Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan once pitched the idea of a simple t-shirt. It didn’t go well.
We’re just a few days removed now from what was Breaking Bad‘s official 10 year anniversary, back on January 20th, and it’s hard to think of that superb, groundbreaking series these days without also thinking about all the merchandise that came from it – from hoodies to Bobbleheads to actual licensed diecast models of Jesse and Walt’s meth RV.
Believe it or not though, there was a time when no one was thinking about t-shirts much less rows and rows of assorted trinkets and toys.
While speaking to creator Vince Gilligan about Better Call Saul: Season 3’s release on DVD and Blu-ray (it’s available now at all fine retailers) the topic turned to toys and how so many scenes and costumes from the show became iconic.
“Man, I tell you, I couldn’t be more tickled,” Gilligan said. “As I’m doing this interview, I’m staring across at these four bookshelves and they are covered, top to bottom, with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul merchandise. It makes me so happy. I stare at it every day and smile, no matter what mood I’m in. And that can sound a little like ‘Oh yeah, he just sees dollar signs floating in front of his eyes.’ But that’s not it at all.”
“The best way I can put it like this is,” he said. “When we were first starting out we had, and still have, two great partners. We had our studio, Sony, and our network, AMC, and they were always very supportive of the show. But I remember distinctly, very early on, a conversation I had with two fellows who, at the time, were running the studio and I said to them – and they also loved the show, so I don’t want to make them sound like a couple of knuckleheads because they most certainly weren’t – but I said to them ‘You know what? Could Sony put out a t-shirt that had the Br/Ba logo on it? Because I think we have a few fans that would but it.’ And they sort of smiled and figuratively patted me on the head and said ‘Nobody buys that stuff.’
“Cut to: I’m looking at a wall of this s***,” Gilligan laughed. “Who knew? I mean, to be fair, I took them at their word when they said it because none of us thought the show would take off the way it did. But I love the fact that there are action figures for Walt and Jesse. We need more of them though. We need the women in there. We need Skyler and Marie. We need Hector Salamanca in his wheelchair with his little bell that rings. We need all that stuff. I love it. I’ve been collecting figures from my favorite science fiction movies and horror movies for years so being able to put these Breaking Bad figures next to my old Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth or my old Tony Montana figure from Scarface – it’s the greatest thing ever.”