Walter White was seemingly killed at the end of the Breaking Bad series finale but that doesn't mean actor Bryan Cranston had to miss out on El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. After all, it's hard to imagine a Breaking Bad sequel without the show's leading man involved in some capacity.
Rumors of a Breaking Bad feature film first began in late 2018. Aaron Paul, who played Jesse Pinkman in the series, had said that Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan approached him about a sequel project to coincide with the ten year anniversary. A film was reportedly in the works through AMC and Netflix, but El Camino wasn't officially announced until the trailer dropped in August. Besides the focus on Jesse following the 2013 series finale, plot details and confirmed cast members have been kept under wraps.
Since the notion of a Breaking Bad sequel was first publicized, many wondered if Walt would have any sort of involvement. Cranston and Paul were the faces of the original series and it would almost feel wrong to have one without the other. So, we put together three theories detailing how Walt could make an appearance in El Camino.
Theory 1: Walter White Appears In Flashbacks
The easiest way that Walt could appear in El Camino is through the use of flashbacks. This would give the sequel movie the opportunity to use Walt without backtracking on his presumed death. By using flashbacks, El Camino can retrace the steps of Walt's journey while also filling in major gaps left out in the original series. There were plenty of interactions that Walt and Jesse went through that weren't seen in Breaking Bad. El Camino could give viewers the chance to see Walt and Jesse reunite without bringing a character back from the dead.
Gilligan is no stranger to using flashbacks as a plot device. Breaking Bad featured a number of flashbacks to supplement the current storyline, or as a way to look back at how far the characters had come. The season 5 episode "Ozymandias" is an example of how Gilligan used the past to connect to the present. Walt was stuck in the desert during the shootout with Jack Welker and the DEA, in the same location that Walt and Jesse did their first cook 20 months prior. The episode opened with a flashback taking viewers back to that first cook in the RV. Walt and Jesse were still on good terms at this point, and they had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
Using Walt in flashbacks also gives El Camino the ability to feature other Breaking Bad alums. There is no official word on who might appear in the movie, but there will be a handful of original characters. Skinny Pete was shown in the trailer, so it would make sense if Badger also made an appearance. If Walt is involved in flashbacks, there is a higher probability that the rest of the White family could cameo - including Hank and Marie Schrader.
There is most likely a slew of old unused footage that Gilligan could use for flashback purposes, but it's more likely that he would have asked back some of the original cast to reprise their roles. The crew gave Cranston and Paul makeovers for the "Ozymandias" flashback so that they would resemble their season 1 appearance, and it would be simple to do the same with the rest of the cast for this sequel.
Theory 2: Walt Is A Vision Haunting (Or Guiding) Jesse
El Camino plans to focus on Jesse's whereabouts while he's still on the run from the DEA. Prior to the Breaking Bad series finale, Jesse was a chained up prisoner forced to cook meth by a group of white supremacists. That, along with all of the other messed up events he got himself into through his partnership with Walt, will definitely have had a dark effect on his state of mind. He might be physically free, but there is no doubt that he is suffering from PTSD. It's possible that Walt could return as a vision haunting Jesse.
Some time has naturally passed between Breaking Bad and El Camino, but not enough for Jesse to completely move on. Considering Jesse is still on the run, it means that he's still scared of being caught. The DEA wants someone to answer for the meth lab bust, and with Jack's gang dead and Walt presumably gone for good, Jesse is the only one left for the DEA to target. That constant fear of being caught could come in the form of Walt appearing in visions, haunting Jesse and reminding him of his past.
On the other hand, maybe Walt's spiritual presence is a way to guide Jesse in the new mess that he got himself into. At the start of Breaking Bad, Walt served as a mentor to Jesse, despite the criminal activities they took part in. The two threw each other under the bus quite a few times but Walt made it a point to save Jesse in the end. He also came to terms with how much pain he caused Jesse; Walt didn't even flinch when Jesse pointed a gun at him while leaving the compound. Their relationship was dysfunctional, but perhaps Jesse would envision his former partner as a guiding light getting him out of the latest mess.
Theory 3: Walter White Didn't Die In Breaking Bad's Finale
The third theory, and the most controversial way to bring Walt back for El Camino, is the revelation that the character survived the gunshot wound in the finale. The cast and crew have always been vague about Walt's death. It's possible that Gilligan left Walt's fate up in the air for the purpose of bringing him back if a sequel came together in the future.
There is evidence to support both sides of the Walter White death argument and there are many viewers who believe that he's still alive. If he did make it out of the compound, he too will be evading capture. Does he eventually cross paths with Jesse at some sort of hideout that only they know about? Of course, there's also the issue of Walt's health, considering his cancer returned. All of these details make Walt's survival less likely but it's surely not out of the realm of possibility. The theory, however, isn't a favorite of many viewers who thought Walt's death was a perfect way to end Breaking Bad. Giving Walt a survival story takes away from the acclaimed Breaking Bad series finale.
Thankfully, longtime fans of Breaking Bad won't have to wait long to find out if and how Walt is involved in the sequel. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie hits Netflix on October 11.