Two Depressing Breaking Bad Endings Vince Gilligan Thought About Using

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Warning: Breaking Bad spoilers ahead! Don't read any further if you don't know how the AMC series ends!

Breaking Bad arguably has one of the most satisfying series finales of all time, with Walter White thoroughly decimating a group of Neo-Nazis, freeing Jesse from his captivity, leaving his family with a small percentage of his fortune, and dying peacefully in a meth lab. That said, things almost didn't end that well for him. In fact, series creator Vince Gilligan recently opened up with the rest of the Breaking Bad writing team while discussing the show's 10th anniversary and admitted that one initial pitch for "Felina" involved having Walt be the last man standing after everyone he loved had been killed. Per Gilligan's recollection:

I remember one afternoon, somebody said --- and I was kind of into it for a while --- 'Wouldn't it be really ironic if Walt is the only one to survive this?' Because it does seem so obvious that Walt should expire at the end of the final episode --- but maybe he's the only one left alive. Maybe he still does have a death sentence, but we go out on him alive, and maybe his whole family's been wiped out. That would have been really fucking dark.

As dark as Breaking Bad ever got (and the show did get very dark at times) it arguably never went that far. That said, Vince Gilligan and his team almost saved their darkest trick for last by leaving Walt -- by all accounts, the character whose life was most consistently on the line throughout the show -- as the only remaining character. The proposed finale would've killed Skyler, Walt Jr., Jesse, and everyone else, leaving him with nothing more than a crumbled empire. "Felina" had a notable body count, but that would've been something else altogether.

That wasn't the only ending considered by the folks behind Breaking Bad. Writer Sam Catlin continued in the discussion with Variety and addressed another possible conclusion that involved Walter quietly dying and not leaving much of an impact on the world around him. Catlin said:

There was debate about that, and there was one pitch that he would die ignominiously on a gurney in a hospital, sort of pushed aside as a John Doe while life continued without him. I think the thinking behind that was, so much of what he chased was a sense of status and a sense of importance. It would have been more grim for him to be just tossed aside and overlooked at the end.

Thematically speaking, that's precisely the opposite of the ending that Walter White ultimately got. Vince Gilligan and his team were eventually able to pay off that Season 5 tease of the M60 machine gun in grand fashion, and Walter was left to be found by the police -- thus cementing his place as one of Albuquerque's most notorious criminals. None of these endings would necessarily be ideal for the average, non-murderous person, but I think it's safe to say that Walt got a more peaceful sendoff than he potentially could've when the team sat down to crack the "Felina" story.

Although Breaking Bad has come to an end, this world created by Vince Gilligan continues to thrive. Make sure to stay tuned for more updates related to Better Call Saul's highly-anticipated fourth season, and hop over to our midseason premiere guide for more information on all of the shows debuting this spring.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.