The one thing every Breaking Bad fan can agree on is that they love Jesse Pinkman. He's the show's resident loveable junkie and drug dealer, but he almost didn’t last long enough to become a fan favourite. Series creator Vince Gilligan originally had an entirely different plan for Aaron Paul’s character, and it was only an unexpected writer’s strike that saved his bacon.
Gilligan’s plan had been for Walter White’s protégé to meet his end in season one’s final episode at the hands of maniac drug cartel leader Tuco, but the 2007 strike by the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) cut the show's debut season short at just six episodes, rather than the originally intended nine.
In the gap between sasons one and two, Gilligan and his production team decided that Jesse was too great a character – and Paul too great an actor – to discard after just a handful of appearances. The decision to keep the character alive spurred the show onto true greatness, Jesse’s moral disillusionment growing as a mirror to Walter’s ever-increasing thirst for power and legacy. Were it not for a strike and an unexpectedly short first season, Breaking Bad would have been very different, and probably so would Paul's career.