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Better Call Saul's Final Season Was Nearly Canceled Following Bob Odenkirk's Heart Attack

After seven years, AMC's "Better Call Saul" is getting ready to rest its case, with just a handful of episodes left to air in the show's 6th and final season. But for Bob Odenkirk and everyone else involved, those last several episodes almost never even happened.

"Are we going to have to be careful of pushing him too hard?" co-creator Peter Gould remembered asking himself in a June 2022 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Gould was looking back on when Odenkirk suffered a minor heart attack while filming an episode of "Better Call Saul" in New Mexico on July 27, 2021. Despite the health scare, the man behind Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman wanted to jump right back into the fray after making a full recovery.

"Bob was all ready to go," Gould said. "In fact, when he was still in the hospital, he was calling me and saying, 'Maybe you should send me some scripts.'" But Odenkirk and the "Better Call Saul" production team hit a roadblock, along with other snags that nearly prevented them from doing Season 6.

Gould says there wouldn't have been a Season 6 without Odenkirk

According to Peter Gould, Bob Odenkirk's wife Naomi was against the idea of throwing the "Nobody" actor into the "Better Call Saul" deep end so soon after his health scare. Then there was the issue of the cast and crew having to deal with the trauma of seeing Odenkirk go down while on set (via People).

"We shut down for a little while, obviously," Gould told The Hollywood Reporter. "We all had access to counseling, and we were all waiting for the news of how he was doing ... When we found out he was going to come back, we didn't know what it would be like." Describing the reaction from Odenkirk's wife to his plea for scripts, Gould said, "[Naomi] was in the background saying, 'Don't send scripts.'"

Luckily for fans, Season 6 of "Better Call Saul" was a go, though Gould stressed that it wouldn't have been possible to push forward without Odenkirk. "I don't know if I've answered the question about backup plans, but there can be none," he concluded. "We wouldn't have had a show. We would've scrapped the whole thing." 

Looking back on the heart attack he suffered in 2021, Odenkirk said that he barely remembers anything about the medical emergency or what happened in the ensuing week-and-a-half, but has since learned to be more grateful for his life situation in general. "I think people do have epiphanies when they have a near-death experience, and oftentimes, it's 'I have to change something,'" he told Hoda Kotb during an appearance on "Today," as quoted by People. "And I think my epiphany is I have to appreciate what I have, because it's really great and I have really great people around me."