Gilligan: That was actually two different shots married together digitally. Our special-effects crew did the explosion in one take, blowing the door off its hinges with these immense dump tanks filled with pressurized nitrogen. Then we reset things and proceeded to do 19 takes of Gus stepping out into the hallway. I was probably being a little persnickety, but I wanted the camera to hit the right spot at just the right moment. I was probably trying to be Stanley Kubrick a little too much, given our schedule and budget.
Esposito: I showed Vince three or four mannerisms I always do with Gus. Straightening the tie was the best, the cleanest. With Gus, it's all about order.
Gilligan: In the script it read: "He's a man to the last." Perhaps it's just muscle memory that the last action Gus Fring would take would be to straighten his tie.
Cranston: When I was a kid, I lived with my grandparents for a year in Yucaipa. My grandfather was an old farmer and he made me and my brother cut the heads off chickens. And yes, sometimes they'd get out and run around without a head. That's the image I had of Gus. Even without half a head, he's still moving, straightening that tie, defiant until the end.
'Dead is dead'
After fans speculated that Walt's partner, Jesse (Aaron Paul), hadn't actually murdered apprentice chemist Gale at the end of Season 3, Gilligan didn't want there to be any doubt about Gus' demise. And yet …
Esposito: People didn't believe Gus could be killed! There were all these theories on Facebook and Twitter. "Remember how he dealt with the poison when he killed Don Eladio? He had a doctor and blood and teams of people working on him." Uh, no.
Gilligan: I wanted Gale's death to be as concrete as possible, but it confused some people. I figured this time around, I better make it damn clear that this guy's a goner. We blew off half his face! He's not coming back! Bank on it!
Esposito: Immediately after the episode, people ask me, 'Are you dead?' And I'd go, 'Dead is dead,' and I'd give them a wink. I don't do that anymore. Dead is dead to me. Yes, it's possible Gus might turn up in a flashback. I haven't heard anything.
Gilligan: [Long pause] Anything is possible. [Nervous laugh]
Esposito: I've changed. I've moved on. I'm not saying it was easy. But Gus is an icon. I don't want to mess with that because it's characters like that, ones where everything in the universe lines up just so, that shouldn't be messed with. Let him rest in peace.