Breaking Bad Creator Vince Gilligan Discusses Alternate Endings

Spoilers if you haven’t caught last night’s series finale of Breaking Bad. Seriously, you’re going to want to watch the episode before you read this article.


The wait for the final episodes of Breaking Bad was interminable, but once the final eight began airing, things played out rather quickly. It has actually been more than 12 hours since the last episode aired, but my head is still reeling a little from all that went down. As it turns out, however, the ending that finally made it onto our television screens last night was not even remotely close to the only ending the writers kicked around.

Last night’s Breaking Bad ended on both high and low notes. On one hand, Walter White blackmailed Gretchen and Elliot and managed to secure the financial future for his family that kicked off the series in the first place. Additionally, Jesse went off into the distance, headed into the unknown. On the other hand, a whole lot of people died, Walter White included. The writers ended up killing of Heisenberg, but when they were putting together the final eight episodes, Vince Gilligan tells EW that last night’s episode was not always how the writers envisioned the series panning out.

“As the writers and I worked through all these different possibilities, it felt right, but I don’t think it was a necessity for us. There was a version we kicked around where Walt is the only one who survives, and he’s standing among the wreckage and his whole family is destroyed. That would be a very powerful ending but very much a kick-in-the-teeth kind of ending for the viewers. We talked about a version where Jesse kills Walt. We talked about a version where Walt more or less gets away with it. There’s no right or wrong way to do this job — it’s just a matter of: You get as many smart people around you as possible in the writers room, and I was very lucky to have that.”

Gilligan also mentions that the writers worked on an idea to have Jesse kill Walter in the end, which would have harkened a little bit back to all of the abuse Walt subjected Jesse to over the years, starting with the way that Walt threatened turning him in to the DEA in order to get him to help cook meth early on in the series. However, that’s not a direction that those involved with the show ultimately felt would work best.

“We talked about Jesse taking Walt up on his offer to kill him or Walt turning around to find Jesse had a gun on him. We talked about every permutation we could conceive of, and we went the way we went ultimately because the bloodlust had been satiated prior to that moment by seeing Jesse throttle Todd (Jesse Plemons) to death.”

Walt saving Jesse from the meth hellhole he was living in for months and months was the perfect way to finish off the series. Many people seem to think the way that part of the plot panned out was extremely satisfying. I’m personally really glad to hear that the writers explored a slew of finale routes before finally settling on the plot we got in the series ender. Breaking Bad, if anything, has always been an awesomely scripted drama, and it was nice to see the series end on a satisfying note.

You can check out the recap of last night’s series ender, here.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.