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In a move that almost sounded like pure fiction when it was first rumored, Netflix and AMC are bringing a Breaking Bad follow-movie to fans. It turns out that, despite Aaron Paul's denials and misdirections, El Camino is indeed a real thing and is heading to Netflix later this year. While rumors were initially unconfirmed, we now know for sure the sequel film will follow Paul's Jesse Pinkman as law enforcement attempts to track him down.
Beyond being exciting, the TV movie will expand the lore of the Breaking Bad franchise, and may even connect the original series more deeply to its spinoff Better Call Saul. For those that raised eyebrows and wondered if this writer is on some of that Blue Sky, hear me out.
How Could El Camino And Better Call Saul Link Up?
A few Breaking Bad fans may be scratching their heads at the mere suggestion of El Camino directly connecting with Better Call Saul, and it's understandable. Better Call Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad, so to a casual viewer or someone who doesn't watch the series it wouldn't make sense that it could possibly connect with a movie that is technically a sequel to the AMC series.
Those that do watch Better Call Saul know that there are brief moments in the series where we see Jimmy/Saul in the future. The former lawyer is living a new life as Gene the highly stressed out manager of a mall Cinnabon. Gene lives in fear that his past will be exposed, and is frequently looking over his shoulder in fear that he'll be exposed. It's a sad life, and definitely a far cry from his life as Saul Goodman.
Gene is definitely paranoid and maybe a little overtly cautious about someone important discovering his past life, but there's reason to suspect his paranoia isn't completely unwarranted. A scene in Season 4 showed a very paranoid Gene hustling away from a cab driver he had a very bad feeling about, though the scene ended before we could see if he was in any real danger, and Better Call Saul didn't reflect on it again.
Even if he wasn't, it would be hilarious for Better Call Saul fans to see Gene go to such lengths to protect his identity and remain anonymous only to randomly bump into Jesse Pinkman out in the real world. Or, it'd be even better if Jesse hired someone to track down Saul, though one would have to wonder why he would. What use could a former lawyer in hiding be to Jesse? I guess that would be the story!
Why Is Vince Gilligan Choosing To Do A Jesse Pinkman Follow Up Now?
The most suspicious thing about the timing of El Camino is that Vince Gilligan had a chance to tell the ending of Jesse's story for a long time now. Hell, he could've done it right at the finale, or at least could've confirmed for fans that Jesse found safety after escaping the compound.
For the record, Vince Gilligan has given interviews about Jesse's fate post-Breaking Bad for quite a while now. He seemed to have a pretty good idea of where things ended up for the character even back then, so why not just tell people that's what happened? Do we really need an expansive story tying up the end of Jesse's adventure? I mean, yes, but if it's a simple as Jesse's life post-Breaking Bad, it doesn't seem like the type of premise Gilligan would cover without a lot of nuance.
Also, let's keep in mind that while we have an arrival date for El Camino (October 11), while the release date of Better Call Saul Season 5 is a mystery. Is that because part of Season 5 is tied to the events of El Camino? Obviously, we have no idea if that's real, but if there was a tie-in between Saul and El Camino, it would be best to let the movie introduce that element in order to drum up excitement for the next season of Better Call Saul.
Take a potential Jesse Pinkman storyline and pair that with the fact that Better Call Saul Season 5 is about to have Bob Odenkirk's character go "full Saul," making now the perfect time to rope back in all the Breaking Bad fans who may have passed on Better Call Saul when it beganl Granted, a movie is a pretty expensive means of promotion for a season, but it is a handy way of getting rid of all the backstory that would be needed in a season had Jesse just shown up at Gene's doorstep.
How Could Saul Goodman Help Jesse Pinkman?
Perhaps the biggest question to answer in this mystery is why would Jesse Pinkman want to find Saul in the first place? Probably not for a discount at Cinnabon, and tracking him down would be seemingly more trouble than it's worth. If Jesse did find Saul, would he even bother to reach out?
It depends on the situation he's in. The El Camino teaser trailer confirmed that Jesse is a wanted man by law enforcement, with Skinny Pete in rough shape, so he may be seeking out the help of Saul's guy that 'helps people disappear.' Then again, if Jesse was able to track Saul down, logic would dictate that Saul's guy wasn't as good as advertised. I certainly wouldn't hire a guy to help me disappear if I was able to track down one of his targets even by chance!
What if Jesse is tired of running and wants Saul's help in negotiating the terms of his surrender? That's probably something any normal attorney could do, but bringing Saul in would only expose him. While that might be a nice and moral story, it wouldn't make a lot of sense.
What if, instead, it was Saul that found Jesse? A big part of the character's future of Gene deals with the paranoia and mundane nature of the life he must now lead. It's a strange arc, especially considering that Better Call Saul's main story shows that there was always a part of Jimmy that was Saul Goodman, and that despite his best efforts, he couldn't change that.
It feels like the person Gene really is will come to the surface eventually, and it already has in some ways. The scene in which Gene shouted legal instructions to a teen being arrested at the mall comes to mind. If Gene were to spot Jesse, would he gamble it all with a former colleague and try to make one big play at a better life and get back out on top? I'm inclined to think this scenario, even if Jesse Pinkman isn't involved.
So, will El Camino tie in with Better Call Saul? Post your own reasons for why or why not in the comments, and be sure to check out El Camino on Netflix on Friday, October 11, to see if there's any crossover. Also, continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more theories on the world of Breaking Bad, and for the latest news in television and movies.