Regularly rated the best fictional TV series in history, Breaking Bad has gripped and thrilled audiences all over the world. The series centres on Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston), a high school chemistry teacher who gets a terminal lung cancer diagnosis, and so starts cooking crystal meth in order to pay for his treatment, as well as to set his family up with some money for after he’s gone.
We’ve pulled together some awesome Breaking Bad trivia! Here are 12 surprising facts about the show…
1) Aaron Paul got knocked unconscious by Tuco
In the season two episode Grilled, there’s a scene where Tuco is supposed to drag Jesse outside his shack and rough him up a bit. However, when Raymond Cruz, who plays Tuco, threw Aaron Paul through the screen door of the shack, the actor caught his head on the wooden frame. Disorientated, he asked Raymond Cruz to stop, but Cruz thought Paul was acting, and carried on roughing him up, before lifting him up onto his shoulder and throwing him against the shack. Paul passed out after that, because the next thing Paul remembers is the medic checking him over.
2) Nick Fury wanted a cameo
One day whilst filming a Los Pollos Hermanos scene, Samuel L Jackson walked onto the set dressed as Nick Fury. He was filming a Marvel movie right next door at the time, and he thought it would be cool for the head of Shield to sit in the background of the chicken restaurant as an extra. Gilligan declined his request.
3) A teenage boy with terminal cancer helped to shape the season’s finale
After teenager Kevin Cordasco was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he became a super fan of the show, as he loved how Walter White took charge of his life following his diagnosis. Kevin was invited to meet the cast and crew. Vince Gilligan even offered to tell him how the series ended, but Kevin refused, as he wanted to watch it in suspense with the rest of the world. Gilligan asked him what his hopes were for the end of the season, and Kevin told him that he wanted to know a bit more about Gretchin and Elliot; Walt’s former business partners. Kevin sadly passed after before the show ended, but he’s the reason that Walt visits Gretchin and Elliot in the finale.
4) Jesse Pinkman wasn’t supposed to live past episode two
In the initial script for the series, Jesse Pinkman’s character was merely there to initiate Walt into the meth trade, to then be killed off after a couple of episodes. But after seeing Aaron Paul’s take on the character, and realising the relationship between White and Pinkman would be fundamental in moving the story forwards, Gilligan realised it would be a huge mistake for Jesse to die early on, and the character became a permanent fixture in the show.
5) The idea for Breaking Bad came from a news story
Vince Gilligan was talking to Tom Schnauz – one of the writers he used to work on the X Files with, a couple of years after the hit sci fi show ended. They were discussing their unemployment, and were down about not having any writing projects on the go. Tom mentioned a news story he heard about someone that had built a meth lab in the back of his RV. He joked, ‘we should do that,’ as a way of making income. A lightbulb illuminated in Vince Gilligan’s brain, and he started to craft the character of Walter White.
6) Felina: What’s in a name?
The breathtaking final episode of the series is called Felina. But why? Well, firstly, a tape cassette of Marty Robbin’s song El Paso is playing early on in the episode. The song follows a cowboy who is in love with a Mexican girl named Felina. He kills a man in a feud for her affection, and has to leave town; exiling himself to the badlands of New Mexico. He knows if he ever goes back, he’ll be killed for his crime. But his love for Felina is stronger than his fear of death, so eventually, he goes back, to his certain peril. This song was chosen for its obvious reflection on Walt’s situation. His crimes forced him to hide out in New Hampshire. But his love for everyone he left behind drives him to go back, even though he knows he’ll die.
Felina is also an anagram of the word ‘finale.’ Another theory is that if you split the word up into Fe / Li / Na, you get the symbols for chemical elements Iron (present in blood), Lithium (present in meth), and Sodium (present in tears). In other words, blood, meth, and tears. A very shaky theory, if you ask us.
7) The Walking Dead crew zombified Gus Fring
For Gustavo Fring’s final scene, where he gets half his face blown off by a bomb, Gilligan relied on the effects department of another very popular AMC show – The Walking Dead. The same team that do the make up for the zombies worked on Giancarlo Espitos messed up face for the Season Four finale.
8) Ferris Bueller Breaks Bad
The studio was very keen to get some star power in the leading role, in the form of Ferris Bueller himself, Matthew Broderic. After Broderic turned down the role, Gilligan showed the studio an episode of the X Files, which Gilligan had been an executive producer on. The season six episode, titled Drive, starred Bryan Cranston as a man with an intense pain in his head that could only be relieved by driving West fast. The studio were sold on Cranston.
9) The meth in Breaking Bad is rock candy
The blue meth you see on screen throughout the series looks very convincing – a glass-like translucent substance that is easily crushed down into chips. But what you’re actually seeing is rock candy, and it’s all provided by a store in Albuquerque called The Candy Lady.
10) A Walt Whitman prop fetched a pretty penny
One crucial scene in Breaking Bad occurs when Hank is sitting on Walt’s toilet. He happens to pick up a copy of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, which had been gifted to Walter White by Gale Boetticher; Gustavo Fring’s chemist, and finds it’s inscribed with ‘To W.W. My star, my perfect silence,’ which Hank recognises from a journal ceased from Gale’s apartment. At this point, Hank realises that Walt is Heisenberg. The book is a key part of the series, and formed one of the biggest season finale cliffhangers in TV history. As such, the original screen-used prop sold at auction for $65,500.
11) The science in Breaking bad is fairly accurate
Most of the chemistry shown in the show is pretty accurate. DEA chemists actually taught Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul how to cook meth. The cook scenes shown on screen, though, aren’t 100% perfect, and deliberately miss out or change steps. This is so that fans of the show can’t follow the steps to successfully cook their own meth.
On an episode of MythBusters, the team debunked a scene from season one. In the scene, Jesse tries to dissolve a body in a bathtub. The acid eats through the tub, the floorboards, and a gallon of fleshy mess pours down into the hallway below. Replicating the situation with a dead pig, the MythBusters were unable to get the acid to eat through the tub.
12) A guy tried to ‘pick up’ Wendy
Wendy the prostitute appears several times throughout the series. From her first appearance where Hank shows her to Walt Jr to try to scare him off drugs, through to her last, where Jesse hires her to deliver poisoned hamburgers to the rival dealers, she certainly has some memorable scenes. The makeup and costume teams clearly did a great job making Julie Minesci look like a junkie prostitute, because when they were filming outside a shopping arcade one day, a man pulled up in a car and tried to hire her for real. The crew had to jump in.
There you have it – 12 awesome pieces of Breaking Bad trivia!