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Bob Odenkirk Thinks Walter White Would've Died Sooner Without Saul Goodman (& He Makes A Good Point)

"Better Call Saul" fans have noticed that the show's Season 6 hints Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) might have more to do with "Breaking Bad" main character Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) rise to the top of Albuquerque's meth circles than the original show makes apparent. In an interview with Deadline's Contenders TV, Saul's influence as Walt's majordomo was once again brought to the table as "Better Call Saul" actors and creators discussed the show's universe. 

Interestingly, Odenkirk — who obviously has a fairly big dog in the "How influential is Saul Goodman?" fight — had his own spin on the assessment that Saul was an instrumental force in Walt's journey as Heisenberg, to the point that the Walter White as the Albuquerque underworld came to know him was only possible because of Saul's influence. In fact, Odenkirk felt that Saul didn't actually influence Walt's persona and trajectory per se, but his underworld know-how certainly prolonged Mr. White's life.  

"I think that Walter White would've still been Walter White without Saul, he just wouldn't have lived as long, obviously. He would've had a shorter run," Odenkirk said. "[But] I think Breaking Bad is the mothership. That's how I feel about it."

Saul's criminal connections helped keep Walter alive

Though it's easy to see the "Breaking Bad"-era Saul Goodman as a comedic character, "Better Call Saul" drives home just how much Jimmy McGill had to go through to acquire the contacts and skills he needed to function as Saul. As such, Odenkirk makes an excellent point when he considers the famously criminal lawyer an important person in keeping Walt alive as long as he did. 

Walt is a notoriously inexperienced criminal when he starts out, which combined with his characteristic arrogance would likely make short work of the chemistry teacher-turned-meth kingpin if he wouldn't have Saul's vast knowledge to rely on. Even with Saul's aid, Walt manages to be thoroughly overwhelmed on multiple occasions. Without the lawyer's assistance, this would very likely lead to his death at the hands of either the cartel proper or Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), assuming that they'd have time to catch up with him before some street-level criminal gets the best of him. 

Even if Walt somehow managed to survive his criminal activities without backup from Saul until "Breaking Bad" Season 5, it's worth noting that Saul is the only reason he has access to Ed "The Disappearer" Galbraith (Robert Forster). Ed's services are able to keep Walt alive and free for far longer than he'd likely manage otherwise — and judging by how long Saul himself holds off as Cinnabon manager Gene Takovic, Walt could potentially still be in the land of the living if he'd chosen to maintain his cover.