‘Better Call Saul’: How Fans Helped Form the Show’s Narrative

by Josh Lanier

As fans of a show, we all hope that the creators hear our criticism and congratulations and carry that with them into their work. It doesn’t happen often, but it does in the case of Better Call Saul. So much so that they have a book of fan-made art they use as reference points for inspiration.

Better Call Saul writers pen the episodes sometimes hundreds of miles away from the sets. They’re conjuring up storylines in their minds while staring at bare office walls. It’s hard to put yourself in that place mentally to create such a rich world. So, they turned to fans for help.

Better Call Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad. The shows share several characters and a universe. So, Better Call Saul writers would often look for fan art from Breaking Bad to help get them into the right frame of mind and help them visualize the aesthetic, they told The Washington Post. They started printing out their favorites and posting them all over the writers’ room walls for reference points.

Eventually, co-creator Vince Villigan realized they needed to curate this art so their fans could more easily find it. And they can also see how they inspired some shots and looks from the series. They came up with 99.1% Pure: Breaking Bad Art, a reference to the purity of Walter White’s meth. The 232-page book features paintings, drawings, sculptures, digital artwork, and even glass mosaics inspired from the show.

Bob Odenkirk Talks About Heart Attack on ‘Better Call Saul’ Set

Bob Odenkirk collapsed last summer while filming the final season of Better Call Saul. News of his heart attack raced across the internet as people from all aspects of showbusiness stepped forward to praise the writer comedian turned actor. Odenkirk thanked everyone for their support but never explained what happened.

Odenkirk spoke about that day in July to the New York Times while promoting the final season of Better Call Saul.

“I’d known since 2018 that I had this plaque buildup in my heart,” he said. Odenkirk “went to two heart doctors at Cedars-Sinai, and I had dye and an M.R.I. and all that stuff, and the doctors disagreed.”

One doctor thought he would start taking medication immediately to break up the plaque. Another doctor told him to wait to see if it would break up naturally. Last summer, while filming a particularly hot scene in Albuquerque, Odenkirk made a decision that likely saved his life.

“We were shooting a scene, we’d been shooting all day, and luckily I didn’t go back to my trailer,” Odenkirk said. “I went to play the Cubs game and ride my workout bike [at a space where he and his co-stars regularly spent downtime], and I just went down. Rhea [Seehorn] said I started turning bluish-gray right away.”

Better Call Saul’s health supervisor was nearby and zapped Odenkirk three times with a defibrillator to get his heart back in rhythm. They rushed him to a nearby hospital, where doctors busted up the plaque with a stent.