Why Breaking Bad Ended On Season 5, According To Vince Gilligan

Breaking Bad Walter White Felina Bryan Cranston

Breaking Bad turned ten years old this year, and Vince Gilligan has made the rounds to celebrate that anniversary. Much ado has been made about the AMC hit's already stellar legacy, including the fact that it managed to go out on a high note with that blistering Season 5 finale. As it turns out, that exit was very much by design, as Gilligan channeled his experiences working on The X-Files to remind himself not to overstay his TV welcome with Breaking Bad. Gilligan explained:

I was very anxious about the idea of folks suddenly moving on, and saying, 'Is that show still on the air? I used to watch it. It used to be good.' I'd wanted folks rather to say, 'Don't end it now!' That's what I wanted, and that's what we got, thank goodness. So it was me as much as anybody who said, 'I want to leave the stage at a high point, and not go past the high point.'

That's not to say that Vince Gilligan did not enjoy his time on The X-Files, or Breaking Bad. It just means he learned to recognize that "you don't want to leave the party too late," and he used that lesson to decide when it was time to leave Breaking Bad behind. As a result, the intense crime drama ended its five-season run in 2013 with a massive wave of fanfare. For Gilligan, Walter White dying after rescuing Jesse from the neo-Nazi biker gang was the "high point" that the show couldn't go beyond.

It also sounds like Vince Gilligan's decision to end Breaking Bad caused a slight stir behind the scenes as well. Elsewhere in his recent discussion with media outlets (via Digital Spy), the future Better Call Saul co-creator explained that the folks at the studio wanted more content because the show had just started to hit its stride (particularly following the fan-favorite fourth season). However, they also supported Gilligan's decision to ensure that the series received a proper conclusion that could round out the Walter White/Heisenberg story in a fitting manner.

This remark isn't the first time that Vince Gilligan has credited the sci-fi series with preparing him for his time on Breaking Bad. In fact, just last year he opened up and discussed how his time on The X-Files helped him learn how to wear all of the hats necessary to make Breaking Bad run like a well-oiled machine. All things considered, it seems safe to assume that the AMC drama might have never worked as well as it did without The X-Files helping lay the groundwork.

Of course, it probably helps that the Breaking Bad world didn't stay dormant for long after "Felina" aired in 2013. Less than two years alter Vince Gilligan and his crew found themselves back in action with the prequel series, Better Call Saul, and that spinoff/prequel/sequel continues to wow audiences with its increased emphasis on side characters from the Breaking Bad universe. We're still anxiously awaiting Season 4 (which could finally give viewers the Walter White and Jesse Pinkman cameos that they've been waiting for), but it also leaves us wondering how long Gilligan and his team plans to run that series for as well.

We will keep you posted with more information related to Better Call Saul's fourth season (as well as anything else related to the Breaking Bad universe) as new details are made available to us. For now, check out our midseason premiere guide to see what upcoming shows are set to debut on the small screen 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.