There’s an argument that, when viewed in its entirety, the TV show Breaking Bad constitutes the best American movie of the 21st century so far. Following the end of the show, creator Vince Gilligan promptly reunited with a number of collaborators to create a prequel series so good that it’s often referred to by fans and critics as even better than Breaking Bad. When it was announced that Gilligan and co. were working on a movie project set in that world, it set fans' imaginations ablaze.
One of the most remarkable things about both shows has been their ability to create vastly detailed characters who come to feel like real human beings within a larger-than-life story. There are some characters that fans of the shows can’t wait to see again in the upcoming movie. (Though there's still some ambiguity, it's generally accepted at this point that Aaron Paul's Jesse Pinkman will be returning.) As well as a few characters who should probably stay where they were left. Here’s five characters we hope to see in the upcoming Breaking Bad movie and five who can stay away.
10 Can Stay Away: Ted Beneke
The one-time boss of Skyler White, and one-time romantic fling during a moment of revenge against her domineering husband, Ted Beneke is a sleazy guy who looks clean but very quickly turns into another recurring character type within the two shows - people who think that they can’t be criminals because they’re inherently wealthy and respectable.
Ted, of course, gets his comeuppance after committing tax fraud and not seeing the big deal because it's a white-collar crime. He trips over his own rug while attempting to flee two hired hands, who’ve only been sent to scare Ted, and gravely injures himself. The extent of his injuries are uncertain but he appears to be permanently altered by the accident. Whilst ultimately tied to the Whites’ criminal dealings, there’s little he could possibly add to the wider story.
9 Hope To See: Huell Babineaux
Based on how beloved the character of Huell Babineaux became throughout the course of Breaking Bad, relative to how little screen time and dialogue he actually has, it would clearly be a crime not to see him return in anything related to that world. Huell has appeared, and become a key part of, prequel show Better Call Saul in recent seasons so fans know that actor Lavell Crawford is up for playing the part.
Huell’s ultimate fate also became a major talking point amongst fans of Breaking Bad following the final episodes due to the ambiguity surrounding his last appearance. (He co-operates with the police only to be told to wait at a safe location for them to return but both of the officers are killed before they do, leaving Huell in the wind.) With his close connections to other characters that fans need to see return, he’s an absolute must.
8 Can Stay Away: Stacey Ehrmantraut
One of the most interesting recurring themes throughout both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul is the extent of criminal culpability in personal relationships. This often manifests itself in the form of seemingly-meek women who are emotionally connected to violent male criminals. Their relationships sometimes seeming one-sided but eventually revealing themselves as being mutually manipulative.
In Breaking Bad, this dynamic was mostly fulfilled by Walter White and his wife, Skyler. In Better Call Saul, the best example would probably be the relationship between fan favorite character Mike Ehrmantraut and Stacey Ehrmantraut, the widow of his murdered son and mother of his granddaughter, Kaylee. Her story isn’t over yet in Better Call Saul (she never appeared in Breaking Bad) but she’s a character who only really works with Mike, who dies in the final season of Breaking Bad.
7 Hope To See: Kaylee Ehrmantraut
Unlike her mother, Kaylee is a big part of both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. She’s the main motivational force behind Mike’s actions and, while that does tie her to Mike in a similar way to her mother, her character has so much more room to grow. While Walter White somewhat succeeds in his primary objective to provide a financial safety net for his kids, Mike never achieves this. His money is seized and there’s no indication that Kaylee sees any of what’s left from the business.
Could we see Kaylee having to turn to a life of crime? Could we see her taking after her grandfather and methodically investigating what happened to him? There are a number of directions to take her character in depending on how much time elapses before the end of Breaking Bad and the beginning of the movie. In later seasons of Better Call Saul, we see Mike imparting as much wisdom as he can to her so if there was ever going to be a replacement for him down the road then she would be it.
6 Can Stay Away: Holly White
She’s still only an infant when Breaking Bad comes to a close so there's a lot of leeway to progress her character in multiple ways depending on the timeline. But, as previously mentioned, Walt does essentially succeed in his mission to provide her a decent chance in life and to see her falling in with Jesse (and, you’d assume, a life of crime) would add very little to the story and take a whole lot away from it.
Similarly, her brother, Walter Jr., also doesn’t really need to appear in the future for virtually identical reasons. He’s never shown to have his father’s ego or super smarts so it would be quite out of character to see him developing a mindset to go into either crime or revenge. He’s a moral, and capable, kid and it’s hard to see Holly growing up to be any different. The Walter White chapter should remain as closed as possible.
5 Hope To See: Ignacio “Nacho” Varga
One of the most powerful things about Breaking and Better Call Saul has been their ability to introduce you to characters who you know you will remember for the rest of your life. And they mostly do it without you even noticing at first. Similar to Mike Ehrmantraut, Nacho Varga has a fairly unceremonious introduction into the overall story in Better Call Saul. Like Mike, he’s essentially a henchman but an incredibly sharp one and one you come to respect and care about.
Then again, due to the incredibly violent nature of Nacho’s work (and the ominous appearance of a previously unseen member of the vicious Salamanca family at the end of the latest season), there’s no guarantee that Nacho will live to see the events of the movie. But fans hope very much that he does. He’s also another character who becomes deeply involved with legendary kingpin Gustavo Fring so to see him carrying on that legacy could be a big part of the movie’s story.
4 Can Stay Away: Brock Cantillo
The most tragic aspect of Jesse Pinkman’s story isn’t so much what happens to him but rather what happens to the people that he cares about. Brock is the son of Jesse’s second girlfriend in Breaking Bad, Andrea (who ends up shot in the head), after the death of his first girlfriend, Jane (who chokes to death on her own vomit while Jesse is passed out next to her).
While Brock clearly has grounds for grievances and a tough road ahead of him (even if Jesse is able to ever help him in any way after his escape at the end of Breaking Bad) it would feel kind of wrong to put the poor kid through anything else.
3 Hope To See: Kim Wexler
A headstrong and incredibly hardworking attorney, Kim Wexler is the best friend, and eventual love interest, of the titular Saul (still known then by his real name). A lot like Nacho, who also first appears in the shadow of a seemingly more prominent character, Kim quickly becomes an invaluable part of the story and an unforgettable character.
She builds an incredibly successful career as a lawyer from the ground up and maintains an unshakable sense of right and wrong. Whilst it hasn’t explicitly happened yet in the show, she’s quite clearly going to be incapable of reconciling that to the unscrupulous world of Saul Goodman and death is still a possibility as she’s never mentioned in Breaking Bad.
2 Can Stay Away: Skyler White
Skyler is a hugely complex character in Breaking Bad who holds her own against what is essentially an evil genius while maintaining a criminal empire. She survives the show to raise her children the best she can. It’s not implied that her life will be easy but she’s spared a far worse fate by her ultimately-loving, if somewhat psychotic, husband. Similar to her children, while she's changed very deeply by the course of events in the show, there’s little she could add to the future of that story.
She isn’t quite broken by the end of Breaking Bad but she’s clearly had enough and she’s able to still see what’s truly important in life, which is her kids. Seeing her sucked back in to any life of crime would not only be unnecessary it would also probably be an impossibility. As the wife of the infamous Heisenberg, she’d probably never leave law enforcement watch lists.
1 Hope To See: James “Jimmy” McGill A.K.A. Saul Goodman
James McGill A.K.A. Slippin’ Jimmy A.K.A. Saul Goodman A.K.A. Gene the Cinnabon Manager isn’t just one of the best characters in both shows, he’s one of the best characters in the history of American television. Jimmy was introduced to the audience as full-blown Saul Goodman, who is just about the most inhuman character you can think of, but Better Call Saul quickly reveals him to be braver, and more decent, deep down than perhaps any other character in Breaking Bad.
One of the strangest things about rewatching Breaking Bad, after the available seasons of Better Call Saul, is realizing just how many of the things that he says about himself, that you assumed were lies or exaggerations, turn out to be true. (Jimmy even tells Walter his real name relatively early on in their partnership.) Though ultimately corrupted by his guilt concerning a family tragedy, Jimmy is driven by a clear sense of actual justice and an aptitude for achieving it when he wants to.
If the movie’s story is about redemption for the events of Breaking Bad, then they better call Saul. Because it would be pointless without him.