Note: Spoilers ahead
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie hit Netflix on Friday and finally gave Jesse Pinkman’s story a proper ending. However, creator Vince Gilligan and star Aaron Paul confirm there were multiple endings considered for the unlucky meth cook.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly. Gilligan explained, “As the years started to pass, I found myself wondering at idle moments, ‘How exactly did he get away? Because that’s no easy feat! And what if he didn’t get away? What if he got busted right around the next corner?’”
“I even played with telling that story in a movie, and luckily smarter brains prevailed,” he continued, “The people that I love and trust, starting with my girlfriend Holly [Rice], said, ‘You cannot have Jesse Pinkman get busted at the end of this thing. You cannot go that route.’ And I said, “Okay. All right, honey.” [Laughs.] I’m glad I listened to her and I listened to Peter Gould and the Better Call Saul writers.”
So is Paul, who was astonished to hear about that downer, buzzkill of an ending: “Wow…. He never said that to me. Wow. That’s so interesting. I mean, I’m happy that he’s not caught, you know?” No shit. Could you imagine Pinkman getting locked up after all that hype? Bad idea jeans, indeed.
Paul, however, did tease another ending, one that offered a little more clarity. If you recall, the film ends — spoiler alert (seriously, why are you reading this?) — with Pinkman handing the late Robert Forster a letter addressed to Brock Cantillo, the son of Pinkman’s deceased girlfriend Andrea. While fans have already begun speculating its contents, Paul said an alternate ending would have provided an answer.
“That letter to Brock was the very first thing that Vince wrote when writing this script,” Paul shared. “Once he completed that letter, he started the script. Originally the voiceover of that letter was how the movie ended — just driving through Alaska and you could hear what was inside of that letter…. It’s heartbreaking, it’s beautiful, just honest. But Vince just thought, ‘You know what? Maybe it’s best left unknown.’ And we don’t need it. He was right. But I love knowing what was in the letter.”
Naturally, Paul was pressed for details, though he remained mum. “I swore to Vince that I would never share what was in that letter. But… [Jesse] just could not be more open and honest. It’s just really him saying, ‘I’m sorry,’ and that’s it.” Good for him, and good for Gilligan for making the proper call twice. In a series renown for its sad endings, it was a relief to find some light at the end of the tunnel.
El Camino is currently streaming on Netflix. Revisit all of our features from Breaking Bad Week, including a complete ranking of the series’ cold opens, a list of the show’s 10 most brilliant schemes, and a meditation on Jesse’s arc that’s hardly forgotten anymore.