Fans of Breaking Bad have reason to celebrate — plans for a new film tied to the beloved TV series are confirmed to be in development. Although the five-season drama came to a close in 2013, support for the franchise stays strong, especially with the success of its currently running prequel series, Better Call Saul. Rumors about a potential Breaking Bad film have been circulating, but it’s now official: fans will be able to return to the story once more.
The winner of 16 Emmys, Breaking Bad starred Bryan Cranston as Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with lung cancer who begins cooking and selling crystal meth with his former student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), to secure his family’s finances before he dies. As Walter slips deeper into the criminal world under his infamous alias “Heisenberg,” the character development that takes place over the course of the show is quite incredible to watch, and it’s no wonder that the show is considered to be one of the best of all time. But what direction will this new movie take?
The Albuquerque Journal first reported that series creator Vince Gilligan is working on what will be a two-hour film under the working title Greenbrier, but it is unclear at the moment whether it will be a television-only special or a feature to be released theatrically. There is no news yet as to who will be directing, but Gilligan is set to serve as writer and executive producer, and the shoot is set to begin in New Mexico in mid-November, according to Variety.
Perhaps the most exciting detail of all is the logline that states the film “tracks the escape of a kidnapped man and his quest for freedom.” The gang at /Film has boiled it down to the most plausible scenario: the film appears to follow Jesse after he flees the neo-Nazi gang in the series finale. This would mean the return of Paul to reprise his role as Jesse Pinkman, and it would mean that some of the loose ends left hanging in the air after the show’s finale will finally be addressed.
The most important overarching question that will inevitably be answered is: what happened to Jesse after he drove away into the night? If we recall the events of the finale, Jesse was being held captive by the neo-Nazis, who were forcing him to cook Heisenberg’s special meth formula. There was an escape attempt that had disastrous results, but in the end, Walter White saves the day by helping Jesse take down his tormentors. Walt ends up mortally wounded by a gunshot, and Jesse flees the scene in Walt’s car, free at last.
While it is nice to think of Jesse as finally free of his seemingly inescapable past of poor choices, there is a harsh reality that lies ahead for the future of his character that this film would be able to address and give a sense of closure to. Typically this is a question that might be better left unanswered, but the success of Better Call Saul has proven that to expand this universe isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It provides an opportunity to further enrich these characters’ stories.
Hopefully, the film will also give us a glance at what the Whites have made of themselves after the final showdown. Walt’s wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), his son, Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte), and his daughter, Holly, were three of the few remaining characters left alive. How they fared in the end is a bit of a mystery, especially after Skyler lost both her husband and her brother-in-law. Can they ever truly revert to a normal life after the events that have transpired? The likely answer is no, but it will be interesting to see whether they will play a part in Jesse’s journey after the fact.
No one has been officially set to be part of the film’s cast thus far, so there is much still up in the air regarding where the film will go. While the return of Paul appears rather inevitable, the same cannot be said for Bryan Cranston — unless Walter White comes back from the dead, there is little room for him to return, albeit for flashbacks and sequences set in the past. But who knows (he’s down to return if they need him)? Maybe the new film will weave together past and present, giving us more information about events that occurred during the timeline of the main series.
All in all, the fact that Breaking Bad is even able to make this sort of comeback more than 5 years following the show’s conclusion is pretty astounding: it’s one of those rare shows with the longevity to make this sort of project hold relevance even now. Little can be known for certain right now, but one thing’s for sure — if the film is anything like the other projects in the Breaking Bad franchise, it will likely be another entry that blows audiences away.