El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

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El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
A man in a buzzcut looks towards the left with a red stripe behind his head to left and another red stripe in front of his eye on the right.
Promotional poster
Directed byVince Gilligan
Written byVince Gilligan
Based onBreaking Bad
by Vince Gilligan
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyMarshall Adams
Edited bySkip Macdonald
Music byDave Porter
Production
companies
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • October 11, 2019 (2019-10-11)
Running time
122 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
BudgetMore than $6 million[2]
Box officeAt least $40,000[3]

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (or simply El Camino) is a 2019 American neo-Western crime thriller film that serves as a sequel and epilogue to the television series Breaking Bad. It continues the story of Jesse Pinkman, who partnered with former teacher Walter White throughout the series to become kingpins of an Albuquerque crystal meth empire. Series creator Vince Gilligan wrote, directed, and produced El Camino; Aaron Paul reprised his role as Jesse Pinkman. Several actors involved in Breaking Bad also reprised their roles, including Jesse Plemons, Krysten Ritter, Charles Baker, Matt Jones, Robert Forster, Jonathan Banks, and Bryan Cranston. Forster died on the day of El Camino's release, making the film one of his final on-screen appearances.

Gilligan began considering the story of El Camino while writing Breaking Bad's series finale. He approached Paul with the idea for the film in 2017, near the tenth anniversary of the show's premiere, and completed the script several months later. Principal photography began in secret in New Mexico in November 2018, lasting nearly 50 days. The project remained unconfirmed until Netflix released a trailer on August 24, 2019.

El Camino received a digital release on Netflix and a limited theatrical run on October 11, 2019, with an AMC television premiere on February 16, 2020. It drew positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances of Paul and Plemons, as well as Gilligan's direction. The film garnered several award nominations, winning Best Movie Made for Television at the Critics' Choice Television Awards and Best Motion Picture Made for Television at the Satellite Awards. El Camino additionally gained four nominations at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards for Outstanding Television Movie and other technical categories.

Plot[edit]

In a flashback to shortly before they leave Walter White's meth business,[N 1] Jesse Pinkman asks Mike Ehrmantraut where he would go to start over. Mike says if he were younger, he would go to Alaska, an idea Jesse finds appealing. Jesse expresses the desire to make amends for past wrongdoing, but Mike cautions that starting over would make that impossible.

In the present,[N 2] Jesse flees the Brotherhood compound in Todd Alquist's El Camino.[N 3] He goes to the Albuquerque home of Skinny Pete and Badger, who hide the car and give Jesse a place to sleep. The next morning, Jesse calls Old Joe to dispose of the El Camino, but Joe leaves after discovering its LoJack. Pete devises a plan to make it appear Jesse fled after trading the El Camino for Pete's Ford Thunderbird. Pete and Badger give Jesse the money Walter gave them,[N 3] and Badger drives south in the Thunderbird so it appears Jesse headed to Mexico. Pete stays with the El Camino and waits for police to respond to the LoJack. Jesse departs in Badger's Pontiac Fiero. He learns from the radio news of Walter's potentially fatal poisoning of a woman,[N 4] and of Walter's death.[N 3]

In a flashback to Jesse's captivity,[N 5] Todd takes Jesse to Todd's apartment to help dispose of his cleaning lady, whom he killed after she discovered his hidden money. They sidestep Lou Schanzer, Todd's busybody neighbor, and bury the corpse in the Painted Desert. Jesse briefly acquires Todd’s gun, but Todd talks him out of shooting. In the present, Jesse sneaks into Todd's apartment and searches for Todd's new hiding place. Moments after Jesse finds it, policemen Neil Kandy and Casey enter and begin searching. Jesse hides, but holds Casey at gunpoint after Casey finds him. Neil disarms Jesse, who realizes they are not police but thugs also looking for Todd's money. To save himself, Jesse reveals he found the cash. Lou reports finding an old note from Todd, and Casey distracts him by feigning interest. Neil and Jesse bargain over the cash and Neil agrees to let Jesse take a third. As they depart, Jesse recognizes Neil as the welder who built the tether that held him while he was forced to cook meth for the Brotherhood.

Jesse finds Ed Galbraith, the "disappearer", who wants US$125,000 to aid Jesse, plus another $125,000 for the previous occasion when Jesse hired him but failed to commit.[N 6] Jesse is $1,800 short and Ed refuses to help. Knowing that they are being surveilled, Jesse calls his parents and feigns willingness to surrender. After his parents and the police depart, Jesse sneaks into the Pinkman home and takes two pistols from his father's safe, a Colt Woodsman and an Iver Johnson Hammerless.[10][11]

Jesse drives to Neil's shop, where Neil, Casey, and three friends celebrate with escorts and cocaine. After the escorts leave, he asks for $1,800, and Neil refuses. Seeing the Woodsman in Jesse's waistband, Neil challenges Jesse to a duel for his share of the cash. Jesse agrees, and when Neil reaches for his gun, Jesse shoots him with the Hammerless, which was concealed in his jacket pocket. Casey fires at Jesse, but Jesse kills him with Neil's gun. Jesse collects the driver's licenses of the remaining men and lets them leave after threatening to return and kill them if they tell the police. He recovers Neil's cash and departs after setting an explosion to cover his tracks.

In a flashback,[N 7] Walter and Jesse have breakfast after a multi-day meth cook. Estimating they will make more than $1 million, Walter laments having waited his entire life to do something special and calls Jesse lucky since he will not have to wait.

In the present, Ed drops Jesse off at a car parked near Haines, Alaska. Jesse gives Ed a letter for Brock Cantillo and acknowledges he does not want to say goodbye to anyone else. Driving off, Jesse has a flashback to his time with Jane Margolis.[N 8] He tells her he admires what she said about going wherever the universe takes her, but she dismisses it as metaphorical and encourages him to make his own decisions.

Jesse drives on, smiling at the prospect of a new life.

Cast[edit]

A red-headed white man wearing a white-and-red-striped shirt smiling towards the camera.
A standing dark-haired white woman, wearing a black top facing towards but looking towards the right of the camera, smiling.
A bald middle-aged man wearing a black shirt, facing the camera, speaks into a microphone.
Jesse Plemons, Krysten Ritter, and Jonathan Banks reprised their roles as Todd Alquist, Jane Margolis, and Mike Ehrmantraut, respectively.

Themes and style[edit]

While El Camino's plot focuses on Jesse Pinkman escaping to Alaska, writer and director Vince Gilligan stated that thematically, the film centers on Jesse's transformation from a boy to a man. As Jesse spent the entirety of Breaking Bad as Walter White's partner, El Camino in contrast shows Jesse coming to terms with his past and making his own decisions, free of White's influence.[13] This theme is prevalent in the flashbacks that bookend El Camino, with Mike Ehrmantraut at the beginning, and Walter White and Jane Margolis at the end. Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone detailed that while these scenes serve as a reminder of who Jesse used to be and all that he lost, "all three flashbacks are also about the way that Jesse has been forced by tragic circumstance to grow up and think more about his place in the universe and the impact he has on others. And they're about setting him on the road where Ed [Galbraith] leaves him at the film's conclusion".[8] Aaron Paul described his character Jesse as someone who went through "hell and back multiple times" and is still "paying for those sins", but Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club remarked that in freeing his ambitions from Walter White's manipulations, Jesse found his own redemption and avoided his mentor's fate, finally giving himself a chance for a future.[14][15]

The opening flashback with Jesse and Mike also sets the theme of Jesse wanting to start over while also making things right with his past. Though Mike warned that starting over would make it impossible to make amends, Jesse repays several emotional debts from the series with rectifying gestures throughout the film: giving a proper goodbye to his friends Badger and Skinny Pete, apologizing to his parents one last time, getting revenge against Neil Kandy and Casey, paying back his (literal) debt to Ed Galbraith, and sending his farewell letter of apology to Brock Cantillo.[8] Placing his own analysis on Jesse's final duel with Neil, Gilligan interpreted the scene as more than just Jesse getting the cash he needed for his escape, but also as a way of "exorcising demons" that plagued him from the events of the series. Both Gilligan and Paul speculated Jesse would still be haunted by these demons, even in his new life in Alaska, but he at least achieved some form of vengeance for his past by ridding the world of an evil person.[13][14]

Breaking Bad was often categorized as a contemporary Western; this theme is also present in El Camino.[16][17] Gilligan expressed his admiration for director Sergio Leone and his love for the Western genre – he originally wanted to film Breaking Bad in the CinemaScope format Leone used for the Dollars Trilogy and got his wish in El Camino.[2][18] Many critics noted scene with the duel between Jesse and Neil as being directly in the style of Western films.[19][20] Gilligan referenced The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and other classic gunfights to sequence the scene with comparable camera coverage techniques, likewise composer Dave Porter used Western elements in the scene's score.[21][22] Ben Travers of IndieWire traced the film's Western influences to its "sweeping landscapes, lone survivor, and final stand-off", while Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture called El Camino's title "unabashedly Western-tinged" and cited the final shot's lack of overt sentimentality as being true to the spirit of classic Westerns.[23][24]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

A young man with a buzzcut wearing a denim jacket and a black shirt faces the camera, speaks into a microphone.
El Camino follows Jesse Pinkman, portrayed by Aaron Paul, after the events of Breaking Bad.

Vince Gilligan, the creator and showrunner of Breaking Bad, had the idea for El Camino while writing the series finale "Felina". He asked himself what happened to Jesse Pinkman after the events of the episode, when Jesse escaped from the neo-Nazis' compound after being rescued by Walter White.[18] Though he kept Jesse's fate ambiguous in the finale's script, during interviews Gilligan offered two possible futures: a more realistic one where the police caught him a few miles from the compound, and a second, more optimistic one where Jesse got away but still had to cope with the terrible things he witnessed throughout the series.[25][26]

In the intervening years, Gilligan toyed with both approaches. One early idea involved Jesse hiding close to the Canadian border, getting lured back into crime to help a young woman in the town. This version ended with Jesse in a jail cell in the concluding scene, imprisoned yet at peace for the first time. Gilligan's girlfriend Holly Rice advised against this ending, saying fans would not appreciate seeing Jesse incarcerated after all he had been through.[27] He received similar feedback when separately pitching ideas for the film with the writing staff of Better Call Saul, a Breaking Bad spin-off also created by Gilligan that still aired at the time. The staff featured many writers from the original series; Gilligan originally served as co-showrunner during the early seasons before leaving the writers room to focus on other projects.[18][28] After the negative reception to the concept of Jesse getting caught by authorities, Gilligan subsequently went with the storyline of Jesse escaping to Alaska.[27]

The original idea for continuing Jesse Pinkman's story began as a short film or "mini-episode" of about 15 to 20 minutes.[18] Realizing a short would not be cost-effective, Gilligan opted to make a full-length feature film.[13] Early on, Gilligan received a suggestion to alter his proposed title – he initially thought about calling the project '63, referring to its unofficial status as the 63rd episode of Breaking Bad.[18] During the meeting when Gilligan pitched story ideas with the Better Call Saul staff, writer and executive producer Thomas Schnauz advised him to change the title to let the film stand on its own from the original series. Schnauz reasoned with Gilligan that Breaking Bad essentially focused on Walter White's story, whereas the film and its title should be unique to reflect that they centered on Jesse Pinkman. Gilligan agreed and eventually settled on the title El Camino, referring to the car Jesse drives away with in "Felina".[13]

Near the tenth anniversary of Breaking Bad's premiere, Gilligan started sharing the idea with former cast and crew members as a means to celebrate the milestone.[2] Aaron Paul, who portrayed Jesse in the series, affirmed that around this time, he received a phone call from Gilligan, who hinted at a return for his character.[29][30] Paul initially believed this meant a cameo on Better Call Saul, which was a prequel to Breaking Bad. Gilligan then revealed his intentions to continue Jesse's story after the events of the series, much to Paul's excitement.[31] Though he thought Breaking Bad concluded satisfyingly, Paul still felt attached to the character of Jesse Pinkman; fans regularly asked him of Jesse's whereabouts and he occasionally wondered about Jesse's fate himself.[32] At the end of the conversation, Paul showed eagerness to be involved with any idea Gilligan had for a Breaking Bad continuation.[29]

Gilligan presented Paul with a completed screenplay seven months after proposing his idea.[33] Paul spent three hours in Gilligan's office going over the script and almost instantly felt able to pick up on Jesse's mindset and emotional beats.[32][34] Following his initial read-through, Paul said he was so impressed with the screenplay that he felt speechless.[29][32] He likened his reaction from his first reading of El Camino to his response from his first reading of "Felina", and lauded Gilligan for approaching the script with caution and care.[35] Once he was finished with the screenplay, Paul continued to express happiness and excitement for the film, which he called a "love letter" to Jesse and Breaking Bad's fans.[29][35]

Though Gilligan had been involved with feature-length films before, El Camino would be the first he directed and produced.[2] While he considered the concept of a sequel film for an extended period after Breaking Bad's conclusion, Gilligan stated he likely would not have been able to make it had Better Call Saul been unsuccessful.[36] When Gilligan made his initial film pitch to Sony Pictures Television, the studio behind both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, the executives in the room quickly agreed to come on board. With his script in hand, Gilligan then selectively shopped the film to a few potential distributors, settling on Netflix and AMC due to their history with the show. Gilligan intended for El Camino to have a theatrical release, which Netflix previously provided for some of Breaking Bad's season premieres. El Camino's unspecified budget surpassed the $6 million budget per episode by the end of the show's final season.[2]

Writing[edit]

A man with dark brown hair, sporting rectangular glasses, a mustache and goatee while wearing a teal shirt and dark grey glasses, looks to the right while speaking into a microphone.
Vince Gilligan, the creator and showrunner of Breaking Bad, wrote and directed El Camino.

Unlike most of his work from The X-Files, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, where he collaborated with a writers room to develop his scripts and meet his deadlines, Gilligan wrote the film's screenplay alone until he felt it ready to present. Regarding El Camino as a coda to Breaking Bad, Gilligan believed the film would primarily appeal to fans and would not be as enjoyable to those who had not watched the series. This influenced his decision to write it as a direct continuation rather than inserting exposition scenes to try to attract new viewers.[2] He felt El Camino could be seen independently from both Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul, similarly to how the two series could be seen independently from one another. However, he also believed the three works existed together in a larger framework, and that viewers needed to watch all of them together to receive the full experience.[18]

When thinking of which Breaking Bad characters to use for El Camino, Gilligan considered bringing back Skyler White, Walter Jr., Hank and Marie Schrader, Gus Fring, and Saul Goodman but could not find a way to incorporate them into Jesse's story.[37] An early concept included bringing back Uncle Jack as a ghost that goaded Jesse throughout his journey, but Gilligan discarded this idea as too dreary as he felt Jesse already suffered enough.[18] Of the characters he ended up using, Gilligan felt most excited to bring back the sociopathic Todd Alquist, as he maintained fascination with the character and wished he could have been further explored on the series.[13] Jesse Plemons, who portrayed Todd, expressed surprise at his deceased character's sizable role upon first reading the script, and described his portion of the film as Todd, free from supervision of his elders, having his best day.[38][39] He also likened his scenes with Jesse to a dark buddy comedy.[38]

With Todd and the rest of the neo-Nazi gang canonically dead at the end of "Felina", Gilligan felt the film needed a new villain to introduce conflict for Jesse in the present storyline. For this reason Gilligan created the character Neil Kandy, who he labeled "Nazi-adjacent" due to his prior business dealings with the gang. He also described Neil as being more sociopathic than Todd, saying it would take someone of Neil's caliber to create the dog run that physically tethered Jesse without asking too many questions or even caring about Jesse's condition. Gilligan worried about introducing a new character not seen in Breaking Bad, but also called it "Drama 101" to include Neil as he gave Jesse a villain he could prevail against and provided the film with more visceral flair.[18]

A man with white hair, wearing circular glasses, a blue shirt and light brown jacket, faces forward with a water bottle and microphone in front of him.
Peter Gould and the Better Call Saul writing staff regularly consulted Gilligan as he composed the screenplay.

Gilligan would keep the Better Call Saul writers room involved throughout El Camino's production, including during the writing process.[40] This was to not only ensure the two projects' continuity did not interfere with one another, but to also take in suggestions to improve his screenplay. Upon completion of his first draft, Gilligan immediately sought the advice of Peter Gould, who developed Better Call Saul with Gilligan and became its sole showrunner after Gilligan reduced his own role on the series.[41][28] The decision to bring Jane Margolis into the story resulted from this consultation, as the initial script did not include the character. After Gould read the first draft, he advised that Jane could appear in the ending, "where it would mean the most to the audience". Gilligan thought about the suggestion for a couple of weeks and eventually agreed. He incorporated the idea into his script, and Jane ultimately delivered the final lines of El Camino.[13][42] Krysten Ritter, who reprised the role in the film, called the ending with her character "so beautiful" as it "sent Jesse off into the sunset with Jane riding shotgun ... He was going to be okay, and she was there with him".[43]

One of the biggest elements removed in later drafts was the very first thing Gilligan wrote for the script: the contents of Jesse's letter to Brock.[44] Gilligan planned on having it read in voice-over while Jesse drove through Alaska in the final scene; Paul described it as "the most honest, beautiful, caring letter imaginable — really, just pouring his heart out and saying he's sorry".[45] While the Better Call Saul staff praised the letter's contents, Gould and several others felt it would be better left to the audience's imagination to determine what Jesse wrote. Gilligan subsequently decided not to use the letter to conclude Jesse's story, and the voice-over would never end up being recorded.[40][46] Paul agreed with Gilligan's decision, but mentioned he felt "crushed" it did not appear in the final cut.[27] He shared his hopes that the letter's contents will eventually be revealed to the public, and later mentioned he retained possession of the letter after filming finished.[45][46]

Gilligan wrote the scene of Walter and Jesse sitting in the diner in a light-hearted tone, with the intention of providing one last chance to see the two characters together as a final treat for the fans. Producer Melissa Bernstein suggested adding a bit more poignancy to the scene to let it resonate further with the audience.[12] Gilligan left most of the scene from the original script intact, but he and Bernstein came up with the line "You're really lucky, you know that? That you didn't have to wait your whole life to do something special", tying the scene to El Camino's theme of Jesse finally taking control of his life.[13]

Filming[edit]

Under the working title Greenbrier, a majority of the filming occurred in Albuquerque from November 2018 to February 2019, with the overall shoot lasting 50 days.[47][48][2] El Camino had a more relaxed shooting pace than Breaking Bad, with only one-and-a-half to three pages of script filmed per day as opposed to six to eight.[2] This less-pressured schedule gave the actors more opportunities to improvise on set, while providing the crew members additional time to film a wider variety of shots and further camera coverage.[49][50] Gilligan felt the slower pace allowed him to reflect and feel a greater sense of finality for his creation whilst filming.[18]

Despite not portraying their characters since the show's ending several years prior, cast members felt at ease reprising their former roles.[51][52] Paul filmed his scenes without any rehearsals, as he felt he could easily access Jesse's emotions the same way he could on the series.[32] He likened his reprisal as Jesse to zipping on an old friend.[53] El Camino also used many of the same crew members who held their roles since the pilot of Breaking Bad, as several carried over to Better Call Saul when the show concluded.[30] The first thing filmed for El Camino was the scene where Jesse shows up at Badger and Skinny Pete's house and collapses into bed; Paul compared his first day of shooting with Gilligan, Matt Jones, Charles Baker and the show's former crew members to a family reunion.[54][55]

Cinematography[edit]

The Arri Alexa 65 was chosen to film El Camino due to its quality in capturing low-light.

El Camino used a 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio on the Arri Alexa 65 camera to capture the work in a cinematic manner.[2] Gilligan and cinematographer Marshall Adams specifically chose the Alexa 65 for its quality in low-light filming, which the film heavily featured. Using this camera also meant El Camino would be shot digitally, as opposed to Breaking Bad which shot on 35 mm movie film.[56] Production designer Judy Rhee noted that Gilligan took advantage of his lens and wider aspect ratio to create a more visually luxurious experience than the series, letting the wide vista shots help meet El Camino's plot beats rather than employing more economic options commonly used for television.[57] Adams agreed with this opinion, citing as an example the vast and empty space of the Painted Desert underscoring Jesse's lonely and hopeless state in Todd's captivity.[58]

Gilligan wanted El Camino's cinematography to maintain the naturalistic look used on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul while also expanding it. Adams specified this as the "realistic, practical-driven looks for night exteriors and low-light interiors that embraced all the colors and looks of Albuquerque" that he used on Better Call Saul.[56] By combining the Alexa 65 with Arri Prime DNA lenses, Adams could capture low-light efficiently, control depth of field, and also maintain color contrast and balance.[59][56] Adams graded El Camino's color palette with DaVinci Resolve; he did not let Breaking Bad dictate which colors he used and opted to make a palette specific to the film. To help receive dailies, production used FotoKem, who did the same work on both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. The crew delivered footage with requested color changes to on-site FotoKem members, who then applied the changes to get the dailies out fairly quickly for Adams' review.[59]

Adams saw El Camino as a way to pay homage to original Breaking Bad cinematographer Michael Slovis.[60] Though Adams took over as director of photography during the third season of Better Call Saul, he previously filmed pick-ups with Slovis during the end of Breaking Bad's fourth season and served as cinematographer during the show's fifth season premiere.[56][58] For El Camino, Adams took great lengths to match Slovis' lensing from the series while modifying it for the film's digital format and larger aspect ratio.[60][58] He specified the opening of Jesse driving out of the compound as one scene he updated using this approach, likening it to a "direct cut" from Jesse's last appearance in Breaking Bad's finale. Adams applied the same principle for other scenes which used locations from the series, such as the compound and the vacuum store.[58]

To distinguish the flashback scenes from the ones set in the present, Gilligan decided against using different color saturation. He instead chose to have flashbacks filmed in a "handheld" look while having the present-day scenes more anchored and locked-down. The fact that much of Breaking Bad used handheld filming inspired this decision.[58] With the Alexa 65 camera too large to carry while filming, Gilligan achieved the "wiggling" effect by placing the camera on top of a truck airbag, which could be inflated and deflated easily between two plastic plates.[59]

Sets and locations[edit]

Filming primarily occurred at Albuquerque Studios, where both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul were shot, along with other locations throughout the city.[56][61] Wireless microphones would be planted throughout the sets and on the actors to record natural ambient noise and dialogue while shooting, as Gilligan preferred using organic sounds over applying ADR during post-production.[62]

Notable new sets built in the studio included Todd's apartment and the welding shop where Jesse's final confrontation with Neil Kandy and Casey took place. For the first, Rhee, who worked as the production designer on Better Call Saul's fourth season, arranged the set to reflect the duality of Todd's character. The initial living room seemed sunny, meticulous and clean, reflective of Todd's exterior "Boy Scout" personality, and appeared decorated with a childlike Easter egg palette to give a sense of his arrested development. However, the set's palette became darker going further into his bedroom, indicative of Todd's sociopathic tendencies.[57] Plemons likened the apartment set to looking inside the Todd's brain, describing an absolute chaos beneath the apparent order on the surface.[63] Rhee also designed the dimensions of the apartment set to fit El Camino's aspect ratio when shooting overhead. In doing this, Gilligan could create the shot of Jesse searching for Todd's money in several different rooms simultaneously.[64] For the welding shop, Rhee wanted to maintain the accuracy of how a welding business appeared and match its exterior location, but also designed the set for the scene's stunt choreography and necessary camera blocking. Rhee incorporated the glass office in the back of the set to include breakage during the climax and enhance the scene's action beats.[57]

Several Breaking Bad locations from were reused for El Camino, such as the Pinkman residence, the strip mall that contained Saul Goodman's office, and Ed Galbraith's vacuum repair shop.[65] The original vacuum store had sold and become a furniture store since the series ended, so production had to recreate the set from scratch and use a special buyer to locate identical props from flea markets and salvage areas.[57] Having a restored vacuum repair store set provided an added convenience for the fifth season premiere of Better Call Saul, which aired several months later. Initially, the episode included Ed Galbraith simply as a voice-over, as the episode's budget could not cover the cost of flying actor Robert Forster to Albuquerque and rebuilding the vacuum shop set. However, Bernstein recognized that both Forster and the rebuilt set would be available as part of El Camino. She then arranged for Gilligan to shoot the Better Call Saul scene with Forster in person during the film's production, months before filming began for any other episodes.[66]

One major Breaking Bad location that had to be rebuilt primarily on stage was the compound that held Jesse prisoner, as many of the original structures had been torn down. The new set recreated the interior of Jesse's cage for the initial scenes of Jesse in captivity and seeing Todd through the steel grate. Filming for the subsequent exterior sequence of Todd letting Jesse out of his confinement happened on location; production found an existing Quonset hut in downtown Albuquerque and built a slightly smaller scale cage next to it in order to match the original site from the series.[64] For the rebuilt compound laboratory, the set reused a majority of the original props, notably the cooking vessel Walter White touched shortly before he died in Breaking Bad's final scene. Despite resulting in a continuity error, Gilligan said he did not have the heart to clean Walt's bloody handprint from the prop and instead left it in as an intentional Easter egg for fans.[67]

A landscape of the red rocks and lavender shades of the mountains in the Painted Desert.
A mountain range covered in covered in snow, with several pine trees in the foreground.
In addition to Albuquerque, filming locations included the Painted Desert in Arizona (left) and around the Grand Tetons in Wyoming (right).

The enhanced budget and filming schedule provided Gilligan a chance to capture scenes outside of Albuquerque, something he wanted but could not do during Breaking Bad.[2] One such location included the Painted Desert in Arizona, where filming occurred for the scene of Jesse and Todd burying Todd's housekeeper.[13] Gilligan had the idea of shooting in the region after multiple helicopter trips between California and Albuquerque, noting the landscape for its natural beauty. As backroad travel in the Painted Desert required a permit, Gilligan received special permission from the Navajo Nation for filming.[37] Cast members Paul and Plemons reached the Painted Desert set by a helicopter flown by Gilligan himself, who was a licensed pilot.[68] The scene where Todd sings "Sharing the Night Together" in his El Camino was also shot in the area; Gilligan noted that Plemons improvised the gesture Todd gives to the truck driver.[37] Gilligan later referred to his time filming in the Painted Desert as the single best day of directing in his career.[69]

Another sequence filmed outside of Albuquerque was the concluding scene of Jesse driving towards his new life in Haines, Alaska. While Gilligan wanted to use the Haines Highway to shoot on location, production found that option expensive and found a similar setting outside of Jackson, Wyoming. During the day of filming, the crew took advantage of low cloud to naturally hide the Grand Tetons in the background; this allowed them to avoid using digital technology to remove the landmark in post-production.[70] For the preceding scene of Jesse making his final exchanges with Ed Galbraith in the parking lot outside of Haines, filming occurred at the Sandia Crest, a ridgeline at the high point of the Sandia Mountains which overlooks Albuquerque.[71]

Secrecy[edit]

A middle-aged man with brown hair and a beard, wearing checkered shirt looks sternly towards the camera.
Bryan Cranston's cameo as Walter White was filmed in absolute secrecy during his two-day break from the Broadway play Network.

El Camino was held in great secrecy from the pre-production stages. Certain cast members were approached for the film without knowing it was for a Breaking Bad continuation, and some kept that fact secret from their families when production began.[72][49] Only near the start of shooting did rumors float that a Breaking Bad film began development, with Paul returning as Jesse.[73][74] Bryan Cranston, who starred as Walter White on the series, confirmed the project in an interview but said he had not seen a script, although he showed interest in participating if Gilligan called for it.[75]

Cranston indeed appeared in El Camino, flying to Albuquerque in a private jet to shoot his scenes within the span of 36 hours.[12] At the time he starred in the Broadway production Network, a role for which he eventually won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor, but used a two-day break in January for filming.[76][77] As Cranston had grown his hair out since the series ended, the makeup team used a bald cap and fake moustache to help him achieve the appearance of Walter White, with additional visual effects added during post-production to perfect his look.[78][79] Filming for the diner scene occurred first, with the set containing only crew members and their families serving as extras in order to keep the shoot confidential.[76] Despite the enclosed filming location, numerous locals spotted the show's iconic RV in the parking lot of the diner, but the crew used the excuse that they were shooting a commercial for a Breaking Bad tour to deflect attention.[13] Cranston shot the hallway scene the next day then immediately returned to the airport, arriving in New York in time to perform that same evening.[76][79] To prevent paparazzi photos, Cranston heavily disguised himself when escorted from and throughout the set.[76] When filming completed for the day, Cranston and Paul were told to avoid seeing each other.[55]

Similar measures were taken to ensure that news of filming did not reach the locals, with cast and crew under tight restrictions about what they could say about the project.[2] Cast members wore large cloaks to disguise their identities when heading to the set or when shooting outside in public places, and each of their characters were given code names.[80][81][82] When off the set, the cast could not see one another, and when recognized they would lie that they were working on the film.[55][83][84] By the time the media began making a connection between Greenbrier and Breaking Bad, filming had mostly been completed.[29] After news broke that the film would be a Breaking Bad sequel, representatives for AMC, Netflix and Sony Pictures TV all declined to comment regarding the project's existence.[85] Paul remained coy about its status, claiming in an interview that he had not heard anything regarding a Breaking Bad movie even though filming had wrapped a month earlier.[86]

Filming of Better Call Saul's fifth season took place shortly after El Camino finished shooting to take advantage of the assembled crew. As such, cast members of Better Call Saul became aware of the film but swore to secrecy on the project.[87] Days before El Camino's announcement, Bob Odenkirk, who starred as Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, teased that the film was already completed and that the producers had done "an amazing job of keeping it a secret".[88]

Editing[edit]

El Camino's rough cut had an original runtime of three hours, with an estimated 30 percent of footage left out of the finished film.[89] Gilligan waited until filming completed before entering the cutting room to provide feedback; his initial viewing of editor Skip Macdonald's rough cut was his first time seeing any production footage edited together.[50] Macdonald, who worked on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, mentioned the necessity of excising and shortening scenes to sustain audience interest while also preventing the film from overextending its runtime.[21][90] He also described maintaining rhythm and pacing without the use of commercial breaks as one of the biggest differences between his work on the film and the two television series.[90]

One story development removed during post-production involved Jesse getting shot in the side during his final showdown with Neil and Casey.[18] This would have been followed by Ed Galbraith finding a wounded Jesse at the vacuum store the following morning, the latter subsequently opening his car's trunk to reveal the cash he acquired to fulfill his end of the bargain.[91] While Paul asked to keep this sequence in the final cut, Gilligan felt it provided little payoff for the viewers and chose to remove it to let the film reach its conclusion quicker.[92][71] Other scenes shortened for runtime included Jesse further relaxing in his hotel room before meeting with Walter White and an extended sequence of Jesse and Jane during their road trip.[93][94] Gilligan confirmed the deleted and extended scenes would be available as bonus features for El Camino's home video release.[18]

Music[edit]

Score[edit]

"The Breaking Bad [score] is, at times, very, very spare and I think the El Camino score remains true to that, but there is complexity and a depth to the music that is fuller and greater in order to fill more sonic space in a theater. That was something we were definitely after."

Dave Porter, El Camino composer[95]

To arrange El Camino's score, production retained the use of composer Dave Porter, who created the music for every season of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul up to that point.[95] Arriving later into the production process, Porter estimated spending six to eight weeks composing the score, a much longer timetable compared to the three to four days per episode for the two series.[96][97] Given the lengthier production schedule, Gilligan appeared more frequently in the studio to listen to Porter's score and exchange ideas, something he had never done during Breaking Bad.[98] Porter in turn felt he had more resources to add nuance to El Camino's music and worked with Gilligan to achieve a cinematic sound which could also establish its own identity.[99]

Porter approached the film sequentially when composing the score, a method he described as unique to his usual process.[100] He arranged the music in the beginning of the film to resemble that of an episode of Breaking Bad before gradually sounding unique to Jesse.[101] Similar to his work on both series, his score used a mix of electronic sounds and live instrumentation.[22] When noting the biggest differences between scoring Breaking Bad and El Camino, Porter mentioned that while the series shifted between multiple interwoven storylines, the film focused on a singular arc – the trials of Jesse, who he considered the "moral thread" of the series.[100][101] This more linear storytelling presented Porter the opportunity to further explore Jesse's state of mind and experiment with his sound.[101] He described El Camino's contents and resulting score as more "cerebral" and "psychological", rather than relying on "fast-paced adrenaline".[99]

When preparing his score, Porter rewatched the series in order to select musical cues he could revisit for El Camino.[99] Many of the returning locations and characters received updated themes; Porter cited the scenes with the compound, Jane Margolis and Ed Galbraith as examples.[102][99] However, to differentiate the flashback scenes from the scenes set in the present, Porter tried to replicate the less cinematic sounds from the original series as closely as possible. He described his main goal in designing the film's sound as wanting to link back to the score used in the series, but in a manner that it would not feel jarring or out of place.[99] For this reason, Porter chose not to make any musical references to the original Breaking Bad theme song; he felt it represented Walter White's journey and did not fit in a story primarily about Jesse.[102]

Mondo issued an official soundtrack on October 14, 2020, nearly a full year after the film's release. The 26-track double-LP featured Porter's score and many of El Camino's licensed tracks.[103]

Licensed tracks[edit]

Licensed tracks were used sparingly in El Camino.[95] Three prominent in the final cut included "Sharing the Night Together" by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show, which Todd sings in the car during his and Jesse's road trip, "Spikey" by Red Snapper, which played over the montage where Jesse searches Todd's apartment, and "Static on the Radio" by Jim White, which ran over the end credits.[104]

Other licensed tracks include:[105]

Marketing[edit]

Netflix officially announced El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie on August 24, 2019, unveiling the title, description, poster, logo, teaser trailer and the October 11, 2019 release date for the film.[106] Days prior, Netflix accidentally listed the film on its website, which users quickly noticed before it got pulled.[107] Due to the secrecy of the project, fans and critics alike were taken aback by the sudden announcement, as well as by learning that the release date would come sooner than expected.[108][109][110]

Trailers[edit]

The first teaser released during El Camino's announcement featured a scene where the DEA interrogated Skinny Pete on Jesse Pinkman's whereabouts. Charles Baker reprised the role in the public's first glimpse of the film.[109] Though the scene was not used in the final cut, some critics noted after the premiere of the its significance in El Camino's chronology, speculating that it likely took place shortly after Jesse and Skinny Pete parted ways.[8][111] Baker later revealed the original script did not include the teaser trailer's scene.[112]

Netflix released its first trailer on September 10, 2019, which solely consisted of Breaking Bad clips set to a cover of "Enchanted"[N 9] by Chloe x Halle.[114] A second teaser, which featured Jesse sitting in the El Camino and listening to news reports of the prior events of the series on the radio, debuted during the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony on September 22, 2019.[115] A full trailer premiered on September 24, 2019, which gave viewers their first full look of clips from El Camino accompanied by the song "Black Water" by Reuben and the Dark.[116][117]

Before El Camino's premiere, Netflix released two more promotional videos that used new footage from the film or the set: a teaser clip of Old Joe speaking with Jesse on the phone and a two-minute behind-the-scenes featurette.[118][119] Netflix later released an extended 13-minute behind-the-scenes featurette titled The Road to El Camino on October 29, 2019.[120]

The Countdown to El Camino / Waiting with Huell[edit]

Before the release of El Camino, the Twitter accounts of Breaking Bad and Samsung US shared a countdown.[121] Titled The Countdown to El Camino, the promotion resulted from Samsung's partnership with Netflix.[122] The countdown would also be available as a 62-hour livestream on Samsung televisions prior to the film's release.[123]

The campaign saw the return of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul character Huell Babineaux, with Lavell Crawford reprising the role.[121] Throughout the countdown, Huell appeared in several short video interludes of him sitting impatiently in a safe house,[N 10] loafing around or watching the news.[124][125] Upon the countdown's conclusion, a video showed of Huell leaving the safe house.[126] The character ultimately did not appear in El Camino, but many remarked that the promotion answered a question long posed by fans of Huell's fate after Breaking Bad ended.[121][124][125]

Over 3.5 million viewers watched the livestream before the film's release. Chemistry, the advertising agency behind the promotion, later submitted the campaign for award consideration under the name Waiting with Huell. The campaign earned Bronze Distinction in Television for the 12th Annual Shorty Awards and the Bronze Award for Branded Entertainment & Content for the 2020 Clio Awards.[127][128]

Snow Globe: A Breaking Bad Short[edit]

In conjunction with the television premiere of El Camino on AMC, the network released a three-minute short film Snow Globe: A Breaking Bad Short on its official YouTube account on February 17, 2020.[129] The short, directed by Eric Schmidt and written by Melissa Ng, stars Jesse Plemons as Todd with Laura Fraser providing her voice as Lydia Rodarte-Quayle.[130][131] Taking place at some point before the events of the film, the short features Todd assembling a custom snow globe which includes his and Lydia's likenesses and little floating Stevia packets, as he tries to call her to ask her on a date.[132][133] El Camino previously featured the same snow globe in the scene when Casey inspects Todd's bedroom.[134]

Release[edit]

An elder man with a white shirt and brown jacket looks wistfully to the left of the camera.
El Camino marked one of Robert Forster's final appearances, as he died on the same day of the film's release.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie had its world premiere on October 7, 2019, at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, with multiple cast members from the film, Breaking Bad, and Better Call Saul in attendance.[36][135] Netflix digitally released the film on October 11, 2019.[29] El Camino also received a limited theatrical release from October 11 to 13 in the United States.[136] It later premiered on AMC television on February 16, 2020, following a complete marathon of the series on the network.[137]

On the day of El Camino's release, Robert Forster, who played Ed in both the series and film, died of complications from brain cancer, at the age of 78.[138] Among others throughout Hollywood, the cast and crew of Breaking Bad paid tribute to him.[71][139][140] According to Aaron Paul, Forster watched the film before his passing: "he was so proud of it and of me. He called to tell me that he loved me. I sensed something was wrong, but I got on a plane and, when I landed, he'd died. It was incredibly sad to hear".[141]

Audience viewership[edit]

Nielsen reported that El Camino drew 2.65 million viewers within a day of its release, with an overall 6.54 million total viewers during opening weekend.[142][143] An additional reported 8.2 million viewers watched a few minutes of El Camino during its first three days of availability.[142] This compared well to Breaking Bad's fifth-season premiere with 5.9 million viewers and finale with 10.3 million when they first aired on AMC.[144][145] After the first week of its release, Netflix announced that over 25 million households had seen the film.[146]

For El Camino's limited theatrical release, 12 of the 125 theaters that screened the film reported a combined gross of $40,000, an average of $3,333 per venue.[3] TheWrap calculated that if El Camino received a proper wide theatrical release, and that every reported viewer bought a ticket for the average price to see it, then it likely could have topped the box office that weekend.[147] Months later, El Camino drew 774,000 viewers for its AMC television premiere.[148]

Home media[edit]

El Camino received its first home video release on October 13, 2020, as a DVD/Blu-ray combo packaged in a limited edition steelbook from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Features exclusive to the Blu-ray consisted of a commentary track from Vince Gilligan and Aaron Paul, deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, and scene studies with Gilligan. Other features on both the Blu-ray and DVD included a commentary track from multiple members of the cast and crew, a behind-the-scenes documentary, promotional teasers and trailers, and visual effects design galleries.[149]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie holds an approval rating of 91% based on 129 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. Its critical consensus reads, "Entertaining if not essential, El Camino adds a satisfying belated coda to the Breaking Bad story – led by a career-best performance from Aaron Paul".[150] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned El Camino a score of 72 out of 100 based on 34 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[151]

Aaron Paul's performance as Jesse Pinkman received near-unanimous acclaim. Judy Berman of Time called his portrayal "mesmerizing", citing Paul's ease at "fully re-inhabiting a role he hadn't played for years ... endowing Jesse with the same mix of (waning) goofiness and (escalating) existential terror that propelled him through the finale".[152] Liz Shannon Miller elaborated, in her review from The Verge, that "[Paul's] work in El Camino is staggering, given the high difficulty factor that comes with having to play so many variations of this character" and followed this by stating "what makes El Camino so compelling is the way it engages with how he's changed since those early days".[153] In contrast, GQ's David Levesley felt El Camino did not utilize Paul's full potential, saying that "without actors to bounce off, the film often doesn't know what to do with him".[154] Jesse Plemons' reprisal of Todd Alquist also drew positive reviews, with Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter mentioning "Plemons never got the respect he deserved ... and this might be a good time to properly relish what an odd and awful guy Todd was".[155]

Vince Gilligan's direction similarly received praise. Fienberg called Gilligan "a precise and complicated visual stylist ... the conception of Breaking Bad as a modern Western has never been so clearly articulated and executed". He also credited cinematographer Marshall Adams, editor Skip Macdonald and composer Dave Porter, all of whom worked on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, for helping El Camino "return to the original show's grammar".[155] Writing for Entertainment Weekly, critic Darren Franich called Gilligan's style "energetic" and lauded the larger budget being applied "more for high anxiety than flashy pyrotechnics", citing El Camino's cinematography, editing and montages as examples.[156] Erik Adams of The A.V. Club found the Western imagery a bit "clumsily deployed" but commended the scale of the film.[157]

As a Breaking Bad continuation[edit]

From a narrative perspective, several critics praised El Camino as a continuation of Breaking Bad. Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone stated that "if the [Breaking Bad] conclusion had a flaw ... it's that Jesse got left behind a bit. By the end of El Camino, that's no longer the case".[158] The Daily Beast's Melissa Leon agreed, saying that "Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan's meditative neo-western El Camino attaches a coda to Jesse's story, detailing the emotional (and physical) scars Walt left him to live with".[159] Regarding the film's chronology from the preceding series, Steve Greene of IndieWire commented "though the specter of Jesse's former partners haunt El Camino, Gilligan effectively holds the audience's attention to keep them focused on the present".[160] When comparing the film to other franchise continuation projects, Roxanne Sancto of Little White Lies mentioned that "movie spin-offs [have] become a dangerous trend that often ends in disappointment ... the balance needs to be just right and, fortunately, creator Vince Gilligan has nailed it with El Camino".[161]

While many critics found El Camino enjoyable, some also saw it as inessential to the overall arc of the series. Josh Spiegel of /Film wrote that "if you loved Breaking Bad ... you might have wondered, 'What will happen to Jesse Pinkman next?' It's not even that Vince Gilligan answering that question was a bad idea. It's that a two-hour version of that answer, as beautiful as it looks and as well-acted as it is, was wholly superfluous".[162] Franich compared El Camino to a television reunion special, calling it "a playful project, very fun, not always necessary".[156] Less complimentary was the BBC's Hugh Montgomery, who described it as "a franchise extension as lazy and vacuous as anything dreamt up on the big-screen".[163] However, Alissa Wilkinson of Vox reasoned that the enjoyment of El Camino "comes from seeing your favorite characters again, not finally resolving missing pieces that have tortured your sleep for six years".[164]

Critics also noted the necessity of having seen the entirety of the series before watching the film. Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com wrote that "If you're hazy on what happened in the AMC hit, be warned that El Camino does not hold your hand. It is not designed to exist as a standalone movie as much as something watched after the end of season five".[165] Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times concurred, saying "you'll be as lost as Badger without Skinny Pete if you tried to watch this sharp and compelling sequel without having seen the series".[166] When speaking as to which audience would enjoy the film, Vadim Rizov of Sight & Sound remarked that "El Camino will only work for fans who can recall who all these familiar faces are – the nostalgic pull and possibility for reconnection are sometimes recapped in dialogue, most of it avoiding the ludicrously expository, but outsiders will be baffled".[167]

Accolades[edit]

El Camino received several nominations in the streaming or television film categories from major industry award ceremonies where Breaking Bad previously won multiple accolades in the television series categories.[168][169][170] Three awards won by the film included Best Movie Made for Television at the Critics' Choice Television Awards, Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Single Presentation at the Golden Reel Awards, and Best Motion Picture Made for Television at the Satellite Awards.[171][172][173]

For the 72nd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, El Camino received four nominations: Outstanding Television Movie, Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie, and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special.[174] Many critics predicted that Paul and Plemons would be respectively nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for their roles in the film, but both actors were left off when the nominees were announced.[175][176] As Breaking Bad collected a total of sixteen Emmy Awards throughout its run, some critics also felt El Camino could potentially win Outstanding Television Movie based on the series' prior clout with voters.[177][178][179] However, Bad Education went on to claim the award, while Watchmen won in every technical category where El Camino was nominated.[180]

Award Date of ceremony Category Nominees Result Refs
Cinema Audio Society Awards January 25, 2020 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Movie or Limited Series Phillip W. Palmer, Larry B. Benjamin, Kevin Valentine, Greg Hayes, Chris Navarro and Stacey Michaels Nominated [181][182]
Critics' Choice Television Awards January 12, 2020 Best Movie Made for Television El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Won [183][171]
Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries Jesse Plemons Nominated
Directors Guild of America Awards January 25, 2020 Outstanding Directing – Movies for Television and Limited Series Vince Gilligan[a] Nominated [184][185]
Golden Reel Awards January 19, 2020 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Single Presentation Kurt Nicholas Forshager, Todd Toon, Kathryn Madsen, Jane Boegel, Luke Gibleon, Jason Tregoe Newman, Bryant J. Fuhrmann, Jeff Cranford, Gregg Barbanell and Alex Ullrich Won [186][172]
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards September 16, 2020[b] Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie Skip Macdonald Nominated [174][180]
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie Phillip W. Palmer, Larry B. Benjamin, Kevin Valentine and Stacey Michaels Nominated
September 19, 2020[b] Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special Kurt Nicholas Forshager, Todd Toon, Kathryn Madsen, Jane Boegel, Luke Gibleon, Jason Tregoe Newman, Bryant J. Fuhrmann, Jeff Cranford, Gregg Barbanell and Alex Ullrich Nominated
Outstanding Television Movie El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards January 18, 2020 Outstanding Producer of Streamed or Televised Motion Pictures Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Charles Newirth, Vince Gilligan, Aaron Paul and Diane Mercer Nominated [188][189]
Satellite Awards December 19, 2019 Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Aaron Paul Nominated [190][173]
Best Motion Picture Made for Television El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Won
Saturn Awards October 26, 2021 Best Action or Adventure Film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Nominated [191][192]
Best Actor in a Film Aaron Paul Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards February 1, 2020 Television: Long Form – Adapted Vince Gilligan Nominated [193][194]
  1. ^ Additional nominees: Robin Le Chanu, Charles Newirth (unit production managers), John Wildermuth (first assistant director), Katy Galow (second assistant director), Nathan E. Davis (second second assistant director), Melissa Bosco-Laude, Chad Goyette (additional second assistant directors)[184]
  2. ^ a b The 72nd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony took place from September 14 to September 17, 2020 and on September 19, 2020. The date listed next to each Emmy category denotes when the corresponding award was given.[187]

Future[edit]

Both Vince Gilligan and Aaron Paul regarded El Camino as the proper conclusion to Jesse Pinkman's story, with neither having immediate plans for a sequel after the film's release.[70][195] Speculating on Jesse's new life in Haines, Alaska following the events of El Camino, Gilligan surmised that Jesse "would enjoy the brewery and maybe get a job with the ski manufacturer ... the very nice people of Alaska would welcome him into the community".[70] Paul believed that Jesse is "going to keep his nose clean. He has quite a bit of cash on hand. And he’s going to live a very modest lifestyle. He’s moving to a very small place in Alaska, so he doesn’t need all that much money. He knows how to work with his hands, and so he just needs to refresh those skills and become the artist that he was always meant to be".[14]

However, neither Gilligan nor Paul definitively ruled out the possibility of a sequel film to El Camino.[13][30] Gilligan wanted to create a new story outside of the Breaking Bad universe once he helped finish the final season of Better Call Saul, but indicated a slight chance of returning to Jesse's storyline if everyone still held interest.[2][13] He suggested a possible sequel could take place in Haines.[70] Paul said he would be interested in playing Jesse again if Gilligan felt he had more story to tell, but highly doubted such a scenario could occur since the film gave the character a satisfying ending.[51] He also expressed a desire to work with Gilligan again, regardless if the project was related to Breaking Bad or not.[195] Though Paul signaled warmth to the idea of seeing Jesse's adventures in Alaska, he also declined the prospect of a new Breaking Bad season that would focus on him.[51][196] Paul later confirmed that he would reprise Jesse Pinkman on the final season of Better Call Saul, and reaffirmed that any other return to the character required Gilligan's involvement.[46]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ During the events of "Buyout" and "Say My Name", set around early 2010.[4][5][6]
  2. ^ Set in autumn 2010, immediately after the events of "Felina".[7]
  3. ^ a b c As depicted in "Felina".[8]
  4. ^ Identified offscreen as Lydia Rodarte-Quayle.[9]
  5. ^ After the events of "Granite State".[8]
  6. ^ As depicted in "Confessions".[8]
  7. ^ During the events of "4 Days Out".[12]
  8. ^ Set after the events of the cold open flashback in "Abiquiu".[4]
  9. ^ The original song by The Platters previously appeared in "Mandala".[113]
  10. ^ Where he supposedly resided since "To'hajiilee".[121]

References[edit]

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