The series finale of “Breaking Bad” was changed after the family of a dying California teen contacted the star of the AMC show.
Before he passed away in March from brain cancer, Kevin Cordasco, 16, met with Bryan Cranston, who plays star meth cook and king pin Walter White. Cordasco never got to see the show’s final season.
Cordasco met with Cranston, his costars, and the show’s creator Vince Gilligan, when they quickly realized he was a superfan. He knew the show backwards and forwards.
“I think he was our number one fan ever for Breaking Bad,” Gilligan said. “He was so smart and astute about the show.”
“He was such a wonderful young guy,” Gilligan added. “I learned about my own show from him. At one point I said, 'What would you like to see on the show?'"
It was Cordasco’s dream that two characters from season one return to the show to help fans understand just what changed in Walter White since he walked away from a billion dollar tech company he founded 25 years earlier. Not only did Walt feel intense inadequacy over the incident, he couldn’t even accept money from his old partners Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz in order to treat his lung cancer.
“I came back and reported [what Cordasco said] to the writer’s room, and it colored our perception of the show,” Gilligan said. “We added something to these final eight episodes that we wouldn’t have otherwise if Kevin hadn’t mentioned that.”
Cordasco was an astute storyteller. Motivation might be one of the most important aspects of a character and personal history holds the key.
Gilligan had planned to fly his to Albuquerque to make a cameo appearance, but he died before the scene was filmed.
He also offered to let Cordasco decide the fates of Walt and his partner Jesse Pinkman, but he turned it down. The teen said he’d rather see how the series unfolded on its own.
Cordasco suffered from neuroblastoma for most of his life.
The premier of the final season, which aired in August, was dedicated to him.
“Kevin was just one of those people who meant a lot to the show,” said Melissa Bernstein, Breaking Bad’s co-executive producer.