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On January 20, 2018, Breaking Bad turned 10 years old, and the AMC series has become increasingly iconic for its role in TV's golden era. Both then and now, it's not hard to understand why. Many have tried to pinpoint exactly what makes the show as good as it is, and according to Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, who helmed a few memorable Breaking Bad installments, it's the amount of thought put into Walter White's arc.
I think the seriousness and depth with which it took its characters is the thing that really makes it stand apart for me. And that's where the power of it comes from. Obviously, starting with Walter White, there's just very few stories that are told on that scale, that have a character who is that deeply considered at the center of it. And I've heard people describe it as Shakespearean, and I know that word gets tossed around a lot, but I think in this case it really does apply. And that speaks, not so much to the fact that he goes to a dark place, but the fact that his entire journey is so deeply resonant, because it's so deeply considered.
Other shows have arguably delved into more complicated storytelling than Breaking Bad has over the years, but as Rian Johnson put it to IGN, the thing that set the AMC series apart was its commitment to keeping Walter White at the center of its story. Many dramas eventually shift focus and scope to accommodate a more big-picture scale, and while Breaking Bad did ultimately get bigger, the creative team never lost sight of the importance that Walt's arc remain front and center from start to finish.
Rian Johnson knows what he's talking about more than the average person in a situation like this. After all, he directed "Fifty-One," and "Ozymandias," and both of which are widely regarded as two of the best Breaking Bad episodes of all time. He also got behind the camera for "Fly," considered one of the series' most polarizing episodes. Johnson spent those episodes delving heavily into different segments of Walt's journey, so he has a fairly intimate understanding of the thoughts that went into making the character and his story as memorable and successful as possible.
Of course, with all of the praise for the mental work that drove Walter White's arc between Breaking Bad's pilot and the events of "Felina," it's worth noting that creating the show did not come without its share of creative hurdles. While speaking out about Breaking Bad's anniversary, Vince Gilligan recently noted that the team had to work their way out of several storytelling jams -- particularly with the Season 5 tease of the machine gun, as well as how to kill Gus Fring while making it feel earned. But Rian Johnson is correct in noting that Breaking Bad's legacy is intact because the show still never lost sight to where it wanted to take Walt.
Breaking Bad may have come to an end, but the adventures in Albuquerque's criminal underworld aren't over yet. CinemaBlend will bring you more information related to Better Call Saul's highly-anticipated fourth season as more details become available to us. Until then, you can hop over to our midseason premiere guide!