Even though El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie offers up answers on the fate of Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Pinkman, the ending given to Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) partner-in-crime wasn’t originally the one envisioned by series creator Vince Gilligan. The movie (which star Aaron Paul revealed to Collider was originally three hours long) serves as a continuation of Jesse’s story in the immediate aftermath of the events of the 2013 finale.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gilligan opens up about the sadder, darker fate he felt should be the right ending Jesse. Despite going on record with EW back in 2013, Gilligan remarked at the time he wanted to “believe that he got away, and he’s got a long road to recovery ahead… All these terrible things he’s witnessed are going to scar him as well, but the romantic in me wants to believe that he gets away with it and moves to Alaska and has a peaceful life communing with nature.”
But, in the years following those comments, Gilligan reveals he began leaning towards a darker and sadder ending for Jesse as El Camino began to take shape. For Gilligan, the only logical outcome seemed to be showing Jesse getting caught by the cops after escaping at the end of the series finale in the titular El Camino. As Gilligan tells EW:
“As the years started to pass, I found myself wondering at idle moments, ‘How exactly did he get away? Because that’s no easy feat! And what if he didn’t get away? What if he got busted right around the next corner?'”
The Breaking Bad creator continued,
“I even played with telling that story in a movie, and luckily smarter brains prevailed. The people that I love and trust, starting with my girlfriend Holly [Rice], said, ‘You cannot have Jesse Pinkman get busted at the end of this thing. You cannot go that route.’ And I said, ‘Okay. All right, honey.’ I’m glad I listened to her and I listened to [Breaking Bad executive producer/Better Call Saul co-creator] Peter Gould and the Better Call Saul writers.”
Breaking Bad fans everywhere should be sending out some big thanks to Gilligan’s girlfriend, Holly Rice, as well as his colleagues because imagining a world where Jesse didn’t escape the law and find his own version of peace is just too unbearable and frankly, way too sad. In a series that gave space to exploring who is allowed redemption, it’s arguably a good call that Jesse be allotted some in the end.
If you’re a Breaking Bad fan jonesing for more on this spinoff movie event, here’s our breakdown on the ending and some big Breaking Bad cameos and connections. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is available on Netflix.