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Better Call Saul: Every Theory On Where Nacho Is During Breaking Bad

Better Call Saul season 6 has many mysteries still to solve – such as where is Nacho in Breaking Bad? Better Call Saul dives into the backstories of Jimmy McGill and Mike Ehrmantraut, two colorful characters who fell foul of Walter White’s ego in Breaking Bad. However, the prequel also introduces a fresh crop of criminals who are just as fascinating and complex as the established names. Nacho Varga is one such addition. Portrayed by Michael Mando, Nacho is essentially the Jesse Pinkman of Better Call Saul – a well-meaning minor crook dragged out of his depth by bigger sharks, unable to escape the illegal underbelly he calls home.

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Nacho begins Better Call Saul as a member of Hector Salamanca’s cartel gang, and soon finds himself associating with Mike. Having lost his own son, Mike takes an immediate liking to Nacho, and the pair share a healthy respect that develops throughout Better Call Saul. As Nacho proves himself among the more reliable gangsters in the Salamanca fold, he rises through the ranks and enjoys the financial trappings of his chosen career. Just like Jesse in Breaking Bad, however, Nacho’s unsavory workmates soon begin threatening his loved ones. Nacho is caught in a whirlwind of assassination attempts and betrayal, as he desperately tries to keep his father out of the cartel’s cross hairs.


Related: Better Call Saul: Where Kim Could Be During Breaking Bad

Although Jimmy McGill does reference him in season 2, audiences still don’t know where Nacho is in Breaking Bad. Naturally, viewers have plenty of ideas as to where Michael Mando’s character could be in the era of Walter White, and not all of them have a happy ending. Here are Better Call Saul‘s Nacho theories.

Nacho Is On The Run In Breaking Bad

Nacho has no shortage of enemies heading into Better Call Saul season 6, and his final move before Breaking Bad could be running away from them. Lalo Salamanca came to consider Nacho his right-hand man in Better Call Saul season 5 but, under duress from Gus Fring, Nacho conspired against his boss to arrange a hit on Lalo. Had the assassination been successful, Nacho’s problems would be solved, but Lalo’s cockroach-esque survival skills saw him to safety. Now his boss has an axe to grind, and knows exactly where to swing. By trying to get Lalo killed, Nacho will also incur the wrath of cartel leader Don Eladio, should his duplicity become known higher up the food chain.


Gus Fring is another figure who might want Nacho dead in Better Call Saul season 6. Although he’s doing the chicken-man’s dirty work for now, Nacho is being heavily coerced, and Gus is infamously fussy about loose ends. When the battle against Lalo is over, Gus could turn his attention toward Nacho, ensuring all possible traces of his involvement are eliminated.

Whether it’s Lalo, the cartel, or Gus, Nacho might need a fresh start in Better Call Saul season 6. Fortunately, there’s a man for that. Played by the late Robert Forster, Ed Galbraith specializes in escapes and false identities, and could get Nacho out of dodge before Better Call Saul concludes. Not only would this draw another Jesse Pinkman parallel, but helping Nacho escape could also be how Jimmy discovers Ed’s services ahead of his own hasty departure in Breaking Bad.


Related: Better Call Saul: Why Jimmy Is Working In A Cinnabon (As Gene)

Nacho Is Set Free By Gus (With Mike’s Help)

Jonathan Banks

It seems likely that Jimmy, Kim, Mike, Gus and Nacho will team up in Better Call Saul season 6, using their collective skills to take down Lalo Salamanca. For one reason or another, Lalo is a threat to all five, and his absence in Breaking Bad hints at a sticky end for Tony Dalton’s smooth operator. With Lalo out of the way, Nacho would avoid retribution for working with Gus, and the Salamanca family would stop trying to drag Nacho’s father into their business. However, Nacho would still have Gus to deal with. If the cartel discovered Gus played a part in killing Lalo Salamanca, the news would not be received well. The only way Gus can properly cover his tracks is by killing off Nacho once his usefulness has been exhausted.


This is where Mike could step in. Clearly fond of Nacho, Mike has tried on several occasions to convince Gus that a freed mole isn’t necessarily a bad mole, but like all the best Giancarlo Esposito villains, Gus Fring hasn’t yet caved to empathy. That situation may change if Gus can get something he wants in return for Nacho’s freedom. Currently in Better Call Saul, Mike is working for Gus because it pays well, and he appreciates the professional way Fring does business. In exchange for letting Nacho walk away, Mike could offer his permanent loyalty, which would explain where Nacho is in Breaking Badand why Mike and Fring are much tighter in the future.

Jimmy Helps Fake Nacho’s Death

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill Saul Goodman and Michael Mando as Nacho Varga in Better Call Saul

Even if Mike can’t change Gus Fring’s mind, he still has one last resort to get Nacho out of the game – Jimmy McGill, attorney at law. Over Better Call Saul‘s past 5 seasons, the deadly combination of Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler have indulged in all manner of law-room shenanigans, from portraying Huell Babineux as a saint, to making Chuck look insane. In a desperate move, Mike might turn to Jimmy to get Nacho away from Gus. Maybe Jimmy and Kim can “kill off” Nacho, forging a death certificate and allowing him to start a new life, leaving Gus to believe his mole has been whacked.

This Nacho theory would tie neatly into Breaking Bad season 2. When Jimmy fears he’s been snatched by Lalo Salamanca’s goons, he tries passing the blame onto Nacho. If Jimmy helped fake Nacho’s death, he’d know that Lalo’s henchmen wouldn’t find anything if they started digging down that rabbit hole.

Related: When Better Call Saul’s Gene Scenes Are Set In The Breaking Bad Timeline

Nacho Is Killed By Lalo In Better Call Saul Season 6

Better Call Saul Lalo

Just because Nacho is the “Jesse Pinkman” of Better Call Saul, doesn’t mean he’ll enjoy the same hopeful ending. After fending off Gus’ hit squad in Better Call Saul season 5’s finale, the camera lingers on Lalo as he spies Nacho’s empty glass from the drinks they were sharing only minutes before chaos erupted. This is enough to confirm Lalo knows exactly who to blame for the attempt on his life, and Nacho can be sure his old boss will be out for blood in Better Call Saul season 6. The real question is whether Lalo will get to Nacho before someone gets to him.

In a real-world setting, one might expect the tenacious and experienced Lalo to catch up with Nacho and execute him in the desert without fuss, but realism doesn’t necessarily make for exciting narratives. After spending five seasons with the character, audiences will be expecting a more dramatic conclusion for Nacho. Perhaps Gus gives his mole an ultimatum – kill Lalo Salamanca and you’ll go free. This could set up a dramatic showdown between the pair, where one or both men die in a hail of bullets. Coming so close to liberty only to fall at the final hurdle would end Nacho’s story on a bitterly tragic note… but at least his father would be safe.


Nacho Is Killed By Gus In Better Call Saul

Better call Saul zodiac gus fring Cropped

Even if someone bumps off Lalo Salamanca, a shadow still looms over Nacho Varga. Should Gus Fring emerge victorious from his feud with Lalo, he’ll no longer have use for a Nacho-shaped mole. Gus would then be forced to take an uncharacteristic leap of faith if he were to let Lalo go. Just like poor Werner Ziegler in Better Call Saul season 4, Nacho could fall victim to Gus’ leave-no-trace philosophy. But how could Gus killing Nacho reconcile with Mike’s role in Breaking Bad? Would Mike willingly work for Gus knowing his employer was responsible for killing someone he viewed as a son? This could mean Nacho is executed in secret – Gus tells Nacho he can walk away, only to renege on his word, leaving Mike none the wiser.

Alternatively, Better Call Saul season 6 could deliver a huge shock by having Mike kill Nacho on Gus’ behalf. While the Breaking Bad prequel has largely focused on Jimmy’s moral decay, fans have also watched Mike Ehrmantraut descend deeper into criminality. A key step in Mike’s fall came with the murder of Werner Ziegler, the architect behind Gus’ super-lab. Despite being friendly with the German, Mike executed Ziegler on Gus’ orders, justifying his actions by asserting that the architect “knew what he was getting into.” If Gus demanded Mike kill Nacho, would he sink low enough to carry out the hit, and complete his own dark transformation ahead of Breaking Bad?


Related: Better Call Saul Can Have Both Breaking Bad AND El Camino’s Endings

Nacho Is Still Around In Breaking Bad

Against all odds, Nacho might still be in Albuquerque throughout Breaking Bad‘s entire timeline. While it might sound overly optimistic, some brave soul could kill Lalo Salamanca, while Mike finally convinces Gus to set Nacho free. Michael Mando’s character could then leave the narcotics business behind and join his father in the legitimate world, making amends for past misdeeds and fixing their strained relationship. Such a happy finale may not be the most dramatic ending for Nacho Varga, but helping to bring a father and son closer together after everything that happened with Matty, his own son, could represent the perfect conclusion for Mike in Better Call Saul season 6.

Is Nacho Still Alive In Breaking Bad? All Evidence & Clues

Michael Mando as Nacho in Better Call Saul

With some Nacho theories pointing toward a darker end for Michael Mando’s Better Call Saul character, and others leaning into more optimistic territory, the all-important question remains: is Nacho Varga still alive in Breaking Bad‘s timeline? Only Better Call Saul season 6 can reveal the answer for sure, but which outcome does the evidence support?

Breaking Bad season 2 drops the biggest clue – the only overt reference made to Nacho in the original show. Saul pleads with a disguised Walt and Jesse, “It wasn’t me, it was Ignacio.” Though the line could apply either way, Bob Odenkirk’s delivery suggests this “Ignacio” is still living and breathing (for now, at least), which means Nacho is still around. The Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul universe also has Ed, the “disappearer,” whose services come recommended by Walt, Jesse and Saul, to name but a few absconders. Since Nacho desperately wants out of cartel business, and the cartel isn’t best known for its generous retirement packages, he seems like a prime candidate for a trip to Ed’s store (maybe relocating to New York City under the name Mac Gargan?) Running away courtesy of Ed would add to the many ways Nacho’s Better Call Saul journey mirrors Breaking Bad‘s Jesse.

Given how Mike Ehrmantraut has taken to Nacho as something of a surrogate father, it’s hard to imagine the ex-cop working closely with Gus Fring in Breaking Bad if the chicken kingpin had a hand in Nacho’s demise. Indeed, Mike’s willing partnership with Gus in Breaking Bad‘s timeline might actually point toward Gus letting Nacho go free, and Mike owing his boss a favor for doing so. Speaking of Mike, the death of Werner Ziegler could foreshadow Nacho’s survival. Mike respected Werner but killed the architect anyway, and has been haunted ever since. Could he bring himself to repeat that mistake with Nacho in Better Call Saul season 6? Probably not.


More: Better Call Saul: What Jimmy Flipping The Light Switch In Season 2 Means

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