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We Love Aaron Paul, But The Breaking Bad Movie Shouldn’t Focus on Jesse

Don't pull a Rick Grimes on us.

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) speeds towards freedom in the series finale of Breaking Bad

When the news dropped about two weeks ago that a Breaking Bad movie was on the horizon (it was Election Night, you’re forgiven if you missed it), there wasn’t any definite answer as to how this film would connect to the larger Breaking Bad universe. The only reported plot details are that the film centers on a “the escape of a kidnapped man and his quest for freedom,” which would tie into one major player from the original show. Now, series star Bryan Cranston has weighed in on the film, and his hopes are that it centers on fan favorite and co-lead Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul.

When asked, Cranston told interviewers: “I would like to see — and again I have no idea if this is what [Vince is] thinking about — I would like to see [Jesse] struggle to break that mold and eventually break out and find his own real true calling. Something that empowered him as a human being, that is on the straight and narrow, that allows him to be able to open up, to let another human being into his life. And be happy. ‘Cause I don’t sense that he was really ever happy.”

(Spoilers for Breaking Bad‘s series finale below)

Cranston praised Paul’s work earlier in the interview as well, saying:

“You know, the way Aaron just enveloped that character, or maybe the way Jesse Pinkman enveloped Aaron Paul, he filled him with such humanistic attraction. He just felt like a boy who was lost, and on the cusp of being a man, and missing some guide posts in his life. But — man — you fell for him. And I think Vince ended the series the way it was best. Walter White had to die. He was the person that brought upon all this disaster and decay. And Jesse Pinkman was almost kind of an innocent bystander to it, and paid the price for that.”

Jesse’s arc was supremely tragic, and Paul deserved the multiple Emmys he took home for the role. For five seasons, Jesse was manipulated and tormented by both the antagonists he and Walt faced, and by Walt himself. The series finale saw Jesse freed from captivity and driving away from his prison, finally in control of his own fate. It’s a good ending for Jesse, one that allows for the possibility of happiness while not being too tidy of a solution. To expand more on the ending would be a disservice to the ending’s ambiguity.

Gilligan had originally spoken about Jesse’s future following the series finale:

“My personal feeling is that he got away. But the most likely thing, as negative as this sounds, is that they’re going to find this kid’s fingerprints all over this lab and they’re going to find him within a day or a week or a month. And he’s still going to be on the hook for the murder of two federal agents. But yeah, even though that’s the most likely outcome, the way I see it is that he got away and got to Alaska, changed his name, and had a new life. You want that for the kid. He deserves it.”

That’s really the only answer we need to the problem of Jesse’s future. The ending is purposefully ambiguous as to what happens to Jesse, Skyler, and the other surviving cast members, which makes sense since the story is about Walt’s fall from grace and told from his point of view. To add on more to it would take away from the ending. Gilligan’s involvement with the script points to it not being a complete mess — Gilligan turned prequel Better Call Saul from a weird idea into a critical darling — but I’m still hesitant to cheer for the idea of Jesse’s final ride, especially since it’ll either be an emotionally devastating look at Jesse’s final hours or it might be a happy ending out of line with the rest of the show, and I have already cried so much about Jesse over the course of the show’s run.

It’s better than a Walking Dead cinematic venture, that’s for sure. But I’m still not certain we have to know how every character in Breaking Bad ended up where they were at the start of the series or what happened to them afterwards. Let’s not pull a Rowling here.

(via IndieWire; Image: AMC)

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Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.