It should go without saying, but this is the internet, so just in case someone needs it spelled out despite that big ol’ headline: This article contains spoilers for Breaking Bad. Now that we’ve dispensed with that business, let’s move on: Of course Water White died at the end of Breaking Bad, you goons. But with Bryan Cranston teasing his return to the role in El Camino, which premieres on Netflix later this week, Vince Gilligan felt compelled to clarify Walter’s fate once again. During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, the Breaking Bad creator—who also wrote and directed the Jesse Pinkman-centric sequel movie—was asked to definitively comment on Walter’s fate in the series finale. According to Consequence Of Sound, Gilligan kept it simple, but direct:
Yes, Walter White is dead.
The series finale aired six years ago—a devastating fact given the lack of development in your (okay my) personal life since then, but consequential because you may have forgotten how the series ended. Just Google it if you need all the details, but to recap: Following an explosive showdown, Walt is wounded by a gunshot and Jesse, who’d been held captive and forced to cook meth, happily drives off in an El Camino. Walt enters the lab, fondly caresses a few pieces of meth-cooking equipment (like a fucking weirdo), falls on the ground, and smiles to himself as he dies. The camera zooms out, cops enter, and one bends down to take Walt’s pulse. THE END.
The death of Walter White was a fitting conclusion to the series, but because we never saw an autopsy or a death certificate or a cold, rotting corpse, the fan theories prevailed. Honestly, the only one that holds any water is Norm Macdonald’s lengthy analysis of the Breaking Bad series finale on Twitter (which he admits he arrived to after a similar dissection published by the New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum), the TL;DR version of which is: The series finale is a fantasy because Walt already succumbed to cancer when he was previously confronted by the police (who surrounded him with no exit, by the way), and also how do you get ricin into a sealed packet of Stevia?? As Macdonald points out, we’re just taking Gilligan’s confirmation of Walt’s death at face value; how do we know he’s telling the truth?
Perhaps we’ll find out this Friday, when El Camino hits Netflix. But probably not.