A Teenage Cancer Patient And ‘Breaking Bad’ Fan Helped Changed The Show’s Ending
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The smash hit programme Breaking Bad is widely considered by critics as one of the best TV shows of all time. Over the course of six seasons, viewers are taken on a wild ride with cancer stricken chemistry teacher Walter White as he builds an incredible meth empire and loses everyone he set out to protect in the event of his death.
Credit obviously has to be given to the amazing writers who conjured up the cruel and shocking journey that Bryan Cranston's character goes on - however there's one other person who should also be given props.
Kevin Cordasco was a 16-year-old living in Calabasas who was dying from a rare cancer called neuroblastoma. He was a massive fan of Breaking Bad and his mum managed to set up a meet-and-greet with Bryan Cranston.
Cranston told Forbes: "My wife and I went to see him in his hospital. We were dreading going. But Kevin brought us up. Bright, personable, and knowledgeable, he wasn't just a fan, he was into the structure of the story, the complexity."
More of the cast went to visit Kevin in hospital and at his home, including show creator Vince Gilligan. The pair struck up an awesome friendship, with Gilligan even bringing the teenager some props from the set.
Vince recalled on the Insider Podcast about one day which changed the course of his programme: "He was such a wonderful young guy. I learned about my own show from him.
"At one point I said, 'What would you like to see on the show?'"
Imagine having a bloke who created one of the best crime dramas of all time asking you what you wanted to see happen.
Gilligan adds: "I came back and reported [what he said] to the writer's room, and it colored our perception of the show. We added something to these final eight episodes that we wouldn't have otherwise if Kevin hadn't mentioned that."
What was that incredible piece of advice from Kevin?
The teenager wanted to see more of Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz, the couple you may or may not remember from very early on in the show. In season one, we learned that Walt created the pharmaceutical company Gray Matter with the pair and he used to date Gretchen before she ended up with Elliott.
That company is worth billions, much to the dismay of Walt as he sold his share of the business for a measly $5,000.
The Schwartzes initially offer to pay for Walt's cancer treatment, but he shoves it in their face, claiming they ruined his life. The chemistry teacher however tells wife Skylar that he had accepted their offer to cover for his growing meth business.
Eventually Gretchen, when confronted by Skylar, admits they never paid a single cent towards his treatment and Walt's carefully crafted alibi starts to unravel. But we don't really see or hear much of them after that.
That's where Kevin's suggestion helped Gilligan craft the ending of his golden show.
He already looks dishevelled AF but when he makes a hand signal, two red dots appear on the Schwartz's bodies - much like a sniper dot. He instructs them to hold onto his remaining $9.2 million fortune until Walt Jr turns 18, instructing them that completing this task will 'make things right'.
Little did they know that the dots were just laser pointers being held by Badger and Skinny Pete.
Some people might argue that including that in the final product doesn't change much. Walt still would have tried to reconcile with Skylar, still would have found Jesse and still would have died, but it at least allowed him to level the long-standing score with his former colleagues.
Sure, Walt was a despicable, heartless at times anti-hero, but it was good to see him get a win before his ultimate demise.
The first episode of the final season paid a special tribute to the teen who inspired the ending with 'Our Friend Kevin Cordasco' written at the end. Vince Gilligan offered to give the script for the final episode to the teenager, but he refused saying he wanted to watch it for himself.
Sadly, he died before it aired.