Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, who wrote and directed sequel movie El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie as followup to the series finale, says he went out of his way in the Netflix movie to include a scene confirming the fate of Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Breaking Bad ended with Walt, bleeding out after taking a hit from a stray bullet fired by a machine gun of his own creation, lying dead on the floor of a meth lab as police moved in. In El Camino, set immediately after Jesse Pinkman’s (Aaron Paul) escape from captivity just minutes before Walt’s death, Gilligan inserted a radio news bulletin aimed at viewers who interpreted ambiguity in Breaking Bad’s final seconds.
“There’s a thing that people may miss, because the obvious thing to me is that Walt did expire at the end of Breaking Bad. To me, that scene is about hearing explicitly the news that Walt is dead,” Gilligan told Rolling Stone. “On purpose, you don’t hear that anyplace else in the movie. That is the one time we explicitly state that Walter White is not in a hospital room somewhere recuperating from his gunshot wound.”
Besides confirming the off-screen death of neurotic drug business associate Lydia Rodarte-Quayle (Laura Fraser), the news update definitively states — once and for all — Walt didn’t make it out of Breaking Bad alive.
“I did that because if I had a dollar for every time I hear from someone, ‘What happened to Walter White at the end of Breaking Bad?’ I always have a smile on my face, I’m not going to insult our bread and butter, the fans, but secretly, I’m like, ‘Did you not watch the thing? He’s lying there dead with his eyes glassy and opened, and the cops are prodding him with their guns. How did you miss that?’” Gilligan said. “I get it, people are not stupid. It’s high praise, in a weird way: They want more. They want Walt to survive so he can go onto chapter two. So I figured it was probably the right opportunity to spell out that Walt was indeed dead there; it wasn’t all a dream, he’s not lying there wounded and gonna take a Dixie cup and a paper clip in his room and escape to a helicopter or something. That’s it! His story is over.”
Gilligan also noted the flashback sequence between Walt and Jesse, set in a diner in the vicinity of the events of Season 2 episode “4 Days Out,” is the last time he expects Cranston and Paul to appear together as Walt and Jesse.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and all episodes of Breaking Bad are available to stream on Netflix.