The X-Files came creeping back onto our TV screens on Sunday, January 24th, and we don't think we could have waited a minute longer. Mulder and Scully, back again? New cases? New monsters? Skinner?! Be still our spooky hearts! There are few shows that are up to the same level of obession that X-Files existed on, one being the classic tale of science-teacher-turned-drug-lord, Breaking Bad. But, is there a reason why we love the two so equally? Maybe because the creator, Vince Gilligan, worked on The X-Files from 1995 to 2002. Or maybe because over a dozen actors have been featured in both shows. OR maybe because Gilligan snuck in a handful of X-Files-themed Easter eggs in Breaking Bad for all the superfans to catch. We got so excited finding all the connections between the two shows, that we decided to make an infographic that details them all!
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The X-Over: The X-Files Influence on Breaking Bad Transcript
To say that The X-Files was an influential TV show is a bit of an understatement. Over-arching mythology plotlines, paranormal "Monster of the Week" type episodes, a skeptic/believer lead character duo—these are all motifs that The X-Files helped make popular in many shows that have followed, such as Lost, Supernatural, Bones, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, there was one show that was influenced more than any other by The X-Files—Breaking Bad. The two series shared many key writers and directors, including Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, and over a dozen actors. This infographic shows you all of the people that worked on both shows, as well as a few fun references to The X-Files that the writers worked into episodes of Breaking Bad.
- The X-Files: Patrick Crump
- Episode: Drive
- Breaking Bad: WalterWhite
- Walter White is the face you picture when you think of Breaking Bad, but before he was the drug kingpin Heisenberg, Bryan Cranston played the lead in The X-Files episode Drive, which was written by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan.
- The X-Files: David Winkle
- Episode: Lord of the Flies
- Breaking Bad: Jesse Pinkman
- In the 9th season of The X-Files, Aaron Paul played a stupid teenager doing stupid things in the episode Lord of the Flies, which seems like a pretty believable precursor to the role of Jesse Pinkman. This episode was written by Breaking Bad writer Thomas Schnauz.
- The X-Files: U.S. Marshal Tapia
- Episode: F. Emasculata
- Breaking Bad: Hank Schrader
- In The X-Files, he played government employee U.S. Marshal Tapia. In Breaking Bad, Dean Norris played government employee DEA Agent Hank Schrader. Typecasting?
Michael Shamus Wiles
- The X-Files: The Black-Haired Man
- Episodes: The End, En Ami, The X-Files: Fight the Future
- Breaking Bad: ASAC George Merkert
- Wiles appeared as The Black-Haired Man, a cohort of the suspicious Cigarette Smoking Man, in two episodes of The X-Files, as well as the first movie. His character was less sinister in Breaking Bad, where he played Hank's boss, ASAC George Merkert.
- The X-Files: Eladio Buente
- Episode: El Mundo Gira
- Breaking Bad: Tuco Salamanca
- Would you rather have to deal with a psychotic drug kingpin named Tuco or the legendary monster El Chupacabra? Either way, Raymond Cruz played them both, the first in Breaking Bad and the latter in The X-Files.
- The X-Files: Cesar Ocumpo
- Episode: Redrum
- Breaking Bad: Tortuga
- Episodes: Negro y Azul, I.F.T.
- One of the most memorable images from Breaking Bad was Danny Trejo's severed head on a tortoise (how could you forget?). Trejo had previously played a creepy murderer in The X-Files.
- The X-Files: Game Warden
- Episode: Existence
- Breaking Bad: Spooge's Lady
- Episodes: Breakage, Peekaboo
- Speaking of memorable moments in Breaking Bad, the ATM-crushing scene ranks high up there. Dale Dickey got to be in the scene, as well as some less-gory ones in Existence, from the 8th season of The X-Files.
- The X-Files: Harry Odell
- Episode: Salvage
- Breaking Bad: Mr. Gardiner
- Episodes: Down, Caballo Sin Nombre
- Dan Desmond played salvage yard Harry Odell in a late episode of The X-Files, and went on to play Mr. and Mrs. Pinkman's attorney in a couple of Breaking Bad episodes, in which he advises Jesse's parents to kick him out of his aunt's house.
- The X-Files: Stunt performer
- Breaking Bad: Emilio Koyama
- Episodes: Pilot, Cat's in the Bag
- John Koyama played Jessee's former business partner, Emilio, in the first few episodes of the series, eventually showing what lengths Walt was willing to go to in his new life. In The X-Files, John worked as a stunt performer.
- The X-Files: Dwight Cooper
- Episode: Surekill
- Breaking Bad: Uncle Jack Welker
- Todd's uncle Jack led the white supremacist gang that really shook things up for the Breaking Bad crew in the last season. The actor who played him, Michael Bowen, was also in an episode of The X-Files that aired while Vince Gilligan was producer.
- The X-Files: Priest
- Episode: The X-Files: I Want to Believe
- Breaking Bad: Elliott Schwartz
- While Adam Godley was only in three episodes, his role as Elliott Schwartz, Walter White's ex-business partner, played a huge part in why Walt turned out the way he did. Godley appears as a priest in The X-Files: I Want to Believe, luckily not convincing Mulder and Scully to cook meth.
Cast Members (Not Pictured):
- The X-Files: Doctor
- Episode: Field Trip
- Breaking Bad: Lawson
- Episodes: Live Free or Die, Thirty-Eight Snub
- The X-Files: Injured Soldier
- Episode: Providence
- Breaking Bad: Train Conductor
- Episode: Dead Freight
Michael Bryan French
- The X-Files: Military/Reporter
- Episode: Deep Throat
- Breaking Bad: Doctor
- Episode: I See You
- The X-Files: Motel Manager
- Episodes: Mind's Eye, The Pine Bluff Variant
- Breaking Bad: Michael Kilbourne
- Episode: Open House
- The X-Files: Desk Sergeant
- Episode: Tithonus
- Breaking Bad: Juan Bolsa
- Episodes: I.F.T., I See You, Hermanos
- The X-Files: Writer, Producer
- Breaking Bad: Creator, Showrunner
- Vince Gilligan started working as a writer and producer for The X-Files in 1995 and co-created the spinoff series The Lone Gunman. In 2008, Breaking Bad premiered, and Gilligan's creation went on to be considered one of the best TV shows of all time.
- The X-Files: Writer
- Breaking Bad: Writer, Director, Producer
- Thomas Schnauz worked with Vince Gilligan in the last season of The X-Files, as well as The Lone Gunman. After that, he worked on Breaking Bad and that show's spin-off, Better Call Saul.
- The X-Files: Director, Producer
- Breaking Bad: Director, Producer
- Michelle McLaren won 3 awards for her work on Breaking Bad, but first worked with Vince Gilligan on The X-Files from 2000-2002. She also directed episodes of Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul, and was originally set to direct the Wonder Woman movie.
- The X-Files: Director, Writer, Producer
- Breaking Bad: Director, Writer, Producer
- John Shiban worked with Vince Gilligan on The X-Files in seasons 3 through 9. After that, he teamed back up with Gilligan on Breaking Bad in seasons 2 through 4, as well as The Lone Gunman.
References in Show:
- The X-Files: This brand was smoked exclusively by the Cigarette Smoking Man throughout The X-Files series.
- Breaking Bad: In Pilot, Jesse Pinkman's partner Emilio is seen smoking a Morley cigarette in the famous RV.
- The X-Files: The nickname of the Cigarette Smoking Man, the show's main villain.
- Breaking Bad: The name of the fourth episode in the first season.
- The X-Files: Shares the last name of a minor character mentioned in the episode Tithonus, written by Vince Gilligan.
- Breaking Bad: The name of one of the main characters in the show.
- The X-Files: A time commonly seen on clocks throughout the series.10/13 is the birthday of Chris Carter, The X-Files' creator, as well as Fox Mulder's birthday and the name of Carter's production company.
- Breaking Bad: In the episode Box Cutter, the potato clock in Gale Boetticher's apartment shows 10:13 at the time of his death.
Cradock Marine Bank
- The X-Files: Mulder's bank, shown in episodes Monday, The Amazing Maleeni, and Surekill.
- Breaking Bad: The bank that lawyer Dan Waschberger deposits Fring's former employee's hush money.
- The X-Files: Mulder and Scully's car rental company of choice, referenced throughout the series.
- Breaking Bad: The company that Patrick Kuby used to rent the van he filled with Walter White's cash in episode Buried.
- The X-Files: In the episode El Mundo Gira, actor Raymond Cruz plays a character named Eladio Buente, who may or may not be Chupacabra.
- Breaking Bad: In the episode Fifty-One, there is a scene in which a picture of Tuco Salamanca, also played by Raymond Cruz, is labeled with the name Eladio Buente.
Sources: davidtharwood.com, x-files.wikia, breakingbad.wikia
Pretty impressive, no? Also, doesn't it make you want to go back and rewatch both TV shows from start to finish? You can live-tweet us your marathon, if you want! We also have some cute X-Files pop vinyls on the site, as well as Breaking Bad Gifts, too.
Design Credit: Abby Bartels