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'Breaking Bad' Alternatives: Vince Gilligan Considered Killing 3 Main Characters; Says One Makes It To Freedom

by Edward Davis
October 1, 2013 12:09 PM
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Breaking Bad, Season 5, Final Episode

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.

Breaking Bad, Season 5, Final Episode

"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.

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  • Bob | May 17, 2014 1:22 AMReply

    Why the hell did they ruin the show with Walt JR. (Flynn) !? Everything about this show was close to perfect and they had to throw this idiot in it just to remind us that people love to mess up good tv shows and movies.

  • justine | December 28, 2013 6:09 PMReply

    All loose ends were tied up in the series finale. Walt was going to die anyway because of the cancer and might I add he outlived it, he should've died awhile back but he held strong. I wish instead of an apartment I wish that Skylar and the kids would move in with Marie since they're both husbandless. I also think they should have actually showed that Jesse made it to Alaska and isn't going insane considering the fact that everyone he had loved died.

  • Okwe Stabinawitz | October 2, 2013 1:43 AMReply

    I think that Walt thought of himself as a god and as Jesse as his surrogate Jesus, the boy without a mother, but in reality Walt is more like the devil. I think it would have been interesting to see Walt trick Jesse into sacrificing himself for the "greater good", only to allow more evil to continue. If Walt really got a rush from operating a meth empire he would want to see his legacy continue even after his inevitable death. By convincing Jesse to sacrifice him he would have created the facade of a man dying for the sins of others, but in reality he could have used that to continue a legacy. I don't know how this could have been done, but I think that would be an interesting ending.

  • BEF | October 1, 2013 2:52 PMReply

    There are spoilers here, but obviously, I'm posting in a spoiler article ....

    I know that most of the audience wants a bloodbath and revenge, but I think it would've been better just having a horribly depressing and isolating but realistic final episode of Walter rotting away in his cabin in New Hampshire with his barrel of money, getting cabin fever; some great final episodes, but Jesse was squandered all season just to have a showdown with the ne0-Nazis who were only introduced at the start of this season (and really their connection was only introduced at the first start of season five) and weren't really that much of a threat. I liked everything about the final season except the neo-Nazi enslaving Jesse subplot, which was resolved how that needed to be, but did it need to be there in the first place?

  • CBB | October 1, 2013 2:41 PMReply

    I thought Gilligan had a master game plan but it seems he just had a bunch of ideas on how the story would end up and saw which ones the writer's room liked better. Maybe I'm idealistic but I think Weiner is very clear on how Don Draper and the people around him will change and evolve up until the last episode of Mad Men.

  • Piotr | October 1, 2013 4:50 PM

    I'm amazed that in this era of Vince Gilligans and Aaron Sorkins and Matthew Weiners that people still don't get how TV works. They can't possibly have everything planned out. TV functions in such a way that what you envision cannot possibly always make it onto the screen. Writers write only as far ahead of them as they can see. A lot depends on production necessities. The great crime of LOST is that they said they knew where it was going. They were lying -- not only to the audience but to themselves. TV writers rarely know where it's going. Good TV writers leave enough doors and windows open that they can figure out a plausible, satisfying method of moving the story forward. That's why BREAKING BAD was so genius -- they kept finding surprising, satisfying ways to move the story forward. Matthew Weiner has no idea what's going to happen to his characters in their final season. Do you think he seriously had the whole thing envisioned when he wrote the pilot script? And everything you've seen on MAD MEN thus far has been note for note from Weiner's brain? Absolutely not, brosef. Absolutely not. It's one thing to learn what a showrunner is and learn all the good ones' names, but figure out what they do, too. That will help you wrap your brain around stuff like this.

  • Sean | October 1, 2013 2:41 PMReply

    At least give a week before giving out spoilers.
    There's still people catching up, or waiting for the blu ray.
    Hell, i would even wait a month before dropping spoilers.

    At least just don't put them in the headlines and on twitter. Don't sink down to EW's shitty level.

  • CB | October 1, 2013 12:16 PMReply

    Please, be careful with spoilers in the headlines. I've seen the finale, but some fans obviously haven't. Not everyone is American!

  • Skinny Pete | October 1, 2013 12:52 PM

    It is Tuesday, and if you are not American than it is perhaps Wednesday. So, who ever has not seen it..go watch the dam thing, break bad...steel it of the internet, if it is alright with your morality and if you don't get Netflix or AMC, bitch!

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