Showrunner Vince Gilligan has talked previously about the writing process for Breaking Bad‘s final season and the many, many potential endings that he considered before finally settling on Walt rescuing Jesse and then dying in a meth lab. Previously mentioned alternate endings include one where Jesse kills Walt, another where Walt is the only survivor and an ending where Walt more or less gets away with his crimes.
Speaking in an interview with Entertainment Weekly on the subject of Breaking Bad and upcoming spin-off Better Call Saul, Gilligan was once again asked about the ending that he eventually went with and the other finale ideas that had been dreamt up.
“We really had boxed ourselves into a certain number of corners well in advance of the ending. Out of cockiness or stupidity, 16 episodes from the end, we had Walter White show up in a beard, long hair, and a new set of glasses, buying an M60 machine gun in a Denny’s parking lot. We didn’t really know how we were going to get to that story point — we didn’t even know what that meant or what Walt was going to use that machine gun for. So that was kind of ill-advised.”
The way Gilligan describes the process for creating the show’s finale makes it sound almost like an exercise in a creative writing class, where he and the other writers found themselves with a Point A and a Point B and had to fill in the space in between. By that point in the show, however, it had become customary to open each season with a flash-forward prologue, and there were probably much tighter corners that Gilligan could have painted himself into.
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