The mastermind behind Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Vince Gilligan has revealed that the hate fans feel towards Skyler White troubles him as the character “did nothing to deserve” it.
Fans of Breaking Bad, arguably the best show of all time, have been on somewhat of a rollercoaster for the last few months. First, it was announced that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul would reprise their roles as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman in the prequel series, Better Call Saul.
Then Giancarlo Esposito – the actor who plays Gus Fring – teased that a Breaking Bad spinoff focusing on his character was on the way. A few weeks after that, the bittersweet final episode ever of Better Call Saul aired and left fans feeling satisfied but saddened because it was over.
Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul creator Vince Gilligan then broke everyone’s hearts and said Esposito was mistaken – no more shows or films set in the ‘Breaking Bad universe’ are on the way; a sentiment echoed by Paul.
And now Gilligan is defending the most hated Breaking Bad character: Skyler White. Skyler, played by Anna Gunn, was Walt’s wife in the series and during the original run, the character (and eventually Gunn herself) faced immense backlash.
In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Gilligan spoke about the backlash and why it “troubled” him.
“Back when the show first aired, Skyler was roundly disliked. I think that always troubled Anna Gunn. And I can tell you it always troubled me, because Skyler, the character, did nothing to deserve that.”Vince Gilligan
Gunn has been rather outspoken about the hate her character received over the years. She wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in 2013, which details how she believes that the hatred for Skyler is rooted in sexism and misogyny – “Most people’s hatred of Skyler had little to do with me and a lot to do with their own perception of women and wives.”
Even Paul doesn’t understand the Skyler hate. In 2018, Paul asked EW, “Why did our audience not sympathise with this poor woman?” Gilligan thinks the answer lies in the way that Breaking Bad was presented – through Walt’s perspective.
“I realize in hindsight that the show was rigged, in the sense that the storytelling was solely through Walt’s eyes, even in scenes he wasn’t present for. [But] even Gus, his archenemy, didn’t suffer the animosity Skyler received. It’s a weird thing. I’m still thinking about it all these years later.”Vince Gilligan
Perhaps if Gilligan changes his mind about creating more series set in the Breaking Bad universe, he can write a show about Skyler’s life after Walt. And maybe then, fans will finally no longer loathe the character. We won’t be holding our breath though…