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Breaking Bad Creator Vince Gilligan Answers Fan Questions – Part I


In Part I of a two-part fan interview, Breaking Bad‘s executive producer discusses Skyler’s motivations and shares his thoughts on who would play Walt in a muppet version of Breaking Bad.

How do the writers twist a season’s arc before filming begins? Do you have the main ideas and themes in mind, or can the arc change? — karmageddon

Vince: Unlike Season 2 in which we had the bold strokes of the plot figured out from the first episode onward, Season 3 was much more an experiment in letting the characters dictate to us where they were headed. So we were on a journey of discovery in which we were trying not to force any particular plot moments into happening. So that made the season kind of exhilarating and terrifying for the writers and myself, because we ourselves didn’t know quite where it was headed.

Vince, can you answer unequivocally whether Jesse killed Gale? — Doug G. Ware

Vince: [Laughs] Yes, I can.

Which episode this season was the most challenging to write? — cowman130

Vince: Well, I have these wonderful writers who write their own episodes, and they really have gotten to the point where they do their work with a minimum of notes or rewriting from me. So the better way to answer that question, I suppose, is which episode was the hardest to break? And by that I mean the process of breaking the episodes is where all the writers and myself sit around in a little room and we plot out each beat of each story. The hardest episode to break would probably be Episode 10, “Fly,” because that was so unusual. That was such a different kind of storytelling for us, and it was so dialogue intensive as opposed to action intensive that it really took us quite a while to get our minds around that one. And that is evidenced by the fact that it took two cork bulletin boards of index cards to plot that particular episode, rather than our typical one cork board.

I loved the “Fly.” It kind of reminded me of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. Did that story have an influence on the episode? — Mason Nine

Vince: Mason you are very perceptive. “The Tell-Tale Heart” was indeed a short story that was discussed at length in the room. As for myself, being a good Virginia boy who hails from Richmond, which is one of the very important cities in Edgar Allan Poe’s short life, a city he spent a lot of time living in, Poe means a lot to me personally. He’s one of those writers I really wish I could meet using a time machine. Although I would not want to meet him drunk, because apparently he was kind of a mean drunk.

I’m very interested in the way Skyler and Walt’s relationship is developing. Now that she is beginning to take part in his world, how far will this go? – Barbara

Vince: Well Skyler is such a smart lady that last season we had a devil of a time keeping her from figuring out Walt was up to some sort of criminal behavior. And this Season, we love Skyler so much as a character that we thought to ourselves, how do we do justice to this very smart, more or less law-abiding citizen, and yet keep her in the show? A lot of the hardest things to plot this season were these moments with Skyler where she slowly, through tiny little baby steps, begins to come around to Walt’s way of thinking. Which is not to say she’s suddenly a criminal herself. But Skyler is a very pragmatic person, and when she sees that in order to get her beloved brother-in-law walking again it’s going to take a lot of money, she pragmatically decides let’s take a bad decision Walt made and at least get a brighter outcome out of. So it gets very ironic, it gets very convoluted. There’s a lot of good intentions mixed with bad behavior and it’s probably a mistake that she’s doing this [Laughs]. But Walt has done her wrong by putting her very much between a rock and a hard place. So I tend to give her more slack than perhaps some folks do, and I don’t blame her for having an affair with Ted Beneke and kicking Walt out of the house.

Who would you cast as Walt in a muppet version of Breaking Bad? – Randy Zeitman

Vince: [Laughs] Wow. Oh man, that’s a good one. I’m trying to remember my muppets. Who is a very earnest muppet and yet sort of had a sly, subversive streak to his personality? I guess the obvious answer might be Beaker. But I don’t know if we ever saw any subversiveness to his personality. Either him or one of those two old guys who were always up in the balcony making fun of everybody. I like those guys.

Click here to read Part II of the interview, in which Vince Gilligan addresses Walt’s repeatedly-breaking windshield and explains why he hid a chicken suit in Gus’s office.

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