Bob Odenkirk Reveals Saul Goodman’s Original Fate And We’re Glad Plans Changed

Bob Odenkirk talked to Jimmy Fallon about how he was only supposed to play Saul Goodman for four episodes of Breaking Bad.

By Douglas Helm | Updated

bob odenkirk better call saul

Bob Odenkirk has been a supporting character and the lead character in two of the best television shows of all time — AMC’s Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul –, but things could have gone a very different way. On a recent The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon appearance, Odenkirk revealed, “I was supposed to do 3 to 4 episodes [of Breaking Bad],” adding, “then it turned into my whole life.” Check out his interview with Fallon below:

That would have been tragic enough if Bob Odenkirk’s tenure on Breaking Bad had been shortened even a little. But even worse, we likely would have never got the spin-off series Better Call Saul if he only ended up being a bit character in the flagship show. It’s great that showrunner Vince Gilligan realized what he had and expanded Odenkirk’s role as he did.

Bob Odenkirk is far from the only ‘what if’ from the Breaking Bad cast, as plenty of the main characters almost ended up being bit parts. Perhaps the most shocking example is Aaron Paul‘s Jesse Pinkman, who was initially only going to be in the first season. Pinkman ended up being the soul of the show, and imagining a version of the series without him is almost impossible.

This trend doesn’t even stop with Bob Odenkirk and Aaron Paul, as Jonathan Banks’ Mike Ehrmantraut was only going to be a small role that turned into something much bigger in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Arguably, you could say that Ehrmantraut was one of the main characters in Better Caul Saul, as we followed his storyline as often as we follow Jimmy, Kim Wexler, Nacho, and Gus Fring. Again, it would be hard to imagine either series without these two characters.

Bob Odenkirk

Bob Odenkirk more than proved his dramatic chops in series like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, and the actor’s career has dramatically changed since appearing in these shows. While Odenkirk was initially best known for his amazing comedic abilities in Mr. Show, he’s now getting roles in every genre imaginable. He broke expectations again when he proved he could be a badass action hero in 2021’s Nobody.

Although Bob Odenkirk has two Primetime Emmys to his name that he shared with the writing teams for Saturday Night Live and The Ben Stiller Show, he has amazingly yet to win for his performances in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. While it’s understandable that he may not have had enough significant dramatic moments to win an Emmy in the former series, it’s a major point of contention with Better Call Saul fans that he hasn’t won for his nuanced portrayal of Jimmy McGill. While he has received numerous nominations, he and the rest of the cast have been robbed of wins each season.

That will hopefully change with the next Emmy ceremony, as the second half of the final season is up for awards one last time. If you want to see why his performance is Emmy-worthy, you can stream all episodes of Better Call Saul when the final season hits Netflix in April. You can also see Bob Odenkirk in Breaking Bad, which you can stream in full on Netflix.