California teen Kevin Cordasco requested to know more about the characters after meeting with the AMC show’s creator and stars after he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer.
A family friend contacted actor Bryan Cranston, who plays Walter White — the chemistry teacher who begins to cook methamphetamine after his own lung cancer diagnosis in the show’s first season.
The show makes clear that part of White’s motivation for building a multimillion-dollar drug empire is based on his feelings of inadequacy after the tech company he’d helped found 25 years earlier with friends Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz was now worth $2 billion.
Cordasco met with Cranston, some of his costars and showrunner Vince Gilligan, who was impressed by the teen’s knowledge and understanding of the award-winning show and its themes.
“I think he was our number one fan ever for Breaking Bad,” Gilligan said. “He was so smart and astute about the show.”
Cranston and Gilligan said they initially dreaded meeting the ailing teenager, but he quickly won them over with his spirit and intelligence, and Gilligan brought Cordasco to meet with the show’s writers.
“He was such a wonderful young guy,” Gilligan said. “I learned about my own show from him. At one point I said, “What would you like to see on the show?”
Cordasco said he’d like to learn more about Elliott and Gretchen, played by Adam Godley and Jessica Hecht, who had appeared in only a couple of episodes early in the show’s run.
“I came back and reported [what he 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.”
The characters made their return to the show in its penultimate episode, setting in motion White’s return from a self-imposed exile to tie up some loose ends in the final episode.
Gilligan said plans were in place to fly Cordasco to Albuquerque for a cameo appearance, but the teen died before the scene could be filmed.
Cordasco also turned down an offer by Gilligan to learn the main characters’ fates in the Breaking Bad finale, which ultimately aired Sunday night, but he said the teen told him he’d prefer to watch the series unfold on television.