With the August 11th premiere of Breaking Bad‘s final season just around the corner, star Bryan Cranston and creator Vince Gilligan mused on the end of the show and its beloved meth cook-turned-kingpin anti-hero, Walter White, in a new interview with GQ.
Neither dropped any true spoilers, though Cranston discussed a few ways he thought the show and his character could meet their end: “I had notions,” he said. “Like, ‘What if he created this toxic world around him and, because of his actions, everybody he loved died and he had to stay alive?’ But then I’d think, ‘He’s wrought so much, he has to die. Doesn’t he?’ But if he dies, what does he die of? Maybe he dies of cancer. After all this other danger! But my true answer of how I wanted it to end, my honest answer, is this: however Vince Gilligan wants it to end.”
Gilligan himself said he believes the final eight episodes “have a real chance of satisfying . . . not everybody – there’s no way to satisfy every last viewer – but the bulk of our viewers. I certainly hope so. They satisfy me, and that’s saying a lot.”
In fact, Gilligan and the show’s writers were undecided for months about how to end Breaking Bad, also finding themselves with a destination (e.g. the M60 assault weapon Walt takes out of his trunk in the flash-forward that kicks off season 5), but no clear path to reach that point.
“We sat around this table talking about every possible kind of ending,” Gilligan said. “Sometimes you start talking really macro. Like, ‘What kind of responsibility do we have to find a moral in all this?’ ‘Is this a just universe that he lives in, or is it a chaotic universe which is more in keeping with the one we seem to live in?’ ‘Is there really karma in the world? Or is it just that the mechanisms, the clockwork, of the universe is so huge and subtle in its operation that we don’t see karma happening?’ We talk about all that stuff, and then, at a certain point, you stop and say, ‘Let’s just tell a good story.'”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gilligan said he found some inspiration in one of the most famous shows, and finales, in TV history, M*A*S*H: “From the first episode, these people sit around and say, ‘All I want to do is go home.’ So of course they all get to go home in the final episode. Sometimes the best moment in a TV show is an unpredictable moment, but sometimes it’s actually being predictable.”