to say it yet."

The spin-off show scored record ratings of 6.9 million on its UK debut. Set seven years before Breaking Bad began, the prequel shows Odenkirk's character transition from down-on-his-luck lawyer Jimmy McGill to the brash attorney we saw laundering money for Brian Cranston's Walter White and handing Aaron Paul's Jesse Pinkman holdalls full of cash.

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He believes that while Vince "is eager for [Better Call Saul] to do the hard work of living and dying on its own terms," once the first series is over he can invite guests such as Cranston and Paul to take part.

"I think it can happen in season two," he said. "And, if you ask me, Bob Odenkirk, taking a wild guess - remember I'm not a writer on the show - I think one of those guys will appear in season two or three. But probably later."

While the first two episodes of Better Call Saul, available on Lightbox in New Zealand, seem very different to Breaking Bad, the show is full of references to its predecessor. Eagle-eyed fans have even spotted a glimpse of White's house.

 Brian Cranston as Walter White and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in a scene from Breaking Bad.
Brian Cranston as Walter White and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in a scene from Breaking Bad.

In the spin-off Odenkirk's character is struggling to make a living as a lawyer forced to take on cases that others would reject (spoiler alert: he represents a trio of students who had sex with a severed head), while looking after his brother, Chuck McGill (Michael McKean), who has a mysterious illness resembling electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

But, despite the shambolic offices of Jimmy McGill being a far cry from the pillars of Saul's workplace in Breaking Bad, three familiar faces have already appeared: everyone's favourite hitman Mike Ehrmantraut, psychopath from season one Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz) and even Michael Mando who plays Nacho.

At the end of Breaking Bad Odenkirk's character says "If I'm lucky, a month from now, best-case scenario, I'm managing a Cinnabon in Omaha" - and sure enough the first scene of Better Call Saul is a flash-forward to an older Odenkirk working in the bakery chain.

Odenkirk reveals it hasn't been hard making the transition from supporting role to main part: "I don't consider myself a leading man. I just consider myself a character actor who has a lot of lines. More than I usually would. It doesn't change my approach to the job."

Better Call Saul is available on Lightbox in New Zealand with the third episode set to appear tonight.

Watch the trailer for Better Call Saul:

- Independent