AMC ended the run of Breaking Bad last night in a finale that was not only universally acclaimed but was viewed by over 10 million people. But while we all seemingly got what appeared to be the most fitting ending possible, series creator Vince Gilligan admitted that the ending we saw wasn’t the first one he and the writers came up with.
Be warned, if you haven’t seen the finale of Breaking Bad, there are spoilers ahead.
In the finale that aired we watch Walter White begin down the road to redemption before his life is cut short following the rescue of Jesse. While he sacrificed himself to save Jesse, managed to make amends with Skyler and avenging Hank’s death, Gilligan says that the first few endings that were kicked around saw everything from Jesse killing Walter to Walter getting away with everything alive.
“We didn’t feel an absolute need for Walt to expire at the end of the show. Our gut told us it was right. 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.
Gilligan says that he and his team eventually settled on the ending we saw as it both satisfied them as fans of the show but also seemed like the best way to end things.
The ending we got on Sunday night is still soaking in for many fans, and after seeing things wrap up the way they did, it’s hard to imagine the series concluding any other way than it did. It’s clear though that finding the proper ending to the show was something Gilligan and his writers wrestled endlessly with, which is yet another example of why Breaking Bad was and will continue to be one of the greatest things to have ever aired on television.