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Vince Gilligan On Walt And Jesse’s Endings, And How ‘The Searchers’ Influenced The Finale

By 09.30.13

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Today has basically been Wall-to-Wall Breaking Bad Finale Day anyway — not just at UPROXX, everywhere — so let’s just go ahead and take this sucker home with some big blockquotes. Entertainment Weekly has a long, thorough Q&A with creator Vince Gilligan (as well as one with Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul) that touches on everything from alternate endings, to what a miscreant Todd was (Fun Fact: Gilligan and company refereed to him as “Ricky Hitler”), to in-depth explanations about why certain choices were made. It’s an interesting read that fills in some blanks, and I highly recommend checking the whole thing out, if only to see where everyone’s head was at during the process of putting it all together. Here are some of the highlights:

On the Walt/Jesse ending:

“A lot of astute viewers who know their film history are going to say, ‘It’s the ending to The Searchers.’ And indeed it is. The wonderful western The Searchers has John Wayne looking for Natalie Wood for the entire three-hour length of the movie. She’s been kidnapped by Indians and raised as one of their own, and throughout the whole movie, John Wayne says, ‘I need to put her out of her misery. As soon as I find her, I’m going to kill her.’ The whole movie Jeffrey Hunter is saying, ‘No, we’re not — she’s my blood kin, we’re saving her,’ and he says, ‘We’re killing her.’ And you’re like, ‘Oh my god, John Wayne is a monster and he’s going to do it. You know for the whole movie that this is the major drama between these two characters looking for Natalie Wood. And then at the end of the movie, on impulse, you think he’s riding toward her to shoot her, and instead he sweeps her up off her feet and he carries her away and he says, ‘Let’s go home.’ It just gets me every time — the ending of that movie just chokes you up, it’s wonderful. In the writers room, we said, ‘Hey, what about the Searchers ending?’ So, it’s always a matter of stealing from the best. [Laughs]“

On Walt’s last moments:

“They’re rolling in with the sirens going and the lights flashing and he just doesn’t give a damn. He’s patting his Precious, in Lord of the Rings terms. He’s with the thing he seems to love the most in the world, which is his work and his meth lab and he just doesn’t care about being caught because he knows he’s on the way out. So it could be argued that he pays for his sins at the end or it could just as easily be argued that he gets away with it.”

On Jesse’s chance at freedom:

“We always felt like the viewers desired Jesse to get away. And it’s up to the individual viewer to decide what happens next for Jesse. Some people might think, ‘Well, he probably got two miles down the road before the cops nailed him.’ But I prefer to believe that he got away, and he’s got a long road to recovery ahead, in a sense of being held prisoner in a dungeon for the last six months and being beaten to within an inch of his life and watching Andrea be shot. All these terrible things he’s witnessed are going to scar him as well, but the romantic in me wants to believe that he gets away with it and moves to Alaska and has a peaceful life communing with nature.”

Jesus. Even when Vince Gilligan imagines a nice life for Jesse Pinkman, he still sends him to a cold, barren wasteland like Alaska. At least let my man get some sunshine, you know?


TOPICS#BREAKING BAD
TAGSVINCE GILLIGAN

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