More ‘Breaking Bad’ Alternate Endings Revealed by Vince Gilligan

Published 12 months ago by

Breaking Bad poster with Jesse and Walt More Breaking Bad Alternate Endings Revealed by Vince Gilligan

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Breaking Bad ahead.


When AMC’s enthralling crime drama Breaking Bad finally came to a close after five eventful seasons, its two main characters were changed men and there was a whole lot of blue meth in Albuquerque. Fans sat through a nail-biting climax where it seemed that any or all of the main characters could be killed off, and if things had gone just a little differently in the writers room then they may well have been.

Showrunner Vince Gilligan has talked previously about the writing process for Breaking Bad‘s final season and the many, many potential endings that he considered before finally settling on Walt rescuing Jesse and then dying in a meth lab. Previously mentioned alternate endings include one where Jesse kills Walt, another where Walt is the only survivor and an ending where Walt more or less gets away with his crimes.

Speaking in an interview with Entertainment Weekly on the subject of Breaking Bad and upcoming spin-off Better Call Saul, Gilligan was once again asked about the ending that he eventually went with and the other finale ideas that had been dreamt up. Gilligan admitted that he regretted setting up pieces of the finale so far in advance, because when he was establishing a certain scene he had no idea what the context for it would eventually be.

“We really had boxed ourselves into a certain number of corners well in advance of the ending. Out of cockiness or stupidity, 16 episodes from the end, we had Walter White show up in a beard, long hair, and a new set of glasses, buying an M60 machine gun in a Denny’s parking lot. We didn’t really know how we were going to get to that story point — we didn’t even know what that meant or what Walt was going to use that machine gun for. So that was kind of ill-advised.”

The way Gilligan describes the process for creating the show’s finale makes it sound almost like an exercise in a creative writing class, where he and the other writers found themselves with a Point A and a Point B and had to fill in the space in between. By that point in the show, however, it had become customary to open each season with a flash-forward prologue, and there were probably much tighter corners that Gilligan could have painted himself into.

Breaking Bad Walt assembles machine gun More Breaking Bad Alternate Endings Revealed by Vince Gilligan

As it was, the machine gun scene left a wide range of directions for Gilligan to take the show in – some of them very dark indeed. Given that the show had earned a reputation for shocking moments, high tension and major character deaths, many fans were steeling themselves for an ending where Walt, Jesse and every other major character in the show was killed. As Gilligan relates, that ending was definitely on the table.

“In those final months and weeks of breaking the end of the Breaking Bad story, anything and everything was fair game and open for discussion. We talked a great many times about killing off Saul and we were open to it. We would have done whatever it took to come up with the best, most satisfying ending to Breaking Bad, including killing off Saul.

“At one point, we talked about killing off every major character, and one particularly dark week along the way we talked about killing everybody — having some sort of Wild Bunch bloodbath of an ending. But you live with those ideas for a while and you think, ‘What do we need to kill all these characters for?’ Just because an ending is dramatic or perhaps overly dramatic does not ensure that it will be satisfying.”

Breaking Bad Jesse in chains More Breaking Bad Alternate Endings Revealed by Vince Gilligan

Breaking Bad season 5 did not go well for Jesse, and that’s saying a lot considering everything he’d been through in previous seasons. By the time ‘Felina’ rolled around he was literally in chains and being forced to mass-produce meth for a group of white supremacists. According to Gilligan, Jesse nearly ended up in a more conventional kind of prison, where Walt’s M60 machine gun would have been his only hope.

“The question always came up: ‘What the hell do you need a gun that big for?’ We had an idea for the longest time that Walt was going to break into the downtown jail in Albuquerque and just shoot the s— out of the jail with this M60 machine gun and rescue Jesse. Of course, we kept asking ourselves, ‘Well, how bad is Walt going to be at the end here? Is he going to kill a bunch of upstanding, law-abiding jail guards? What the hell kind of ending is that?’ And then we had some version of it where he’s going to shoot up a prison bus. We had so many crazy ideas.”

It’s definitely interesting to hear that Gilligan shied away from finishing up the show with Walt as a total monster, and instead decided to give him a little bit of closure and redemption. It’s also just as well that he decided not to opt for the Wild Bunch ending and have everyone – including Saul – killed off in the finale.

Do you have other ideas for how Walt could have used that machine gun in the Breaking Bad finale? Share your thoughts on these possible alternate endings in the comments.


Better Call Saul is expected to begin airing November 2014 on AMC.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
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  1. Vince Gilligan stole Breaking Bad from me.

    • And you’re a dumbass.

  2. I thought Better Call Saul was a prequel, so it could have still happened if Saul died at the end.

    I would have loved them to do an ending where Marie died though, haha.

    • Ah, so I see you removed that part after our comments. Thanks for the credit, haha :P

  3. Better Call Saul is a prequel, so it would have been fine to kill him in the finale.

  4. Better Call Saul is be a prequel. Saul dying would not be a big issue

  5. I thought better call Saul was going to premiere on Netflix?

    • Wwwwwwwrrrrrooooonnnngggggg!

      • well, he’s not totally wrong. It’s premiering on Netflix for Latin American and European audiences after the finale airs in the US. And it’ll be available to US audiences on Netflix shortly after.

  6. Personally, I always thought it would end with him killing Skyler since that would have REALLY indicated just how much of a monster he had become since he was now killing the reason he went down that dark path in the first place. And I also thought he would have been killed by Hank ever since the scene in the impound lot with Hank pulling the tape off the bullet holes in the door and the light shining through like shots on Walt’s chest.

  7. Only once in the entire run of the series did I think the writers dropped the ball after writing themselves into a corner.
    It was the premiere of the final season when they had to use the giant magnet to erase the info on Gus’s computer. That was the only time in the series that I thought something was a bit corny.
    Other than that time after time I was amazed at how many times they seemed to be backed into a corner with no way out only to come up with an amazing turn to rectify the situation.
    My favorite. The episode when Hank showed up where the RV was being kept and Walt and Jesse were inside. I thought there was no way to get him away without it being silly but having Saul’s secretary call Hank and say Marie was in the hospital was brilliant. So simple but so brilliant.

  8. Am I crazy to think that Hank should have looked the other way?

    He seemed to be forgiving with all of Marie’s craziness but when Walter tried to explain why, Hank would not have it, even if he benefited from Walt’s money (and he would have been dead earlier had Gus not warned him).

    I didn’t like that Walt Jr. couldn’t forgive his dad, he was so mad over the death of his uncle Hank but Walt did so much for his son and his family. I also wish Jesse was more aware of how much Hank did for him, Walt didn’t have to rescue him, but he did (and that wasn’t the first time).

    • Hank got shot because of walter, so if it wasnt for him he wouldnt of needed that money. Same for jesse, if it wasnt for walter he wouldnt have been in that situation.

    • Big difference man, walt was killing people left and right, plus he was straight up lying to hanks face for basically a year as hank came to him with info on the case. By the way, Hank getting blasted was the most shocking thing for me. He was a vital Character and then out of nowhere gets blasted by some piece of white trash. The line where he says “Your the smartest guy I know, but your too dumb to see hat he made up his mind 10 minutes ago” and then BOOM!! What a show!!

  9. i am very pleased jessy got out alive. that character went through so much crap in the later seasons. i really wanted walt and jessy to work together a lot more but when it seemed they were starting to get along they were back at each others throats again.

    i get it that its not hanks story but i would have loved the ending scene to be hanks funeral but i cant complain.

  10. theres an anime called death note that is kinda similar to breaking bad. the main character is a villain and he gets this note book that when he writes names into it that person dies.

    its really amazing. and definitely rivals breaking bad, its not as deep and theres isnt massive character development like breaking bad but its really enjoyable none the less.

    the mind games and the back and forth with the main character and the guy trying to catch him is amazing and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

    • Did you really just compare Death Note to Breaking Bad?

      • no i suggested something similar. and i clearly pointed out that BB is better.

      • I kinda see where he is getting that idea, both are “good people” that discover something they are good at which leads them to becoming the villain. Both start working with the person trying to capture them to get info on the case and to always stay one step ahead. And in the end both characters die. So I see the comparisons that Corey_1993 made

      • Is not crazy to have stablished the similarity. I also did it. Mostly with the confrontation of intelects between Walt and Gus, obviously resembling the Light-L fight.

    • What the holy hell? How could you compare Death Note to Breaking Bad?

      Breaking Bad>any anime

      • You cant really compare a single piece of art and then says its better then a form of art that’s like saying a single spider man issue is better then any painting, or iron maiden is better then any cartoon.

      • I’m just going to say Dragonball z just a smashed mouth anime with no storyline that is more beloved to this day after 20 years of being released is more worldly known then Breaking Bad. Although I did like the show :D

        • pokemon gets a little like breaking bad to at one point

        • Dragon ball Z is not more well known then breaking bad, unless your a 10 year old!

    • There are loads of animes that rival BB, but Deathnote? Ha, no.

      • Like Code Geass for example.

  11. I thought they might go with the cancer spread to his brain and that’s why he was acting crazy ending. I am glad they didn’t go with that.

  12. I would have liked to have seen Walt rape Marie and Jesse. Unleash the monster, I say!

  13. From the flash forward I did think he could give the ricin to Lydia because of the delivery method (the stevia) but I couldn’t really imagine what the big gun was for, I could only guess a last stand type of situation. I was happy with the end they went with, it must have been the best of the many options they considered. Now one can only wonder how different it would all have been if they hadn’t boxed themselves in with the flash forward.

  14. I hate Walt so much, what he deserved is the betrayal and hatred.
    But He saved Jesse finally, so I forgive him.

  15. I thought it was a perfect ending. I think it would have been really cool to see jesse kill Walt but I understand why Vince Gilligan didn’t do that.

  16. I think the ended as it was ..was ok..but should have been left open ended…not knowing for sure if Walt was totally dead..then a little flash forward and the blue stuff is popping up in Europe …and you see someone that may be Walt from behind Europe…and the show ends.

  17. and also..Walter wasn’t the monster..Jessee was lol..Walter loved Jessee..Jessee messed it all up…even Gustav warned cant trust a junkie.

    • Walt has no heart, he is the big monster, he is a drug dealer and he kills people without regret.

      • and Walt needs to die.

  18. The ending could have been Walter getting revenge on the rednecks by adding some toxic concoction to their meth. It would have somehow mutated and become infectious and spread across the world. People begin dying in droves and come back as zombies. The final scene is a zombie stumbling into a hospital where Sheriff Rick Grimes is just waking up in his hospital room.

    • lol..awesome.

    • Now THAT my friend would be insane. Not as an official ending but a alternate.

  19. What’s up all my breaking bad fiends. Jus finished watching some old episodes 209 210, anyone else thought Walt was doing his product a lil bit. Forcing son to drink standing up to hank and then working on water heater replacing wood below house.kinda on one nonstop? Hint hint hidden secret? I’m I jus high or not?

  20. I thought the ending was perfect because in a way it kind of left it open that if they wanted to continue the seriesyou never really know that Walt died the cops could have just got there and taking him to a hospital maybe he livedat least I hope that’s in the back of their mind they can make that workgoes to prison gets out 10 years later

    • Walt would get life in prison, not 10 years. He’d be found guilty of mass murdering the white supremacists,not to mention all the drug dealing charges. Even if he did by some unbelievable stretch of Hollywood’s imagination get only 10 years, he’d certainly die in prison due to his lung cancer. Sorry, but that ending just isn’t probable.

  21. I find it fitting how Walt was first diagnosed with lung cancer just after turning 50. When diagnosed he’s told he has “2 years at most”. The show then ends on the night of his 52nd birthday, exactly 2 years later. Don’t know if anyone else noticed this

  22. The ending was perfect. Walt, not being dead would be pointless since he has got cancer. Also some of you people didnt get the finale, all its purpose was to show that walter actually has a heart and didnt completely lose it. On jesse’s end i can imagine him taking care of brock and get better with time.
    I wish to see skyler dead tho since i hate that b****
    code geass cant be compared either. I dont even talk about death not man are you guys serious? If there is one thing that can remind of breaking bad, its friggin crime and punishment by dostoyevsky go read it. Crime and punishment is certainly better tho.

    • You’re a dick. I don’t think there’s anything more to be said to you.

  23. Damn Sherm, I never picked up on the possible “fore shadowing” of hank shooting walt, but now after looking at the RV scene one more time. Your right. I think they were messing with the idea some where down the line, it just never came out right.

  24. There were indications early on, i.e. Walt deciding to go down the road paved with blue meth, that he was becoming unbalanced. It was important to keep him human, though. His agonizing over things that “had to be done” was very important to the story but an ending that occurred to me was to have Walt sink slowly into Alzheimer’s disease and maybe end like Hector Salamanca. He wouldn’t even have had to actually die.

  25. Just finished watching it, what a show!

    He could have simply wanted the gun and ammo to trade with badass dealers or cartel folk for more methyline or Jesse or something?

  26. …I was sad to see Jesse treated so badly in the last couple of episodes, but at least he eventually made it out alive, to whatever destiny awaited him…. Breaking Bad has been, in my experience, the best television ever made, but I would have made one small change to the series, that would have made all the difference. There would be no cops showing up in the drug lab as Walt collapses to the floor at the very end. The way it was shown, Walt is either dead or (since he is not conclusively shown as being dead on the floor) in prison. I wish they had left enough ambiguity to allow us to feel that there was some chance, however small, that Walt managed to crawl out of that lab and survive in some way, a little bit longer. Yes, he was a monster, and yes, he deserved to die, but I still can’t help rooting for him to go on a little bit longer.
    (BTW….I just watched the final 2 episodes tonight…it’s very sad that Heisenberg’s story is finally over.)

  27. Alternate Ending:

    After credits scene shows Walt in a gurney in the back of an Ambulance appearing to be staring lifelessly past the camera. Sound is a seemingly indiscernible distant song playing at first. It gradually fades in as the camera pans from Walt’s face towards the front ever so slightly. Breaking Bad die hards recognize this song to be TwaughtHammer – Fallacies as the camera finally pulls through the windshield rotates 180 and shows none other then Badger and Skinny Pete in the front seats dressed as EMTs in the midst of another TV show rant. [A closer look reveals Huell's unmistakable figure sitting in one of the back Ambulance seats.] The final 5 second sequence is centered back on Walt’s face, now staring menacingly into the camera with his Heisenberg persona, ending abruptly after he blinks.

    • i would have loved to see more heroic ending where flynn shoots walter and skyler commits suicide and marie follows

  28. In Breaking Bad. Jesse and Walter kidnap saul and take him into the desert and threaten his life. saul starts yelling something like ” oh no please it wasn’t me it was Ignacio!” and he starts speaking in Spanish assuming that Walter and Jesse are Mexicans because they have ski masks on. If the writers of better call saul do not incorporate Ignacio into the show then the show will be an absolute failure