Movies & TV / News

Vince Gilligan Originally Had a Sadder Ending to El Camino (Spoilers)

October 15, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

WARNING: Spoilers follow for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.

Vince Gilligan has revealed that his original ending for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie ended worse than the final version did. Gilligan spoke with Vulture about the film, which released over the weekend on Netflix and follows up on the events of Breaking Bad. The film ends with Jesse Pinkman making it to Alaska to start a new life, but according to Gilligan there was a much more depressing finale at first.

According to the show creator, he did consider alternate endings. “I like irony in storytelling,” Gilligan said. “I love ironic twists. Once I had set about coming up with this movie, for the longest time I had it in my mind that the thing we wanted most to see was for Jesse to escape. And the thing he wanted most to do was escape. So I was trying to concoct a plot in which, hero that he is, he saves somebody else — somebody I would have introduced as a new character into the movie. Because he’s such an innately heroic character in my mind, he saves someone at the end of the movie and he willfully gets himself caught knowing that it’ll save this other person. At the end of the movie, he’d be locked in a jail cell somewhere in Montana or someplace. And he would be at peace with it. It was all this very interior, emo-type, very dramatic stuff.”

Gilligan noted that the reception among family and co-workers to that ending turned him around on the idea, noting, “I pitched it to my girlfriend, Holly, and she said, ‘Are you out of your mind? You can’t have him in a jail cell at the end. You got to let him get away. People will riot.’ I said, ‘No, don’t you get it? It’s art. It’s artistic.’ And then I said, ‘No offense, you’re not a writer. I respect you, of course, and I love you. But you’re not a writer.’ And then I went the next day and pitched it to Peter [Gould] and the writers of Better Call Saul, and they all looked at me in silence. They said, ‘Are you crazy? He’s got to get away at the end.’ [Laughs.] As the saying goes, if enough people tell you you’re drunk, you need to sit down. So I dispensed with that idea.”

The film is currently available on Netflix.