The Writers’ Strike Stopped Vince Gilligan From Killing This (Other) Major ‘Breaking Bad’ Character

(Slight spoilers ahead)

You may have heard that the WGA writers’ strike of 2007-08 took away two precious episodes of the inaugural season of AMC’s Breaking Bad, and you may have heard that Jesse Pinkman was supposed to be killed off in that same season. (The rumor of his demise being saved by the strike is just that…a rumor. He was going to live either way due to Aaron Paul’s stellar performance.) There is one other character, though, who was actually saved by the writers’ strike: Hank.

In a new interview with Kevin Pollak for his mightily gregarious Chat Show podcast, Breaking Bad showrunner Vince Gilligan relayed — and in his own words, possibly for the first time — the fact that Hank would have met his end in one of those two episodes that were axed on the backend of the first season.

“We were writing and shooting and editing in a vacuum, no one had seen the show yet, and I really had the feeling that I needed to throw the kitchen sink at it, that the writers and I needed to get every bit of drama… The writers’ strike came along and we didn’t get to do our last two episodes… Our ninth episode that year, we were seriously leaning toward killing off Hank.”

Gilligan goes on to describe the feeling that he had to squeeze out every ounce of drama possible if he was going to make the show work, but later realized that a slow burn works just as effectively. It ended up being a good call, because had Hank died in the first season, then we would have never gotten that penultimate moment of Walt’s mental break when he sees Hank get murdered.

(Fast-forward to the 13-minute mark for the Hank conversation.)

(via Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show)

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