1. Jesse was supposed to die at the end of season one.
That’s right — lovable dope fiend Jesse Pinkman would’ve met his final curtain call in the first season’s ninth episode if it wasn’t for a strange case of divine intervention. Shot in the midst of the 2008 Writer’s Guild strike, the first season was cut short at seven episodes, leaving enough time for showrunner Vince Gilligan to recognize the chemistry between actors Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston before reevaluating the duo’s relationship for the next several seasons.
2. Bryan Cranston was cast based on his performance in an episode of “The X-Files.”
Vince Gilligan cast actor Bryan Cranston as the show’s star based largely on his experience directing him in “Drive,” a sixth season episode of The X-Files. The network executives were hesitant about casting the goofball patriarch from Malcolm in the Middle as an aspiring meth cook, but a screening of Cranston as surly ant-semite Patrick Crump changed their minds.
4. Hector Salamanca was originally meant to be the main villain in seasons three and four, not Gus Fring.
Actor Giancarlo Esposito was only meant to appear in a guest-starring part during the show’s second season, but he negotiated his role — cucumber-cool chicken mogul Gustavo Fring — to full-time status.
5. Several Breaking Bad cast members guest starred in episodes of “Seinfeld.”
Actors Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, and Bob Odenkirk all had guest bits on Jerry Seinfeld’s popular sitcom in its fifth, sixth, and eighth seasons.
7. Breaking Bad was originally set in Riverside, California.
But it was moved to Albuquerque to take advantage of a tax rebate on production. Seriously, though — can you imagine Walt’s Winnebago anywhere but New Mexico’s rolling deserts?
8. The Blue Ranger Was Named After Bryan Cranston
Strange, but true! As described by Bryan Cranston himself:
“One of my jobs as a young actor starting out was voiceover. I also did dubbing. A lot of dubbing and a lot of voiceover. So foreign films would come in and I’d go in. One of the places that did a lot of that was Saban Entertainment. And they would take movies and then cartoons from all over the world and we’d go and do the English dub. And the Power Rangers came in and I did some voices for that. I had already been there for a number of years, just as a freelance guy coming in and coming out. And it paid like $50.00 an hour, which was fantastic. And you’d work two, three hours at least a day. So I had been there for awhile already and then the Power Rangers came in. They actually named one of the Power Rangers after me.”
Pictured above: the Blue Ranger, Billy Cranston.
14. Aaron Paul was a contestant on “The Price Is Right.”
While he was working at the Gap, no less. Paul even made it to the Showcase Showdown, but overbid by $132.
18. Pregnant Skyler was actually pregnant Marie in season two.
This one’s a little tricky: actress Betsy Brandt, aka Marie Schrader, was pregnant in real life during the second season’s shoot. For authenticity’s sake, the scenes centered on fictional sister Skyler White’s bare belly were actually close-ups of Betsy.
19. Only one of The Cousins had ever acted before.
Between real-life twins Luis and Daniel Moncada, only Luis had acted professionally, but both grew up in and around actual gangs that were not unlike their characters’ cartel. Luis even has several tattoos that had to be covered up for the show, including “F*CK” and “YOU” on his left and right eyelids.
22. The “Walking Dead” crew helped out with Gus Fring’s death in “Face Off.”
It never hurts to have a team of zombie special effects specialists in the office next-door. Gus’s Two-Face moment was actually a composite of two completely separate shots — the explosion and Gus’s reveal — with a 3D sculpture of the drug czar’s destroyed head digitally melded onto the film.
24. Actor Giancarlo Esposito is part chicken.
When you think “chicken,” think Los Pollos Hermanos.