Vince Gilligan, the brain behind AMC’s Breaking Bad, asked a packed auditorium at Friday night’s Comic-Con panel if they thought his main character Walter White was as bad as he was going to get.
The answer was a definite no.
Walter, played by Bryan Cranston, will walk into the fifth and final season of Breaking Bad this Sunday after making a complete transformation from benign chemistry teacher to ruthless methamphetamine cook.
He has killed all his known enemies, and is left now with the most evil character in the entire show: himself.
“Perhaps the happy ending would be when he dies,” Cranston said. “He’s become so dark. It’s cancerous in-and-of-itself.”
After four seasons, the show has just 16 episodes remaining before it finishes forever.
Now, the writers are left to tie up all the loose ends scattered throughout the series. And, as Gilligan noted, the writers leave no ends un-tied. This means the show will expand beyond Albuquerque city limits to the origin of his nemesis Gus Fring’s equipment manufacturers in Hamburg Germany.
“We’re going to be reading a lot more German subtitles,” Gilligan said.
It also means the return of a certain household product that appeared in the first season, Cranston hinted.
Details aside, there’s the question of Walt’s ever-worsening badness. Gilligan warned the audience Thursday that Walter would continue to lose sympathy in the coming season. In fact as a viewer, he said, he's "lost all sympathy.”
Cranston agreed that his character has surpassed a point of no return – and yet, there’s something more than the money that’s propelling him. He has more cash now than he knows what do with.
“After narrowly avoiding being killed and having your entire family being threatened, a sane person would get out of there,” Cranston said of his character Walter White. “But not Walter. He’s found a new power, and it’s his ego.”
Viewers will no doubt get a compelling final season. Aaron Paul, who plays Walt’s accomplice Jesse compared the season to one scene in the fourth season, in which a defeated Walt manically doubles over in laughter after it looks like his entire plan was blown.
"This entire season is just creepy. It’s unsettling," Paul said.
Gilligan appears to fear success as he sees it through Walter White – where Walt reaches success and pushes the envelope further, Gilligan seems reluctant to even accept he’s reached success with the show, lest he push the envelope at all.
“As squarely middle-aged as I am, I don’t want it to be all downhill from here,” Gilligan said.
But at the end of the panel, as the auditorium gave the crew a standing ovation, and roared as Paul threw his meth suit into the crowd, there was no denying that success had found him. He'll be putting his all into the final season.
“When you win a lottery,” Gilligan said, quoting one of the episodes, “the first thing you don’t do is buy another lottery ticket.”