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The One Thing Vince Gilligan Wishes He Could Change About Jesse In Breaking Bad

"Breaking Bad" is considered to be a perfect television show, so it's hard to imagine any changes actually resulting in a better series. The neo-western that focuses on the meth trade first debuted in 2008 on AMC and catapulted the cable channel's ratings to new heights, alongside "Mad Men" (via IndieWire), and even today, "Breaking Bad" continues to be a fixture in pop culture, spawning a sequel film focused on Jesse Pinkman's (Aaron Paul) redemption and a spin-off prequel series, "Better Call Saul."

While "Breaking Bad" may seem like it was a methodical, fully mapped out series, creator Vince Gilligan toyed around with multiple alternate stories as the series was in production. One example? An axed storyline involved a series of flashbacks that would have taken place a century ago, following the exploits of a New Mexico cowboy (via Entertainment Weekly). The flashbacks would mirror events happening in the present. This framing device was scrapped to create more screen time for the leads. Another key plotline that was abandoned involved Jesse dying at the end of Season 1, which would have radically changed the direction of "Breaking Bad." After all, the narrative post Season 2 was largely built around Jesse and Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) contentious relationship. 

This isn't the only change involving Jesse that Gilligan has pondered over. Looking back, the series creator has admitted that he wished he could have changed a major component to the character's backstory to accommodate "Better Call Saul."

Vince Gilligan wishes he made Jesse older in Breaking Bad

In an interview with Decider, "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan opened up about not involving Jesse in the Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) spin-off. The primary reason Jesse couldn't be around is that during Saul's solo stint, Jesse would have been a teenager in high school, and his young age would make it difficult to bring the character into the prequel series. 

"I wish Jesse Pinkman hadn't been in high school during the events of Better Call Saul," Gilligan admitted to the outlet, when asked about changes he and Gould would make to accommodate Saul's origins. 

"Better Call Saul" has consistently featured cameos from "Breaking Bad," so expecting Jesse to pop up wouldn't have been too difficult — if he was older. Of course, having a high school student fall into hijinks with criminals of the sort Saul Goodman gets involved with would've strained credibility and tainted Jesse's established arc. That said, Gilligan did ponder ways that Jesse could have fit in the prequel series. "Unless he was like the Ferris Bueller of meth, or something; if he was like a prodigy," Gilligan said. 

It's unclear just how much of Jesse's character in "Breaking Bad" would have been different if he was older. The meth manufacturer's most vulnerable moments came from him being thrust into a world of crime at an early point in his adulthood. Having the character be older, potentially in his late 20s, could have undermined his redemption both in "Breaking Bad," and subsequently "El Camino," his solo film.