Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Breaking Bad: The Writer's Guild Strike Wound Up Being A 'Godsend' For Vince Gilligan

"Breaking Bad" is often hailed for its intricate and suspenseful writing that consistently keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Vince Gilligan, the mastermind creator behind the series, penned more than a few riveting episodes that further Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) twisted tale. However, the road to the iconic show's eventual Emmy success was actually a bit rocky at first and was unexpectedly saved by the 2007 Writer's Strike.

In Esquire's extensive history of "Breaking Bad," an interview with Gilligan revealed how the strike ended up helping the creator. He empathetically acknowledged the efforts of the writers before delving into its benefits amidst his own inexperience, "It was a terrible time for so many people, the strike, but for me it was a godsend. I had never run a show before, and by the tail end of our first season, I was spending time in the wrong place. I should have been in the writer's room [in Los Angeles], and instead I was 800 miles away on the set in New Mexico, picking wardrobe, location scouting, talking to directors." While this is all extremely important to the responsibilities of a showrunner, Gilligan noted he should've been more focused on the scripts instead.

With that in mind, the timing of the Writer's Strike was tremendously helpful in sparing the "Breaking Bad" crew from shutting down entirely. With Esquire, Gilligan continued to explain how the strike surprisingly became a saving grace.

The timing of the strike saved Breaking Bad's production cycle

As "Breaking Bad" headed into its planning, pre-production phase at full force, Vince Gilligan realized he had a problem. The scripts for the first season wouldn't be ready by the scheduled date, which would result in a halted production that could have costly effects. He told Esquire that while he was attending to his showrunner duties on location, his talented team of writers were attempting to work through the remaining episodes in Los Angeles, but were still coming up short.

In an ironic stroke of luck, the beginning of the Writer's Strike gave them the unanticipated break they desperately needed. At Esquire, Gilligan divulged, "At just about the time we would have had to shut down for lack of scripts, which in those early days might well have been a death knell for the series, the WGA went on strike, thus saving my a**, for which I will be forever grateful." This gave the crew a mandatory stopping point that doubled as a chance to catch their breath. It even saved the show from cutting into production costs or falling behind schedule, which could've put the future success of "Breaking Bad" in jeopardy.

Who would've guessed that two seemingly separate events would have such an intricate connection? Thankfully, the timing worked out perfectly and gifted the world the beloved and volatile series.