AMC’s “Breaking Bad” got a new ending over the weekend as Netflix premiered “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” a feature that effectively served as an epilogue as Aaron Paul’s long-suffering Jesse Pinkman got a more definitive ending for his character.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR “EL CAMINO”
The series ended with Jesse’s escape from the neo-Nazis who had imprisoned and tortured him, driving off towards a fate unknown. “El Camino” picks up right where that left off, showcasing Jesse’s actions from suffering from PTSD to trying to find a way to start a new life – ultimately getting across the border in Alaska with a new identity and a fresh start.
Series creator Vince Gilligan reportedly planned a much darker ending originally for the film, an idea that everyone around him advised against and so he dumped it. His original cut of the film clocked in at three hours and also had a second alternate ending – one closer to the actual one we got. Now that the film’s out, Gilligan and Paul have spoken with Vulture about the longer cuts and the other endings.
Gilligan years ago said the plan for years was that Jesse would get away to Alaska and lead a simpler life, but he began to second guess himself saying that when he originally crafted “El Camino,” Pinkman would sacrifice himself to help another new character escape:
“I like irony in storytelling. 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’s girlfriend Holly Rice, producer Peter Gould and the writers of “Better Call Saul” all told him it was a bad idea so he dumped it. So came the ending we got, though Paul has revealed to Collider there was one other change made from the final cut – this time a voiceover which was removed.
According to Paul, Jesse’s final drive towards Alaska would have had a voiceover of the letter he penned to Brock (Ian Posada), the son of his slain girlfriend Andrea Cantillo (Emily Rios). Paul ays: “It’s heartbreaking, it’s beautiful, just honest. But Vince just thought, ‘You know what? Maybe it’s best left unknown.'”.
“El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” is now streaming on Netflix.