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The Huge Character Who Was Never Supposed To Be In Breaking Bad

While most people will excitedly proclaim their favorite show to be "the best TV show ever," few series to hit television airwaves have had so many people heap such a title on them as the gritty AMC crime drama "Breaking Bad." Dark and suspenseful, the show followed the rise and fall of mild-mannered chemistry teach Walter White (Bryan Cranston) from out-of-luck cancer patient who becomes a criminal to help his family survive to meth kingpin whose obsession with the purity of his product was matched only by his determination and the lengths to which he would go to survive.

While the story "Breaking Bad" tells primarily focused on Walt's arc and overarching journey, viewers are introduced to several other rich and colorful characters along the way. He turns to former student and meth user Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) for help getting his enterprise started. Of course, he only knew Jesse was the right man for the job after seeing him escape a bust when doing a ride-along with brother-in-law and DEA agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris). Hank was married to Walt's sister-in-law, Marie (Betsy Brandt), who was a kleptomaniac and just couldn't get the fact that her husband collected minerals, not rocks. And Marie was, naturally, the sister of Walt's wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), who's having an affair and eventually helps Walt with his drug empire. And that's not even mentioning the antagonists.

When it comes to antagonistic characters, "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan probably had to work extra hard to craft villains that were worse than the series' lead character. From white supremacists and cartel assassins to a sociopathic bumpkin and a fried chicken restaurant magnate, "Breaking Bad" had plenty of baddies — but one of these characters wasn't part of the plan from the jump. Here's the huge character who was never supposed to be in "Breaking Bad."

The character Gus Fring was created as a fill-in villain

While he'll go down in history as one of the greatest villains in television history, Gustavo "Gus" Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) was never supposed to be a part of the "Breaking Bad" story. In an interview with Digital Spy, series creator and showrunner Vince Gilligan touched on characters like Aaron Paul's Jesse Pinkman whose presence grew based on the actors' performances. He mentioned Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz) was meant to be the big bad for all of Season 2, but the actor's contractural obligation to work on "The Closer" meant he would not be able to continue on with "Breaking Bad." 

"So he became unavailable to us and we thought, 'Man, we're never gonna have a character as good and interesting as he was', but we then thought to ourselves, 'Why don't we go in the complete opposite direction?'" Gilligan said. The result was Gus Fring, the soft-spoken, buttoned-down psycho whose terror lie in how calm he was while being utterly cold-blooded and brutal. 

Giancarlo Esposito revealed he almost didn't take the role in a 2013 interview with TIME. The reason for his reticence? The offer was a guest spot and he wanted to be able to craft a character with depth. "So after the second season, Vince called me on season three and offered me seven [episodes] and there was some negotiating and I ended up doing 12." Esposito said. "I wanted to create a character who became intrinsic to the show."

So, not only was Gus never meant to be, his initial conception was meant to be even smaller than the arc he eventually had. "Vince told me that I changed the game and raised the bar for the show," Esposito told TIME. "And I'm proud of that, but I could only do that because of the depth of the writing and due to the chemistry between Bryan Cranston and myself.