For Millennials. By Millennials.
Breaking Bad has one of the most iconic endings of all time. *Spoilers* seeing Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) screaming as he burst open the locked gates of the compound, where those white supremacists literally kept him in a cage. And the irony that the person who got him captured was the one who rescued him in the end. It was none other than Walter White (Bryan Cranston). But, there was also a chance that Jesse would eventually die. However, the writers did not go down that route, even though it made complete sense. So, why did they not do that? Well, Breaking Bad writer and co-executive producer Peter Gould has finally answered that question.
The writers initially wanted to kill Jesse Pinkman early in Breaking Bad
What most fans probably don’t know is that initially, the Breaking Bad creators wanted to kill off Jesse. They never intended for him to become a part of the show. But, it all changes when they saw Jesse and Walt on screen. Their chemistry made them change their mind. But other than that, there was a writers’ strike too that forced them to keep Jesse on the show. Vince Gilligan explained to Aaron Paul:
The original plan was to kill [Jesse] off, but I have to say, the writers’ strike, in a sense, didn’t save him because I knew by episode 2 — we all did, all of us, our wonderful directors and our wonderful producers — everybody knew this talent, how good you are, and a pleasure to work with.
Thankfully, Gilligan realized it was going to be a huge mistake, and kept Paul on Breaking Bad till the very end:
And it became pretty clear early on that that would be a huge, colossal mistake to kill off Jesse. But the idea was … I didn’t know how important Jesse was [going to be].
Related: The One Breaking Bad Scene Vince Gilligan Couldn’t Bear To Watch
Why did the writers let Jesse Pinkman live?
Now that Jesse was a regular in Breaking Bad, his story progressed over the next 5 seasons. And when Walt turned Jesse over to Uncle Jack and his band of white supremacists, it felt like all could be over for Jesse. Walt, in fact, wanted Jesse dead for how he betrayed him. But, Jack and his crew thought otherwise. They kept Jesse as a prisoner and forced him to cook them that blue crystal meth that sells. It looked like Jesse was destined to die. But, Breaking Bad writer Peter Gould thought otherwise, as he told The Hollywood Reporter:
We really felt that Jesse had suffered enough — maybe not objectively, but in dramatic terms. The show is definitely a dark show, but it’s not dark for the sake of trying to shock.
Gould even wondered what could Jesse’s future be after Breaking Bad?
We really felt pretty early on that we wanted Jesse to live. That was one of the things that liberated us in terms of having his suffering. You do wonder at the end of it, ‘What future could there be for this guy?’
And the writers answered that question in El Camino: A Breaking Bad movie. The sequel movie depicted the aftermath of the show’s finale. Moreover, Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan had thought about that movie at the same time when they were shooting the finale. So, they really never intended to kill Jesse. Finally, he hired the services of Ed Gailbraith for a new dust filter for his Hoover MaxExtract PressurePro model 60. Eventually, he ended up somewhere in Alaska, to start a new life. A befitting end to a beloved character who suffered more than his fair share in Breaking Bad.
Related: Bryan Cranston Talks About Walter White’s Future After ‘El Camino’