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The Breaking Bad Line That Brought A Better Call Saul Character To Life

Better Call Saul, which tells the origin story of unscrupulous lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) from Breaking Bad, does everything a good prequel should do. It fleshes out the world and characters fans are already familiar with, while giving them something new. While Saul and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) get a lion's share of the attention, Better Call Saul carves its own path by introducing new, engaging characters like Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), Nacho Varga (Michael Mando), and Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton). 

While Better Call Saul isn't afraid to introduce new ideas to the Breaking Bad mythology, the show owes a great deal of its plot threads and characters to one-off lines or moments from the original series. The first episode featuring Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad sees him getting threatened by a masked Jesse (Aaron Paul) and Walt (Bryan Cranston). Over the course of this scene, Saul brings up two names by saying, "No, it wasn't me. It was Ignacio" and "Lalo didn't send you?" While the writers back then didn't know it yet, those simple lines would give birth to two incredible characters. 

It's hard to imagine Better Call Saul without Lalo Salamanca, but apparently, if Vince Gilligan had his way, Lalo never would have made it to Albuquerque. 

Vince Gilligan felt they didn't 'need to answer every single question' when it came to Lalo

Gilligan sat down for an interview with Rolling Stone following the end of Better Call Saul season 5. The most recent season saw Lalo Salamanca come into his own as a terrifying threat who journeys to New Mexico to take control of the family drug business after Hector (Mark Margolis) suffers a stroke. He quickly became a fan favorite, but he almost didn't even appear in the series. 

As Gilligan explains, "I'm embarrassed to admit this now, but back in Season One or Two, when I was more active on the show, Peter kept saying, 'We've gotta answer who Lalo is,' and I finally said, 'I don't know that we need to answer every single question.'" It sounds like Gilligan didn't want to be beholden to what was established on Breaking Bad, but when you have a good idea, and a great actor like Tony Dalton at the helm, sometimes things are just meant to be. 

Gilligan goes on to say, "Man, I was wrong. If Peter hadn't pushed, we wouldn't have Tony Dalton. We wouldn't have this amazing character. So, some of the ones that I found the most frustrating to deal with, that I said, 'Ah, the hell with them. Who cares?' tend to be the best ones of all." 

Better Call Saul will return with its sixth, and sadly final, season sometime in 2021. Considering Lalo isn't present during the events of Breaking Bad, it will be intriguing to see how he's sent off as the series ends.