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The Reason Jesse Pinkman Wasn't Killed Off During Breaking Bad Season 1


AMC's Breaking Bad was a landmark television drama… and not just because it was so brilliantly written, expertly plotted, and beautifully photographed From its charismatic leads to its supporting cast, the show's talented ensemble turned in some of the finest performances ever committed to the small screen

And Aaron Paul was quite possibly the show's Most Valuable Player As you probably know, he portrayed Jesse Pinkman, the hapless accomplice to Bryan Cranston's high school chemistry teacher-turned-drug-kingpin Walter White Paul created a character that was incredibly easy to root for, despite having more than his fair share of faults He was self-centered, endlessly self-pitying, and always looking to make a quick buck 'This is your deal, man

You want to smoke it, smoke it up at your house" By the end of the series, he'd progressed from a small-time drug dealer to a reluctant murderer Of course, Jesse also had a remarkable capacity for caring, loyalty, and trust qualities which unfortunately made him way too easy to manipulate and exploit Paul's portrayal of Pinkman was so remarkable that it's virtually impossible to imagine anyone else stepping into the role His nuanced, soulful performance is ultimately what won fans over and what made Jesse a sympathetic character

Interestingly, Paul almost didn't get a chance to turn Jesse Pinkman into the character we all know and love today Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan originally intended for Jesse to die at the end of the first season In fact, that death was supposed to raise the stakes for Walter and hasten his transformation into the ruthless, deadly drug lord known as Heisenberg Even before production on Breaking Bad began, Gilligan reportedly pitched an idea to studio executives and they really didn't like it: Long story short, Jesse would be killed in a drug deal gone bad Blinded by rage, Walter would subsequently kidnap the person responsible and hold him captive in his basement, torturing him in unspeakable ways According to IndieWire, studio brass managed to talk Gilligan off that particular ledge, but he evidently still intended to kill off Jesse down the line As it turns out, Jesse was originally supposed to meet his maker in the ninth episode of Breaking Bad's first season… but perhaps you've noticed that Season One only has seven episodes

That's because the 2007 Writers' Guild of America strike got underway in the middle of production, reportedly forcing the powers-that-be to shorten the first season And that was ultimately very good news for Jesse Pinkman and Aaron Paul As the AV Club reports, "In the intervening time between seasons, Vince Gilligan changed his mind [about killing Jesse]" If that's true, it might be the only time in television history that a character was given a stay of execution simply because the writers refused to do their jobs But as Gilligan admits himself, the strike wasn't the only reason he decided to let Jesse live

Speaking at PaleyFest 2010 in Los Angeles, Gilligan explained his thought process in a bit more detail As the principal cast sat next to him including Paul he revealed the real reason he spared Jesse… and it wasn't because the young man just had so much life left to live At one point, Gilligan admits: "The original plan was to kill him off but I have to say, the writer's strike, in a sense, didn't save him" Gilligan then tells Paul: "I knew by episode 2 we all did, all of us our wonderful directors and our wonderful producers everybody knew just how good you are, and a pleasure to work with, and it became pretty clear early on that that would be a huge, colossal mistake to kill off Jesse" Truer words have never been spoken

Of course, Jesse even managed to outlive Heisenberg in the end and he eventually came to find a modicum of peace in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, the Netflix film that serves as a follow-up to the main series "Question they're going to ask is, What am I doing here trying to hand over a Hefty bag full of cash to a dude who runs a vacuum cleaner store?" In the years since Breaking Bad ended, Paul has continued to have an enviable acting career He lent his voice to the acclaimed animated series BoJack Horseman through the show's entire run… and he's set to co-star in Season 3 of Westworld No wonder he's in such high demand: He helped create one of the greatest hour-long television dramas ever produced Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite TV shows are coming soon

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