6. One idea for the ending was Walter going “Rambo”
As Gilligan has said in the past, part of the writing strategy was “planting flags”—i.e. either a flash forward or a key moment that you know would come into play later. The writers would plant that flag and then work towards it. One of those flags was the M60 machine gun that Walter bought at the beginning of season 5 and how it would be used. Obviously, Walter ends up utilizing it in a MacGyver like fashion in “Felina,” the finale episode, but there were lots of other ideas thrown about. One of those options was “The Rambo” version.
"The closer we got to the end we realized how Walt’s cancer would resurface and how sick Walt would be. That felt wrong for Walt to go out brawn over brain, go out like Rambo. Walt on his best day was never Rambo,” Gilligan said. And so late in the game they switched to the “MacGyver” version which was more in keeping with who Walt was. In another version, or a “ghost alternative” as Gilligan likes to call it, Walter mowed down a bunch of cops with the M60, but thankfully cooler heads prevailed. “We had versions that we talked about for instance where the police come to get him. He uses it on the police. But we didn’t like that. It just didn’t seem right.”
“I pitch [some of these ideas] and a lot of them probably sound ludicrous [to the folks listening]. And I hope they do sound ludicrous. The worst thing would be I’m saying all this and people [think], ‘Oh man, that woulda been so much better.’"
7. What’s the final moral take on how Walter White dies in Gilligan’s mind? Well, it’s part redemption, but it’s not entirely cleaning the slate either.
“As bad a guy as he’s been and as dark a series of misdeeds as he has committed, nonetheless it felt right, satisfying and proper to us that he went out on his own terms. He went out like a man. In this final episode, he does not undo all the damage he has wrought. He does not expiate his sins, there’s just too many of them, it’s impossible. On the other hand, given the limited way he could ‘make good.’ He basically ‘makes good’ as best he can. He gets the money—what’s left of it, he gives one seventh of it to his family.”
Thoughts? Should Gilligan keep a few more things to the imagination? What's your take on his position on Walter White's demise? Should they have have gone with any of these ideas? Are you glad they were discarded? Sound off below.