Vince Gilligan on the end of ‘Breaking Bad’

The Film Society Of Lincoln Center And AMC Celebration Of "Breaking Bad" Final Episodes - Red Carpet
Vince Gilligan teared up when writing the end of ‘Breaking Bad.’
Credit: Getty

Vince Gilligan, the creator of the groundbreaking hit “Breaking Bad”  is having trouble remembering to talk about things in the past tense.

“I say this in present tense but it’s all past tense now, which makes me sad anew,” he says with a laugh while talking about crafting the finale to his groundbreaking, award-winning series, “Breaking Bad.”

As Gilligan is adjusting to a life not spent chronicling the transformation of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) from a mild-mannered, cancer-ridden high school chemistry teacher to a ruthless meth kingpin, here’s a glimpse of what’s been on his mind.

He knew when to say when:
“I had some very, very polite discussions. I never had any arguments, but I had Bryan Cranston say, ‘Are you sure you want to end it?’ I had Sony and AMC say, ‘Are you sure you want to end it?’ And it all came from a place of enthusiasm for the show and a desire for it to continue, and I have those same feelings of enthusiasm and desire,” Gilligan admits. “I wanted the show to go on forever for reasons of creative satisfaction and personal satisfaction. But it wasn’t that hard of a decision to end it. I wanted it to end on a high note and not go past its expiration date, if you will.”

He doesn’t know what you’ve been writing about him and the show online:
“I have this phobia about Googling myself. I’ve never done it, and I don’t intend to start,” he admits. “I think my fear is I’m too interested, and if I started to look up fan reactions on the Internet, it would be a sort of rabbit hole that I would disappear down and never return. I stay away from it because I know my weaknesses, and I know that I would succumb to them. If you’re a really mentally, spiritually, emotionally healthy human being, you could do it. I know for a fact that I’m not, so I know it wouldn’t be wise for me to it.”

He understands why some people feel this second half of Season 5 is really Season 6:
“I think people should be allowed to call it anything they want,” he says. “I can definitely see the argument that it feels like six seasons. We call them officially 5A and 5B, but I think in terms of 62 episodes, 62 discreet pieces of story, and I think in the future when — knock on wood — people who haven’t even been born yet are watching this show, I hope, they won’t think in terms of what season a certain episode took place.”

He did not, in fact, tag along with Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul to get commemorative “Breaking Bad” tattoos:
“I did not get a tattoo. I am not a tattoo guy,” Gilligan says. “Bryan got the tattoo, and Aaron Paul got a tattoo. I think that’s wonderful, but I’m not a tattoo person. I’m not scared of needles or anything or how much it hurts. It just felt like… I don’t know. I have the Heisenberg hat. There’s more than one. I have the so-called hero hat, but there were actually probably four or five. I have the most-used one, I suppose.”

He scrapped the original ending long ago:
“I’m very impressed with J.K. Rowling for knowing where ‘Harry Potter’ was going to end. That is impressive,” he says. “I had ideas, in early going when I was writing the pilot all by myself, of where it would all end, and I discarded them pretty quickly once I hired my six writers. This last year, in fact, where we knew we had these final 16 episodes, we went through many, many possibilities. In fact, we went through every possibility we could think of because we didn’t want to leave any stone unturned. We wanted to think of every possible outcome. That’s why it took way longer than I thought it would take.”

Writing the finale brought tears to his eyes:
“I cried because it was over. I was in my condo in Albuquerque, writing the very last page of the last episode — I was writing the very last paragraph, in fact — and I started to tear up,” he remembers. “It was because I knew that is it. I was never going to get to write that character again. I mean, not on ‘Breaking Bad.’ It was a hard-fought battle, and it was a result of thousands and thousands of hours of work and emotion, and I teared up because as hard as it was those six years, I knew in that moment I was going to be very sad it was over. And I was and I am sad. But I feel right that it ended when it did, creatively.”

There won’t be a movie:
“I’d be very surprised. Every show is different, and I think it’s wonderful when there’s a movie version of a TV show,” he says. “But I always felt for this one show, for ‘Breaking Bad,’ that it would be a bit of an injustice to the show itself, to what we were trying to build all these years, for it to end in a fashion that didn’t feel complete and satisfying on the small screen. We’re leaving it all on the field with these final eight episodes.”

It doesn’t have to end poorly for everyone:
“I have to be careful the way I answer these questions, because I don’t want to ruin anything for anybody but I can tell you that the writers and I, we’re not out to punish any character,” he offers. “There’s the old saying that it’s very easy to extract emotion from an audience by being mean to a child or beating a puppy with a stick or something. We were not trying to go for those kind of feelings. We looked at these episodes as our last chance to end the story in as satisfying a manner as possible. The best answer I can give is that I’m very satisfied by the ending. That is not to say it’s a happy ending, nor a sad ending — nor to give any promise of how one will feel emotionally when it’s over. But it is to say that I hope it feels proper. Fitting. It feels fitting to me.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Comments

1