Bryan Cranston Talks BREAKING BAD Season 5 and Beyond; Says He’d ‘Rather Quit a Year Early Than a Year Too Late’

     August 12, 2011

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Yesterday I was on the Toronto set of Sony’s Total Recall remake.  While everything on Recall is embargoed until closer to its 2012 release date, we’ve been given the all clear to post what the cast said about their other projects.

During a group interview with Bryan Cranston, I asked his thoughts on the future of Breaking Bad and if the next season (season 5) would be its last.  As most Breaking Bad fans are quite aware, creator Vince Gilligan has stated numerous times that he thinks “season five should probably be our last season.”  However, recent rumblings of AMC wanting to possibly lower the number of episodes and Sony sending feelers to other networks about picking up the show makes every Breaking Bad fan nervous that Gilligan won’t have the authority to end his show when he wants.  According to Cranston:

“I would rather quit a year early than a year too late. I don’t wanna have an asterisk next to this, you know ‘Breaking Bad: Five good years and one mediocre one.’”

Hit the jump for more.

breaking-bad-character-portrait-bryan-cranstonDuring the interview, Cranston also talked about the delicate balance between the showrunner and the networks that pay for the content.  He also knows the most important thing is having Gilligan figure out when he wants to end the show before any other decision can be made.  He said:

“Knowing when to end it is key. But that being said, it is commerce still. We have to be good hosts and guests and working partners with Sony TV and AMC so that if we support them and negotiate a time and out-date that is satisfactory to Vince, I’m sure it’ll work well, and if it’s satisfactory to AMC and Sony we can all be happy. The best thing to happen would be for Vince to know exactly when he’s done, because then he can write to it. We don’t wanna finish a season and [have the network go] “Oh that was your last season,” and then we go, “Oh, we didn’t finish it. We didn’t finish the story.””

Like many of you, I think Breaking Bad is one of the best shows on any channel and Cranston’s work as Walter White is extraordinary.  While I’d love the show to last for another few years, I also agree that it’s much better to go out on top.

Here’s the full quote on Breaking Bad.

Question:  What are your thoughts on this upcoming season of Breaking Bad being the last season and the whole thing with AMC wanting to cut the episode order down?

Cranston: [Showrunner] Vince Gilligan and I have talked about this, when I first signed on, and we both are in agreement that it should be only as long as it needs to be to tell that story and the journey, but that’s a subjective comment. So how long’s long enough, how long is too long? You know what I mean. Not really knowing where Vince sits—it depends on when you ask him too, because when he’s up to his eyeballs in work and editing and he hasn’t had a break in a year and a half is a different story then if he just got back from a holiday and he goes, “Hey let’s go for three more years!” But like a proud athlete, I would rather quit a year early than a year too late. I don’t wanna have an asterisk next to this, you know “Breaking Bad: Five good years and one mediocre one.” I don’t wanna have people go, “You know that last one…” They talked about The X-Files that way. There’s a lot of series that you can point to it and say, ”For the bulk of it [it was] good.” Knowing when to end it is key. But that being said, it is commerce still. We have to be good hosts and guests and working partners with Sony TV and AMC so that if we support them and negotiate a time and out-date that is satisfactory to Vince, I’m sure it’ll work well, and if it’s satisfactory to AMC and Sony we can all be happy. The best thing to happen would be for Vince to know exactly when he’s done, because then he can write to it. We don’t wanna finish a season and [have the network go] “Oh that was your last season,” and then we go, “Oh, we didn’t finish it. We didn’t finish the story.” If it’s 20 episodes, if it’s 16 episodes, if it’s 24 episodes, I don’t know whatever, if it’s two more years, great. My personal feeling is I think we can go two more years of 13 episodes a piece. I think we can, without slowing down or getting into a rhythm that is not Breaking Bad’s style. But when it’s over it’s over, and we’ll hold true to it. I’m not gonna wake up and find out it’s not really cancer, “These aren’t your charts! I’m sorry” (laughs).

For more with Bryan Cranston, click here for what he said about his role in director Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages, how he got cast in director Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive, his role in director Andrew Stanton’s John Carter, and revealed that he’s planning on writing and directing author David Wiltse’s Home Again as a feature film when he can fit it into his schedule.  In addition, Cranston told us that he almost played Kevin Bacon’s role (Sebastian Shaw) in X-Men: First Class.

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