Breaking Bad almost killed off this major character

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) - Breaking Bad _ Season 5, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC
Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) - Breaking Bad _ Season 5, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC /

Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte) managed to survive AMC’s Breaking Bad, but that wasn’t always the plan, according to the shows creator Vince Gilligan.

The 10th year anniversary special episode on Conan saw the reunited cast of AMC’s award-winning Breaking Bad all back together again. Among the questions asked by late night show host, Conan, one stood out in particular and it regarded killing off a major character.

Breaking Bad saw many casualties over five seasons, including the main character Walter White (Bryan Cranston), himself. His family, however, managed to make it out alive. That includes Walter’s son, Walter Jr., also known as Flynn, but according to Vince Gilligan, he actually considered killing off the character.

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t originally Gilligan’s idea. During the cast interviews on Conan, actor RJ Mitte revealed that he pitched the idea to kill off his own character. A bold move indeed.

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"“I kind of pitched [the idea]. They were talking about someone, and I said, ‘Well, Junior would be a good one to kill.'”"

This seemed to be news to most of the panel, as the reaction showed many surprised faces. When Conan asked Mitte who he’d want Walter Jr. to be killed by, he replied that it would have to be “someone good.” His first pick? The hitmen Salamanca twins, also known as the cousins.

"“I was assuming, because I read it, and I was like, ‘Oh, my part, I don’t have a lot in any of this script, in all the seasons,’ I’m like, ‘Oh man, I’m losing lines, and then these guys show up and I’m like, ‘Wait, I’m next!’ No one was safe on this show.”"

Imagine what type of impact Walter Jr.’s death would’ve had on the show? If it were the cousins who killed him, it would’ve happened in season 3 when they were still among the living. We’d see a much darker Walter White much faster and an entirely different plot.

Conan asked Gilligan if he gave thought to Mitte’s proposal. Turns out he more than contemplated it. He even came up with the beginning of an idea to pitch to his writers.

"“Early on, I pitched to my writers — I had this idea where Walter Jr., there’s this horrible, you know, he gets killed by this nasty guy that Walt is somehow in business with, and I had this whole thing — it would take too long to even pitch it here — and all my writers looked at me like I had completely lost my mind and was the most horrible person who ever lived.”"

For a show that was already fairly dark, killing Walter’s son would certainly have made it even darker. As soon as Gilligan’s writers shut the idea down, Walter Jr. became number one on the Breaking Bad can’t kill list.

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I think Gilligan and company made the right decision. Any harm toward Walter Jr.’s way would ultimately be related back to his father. Even despite his many awful decisions and flaws, Walter White was still a character you could root for, but it’d be a whole lot harder if he got his own son killed. Well, now one can only wonder what would have been if Gilligan pulled the trigger (literally) on Walter Jr.

I wouldn’t say things ended happily ever after for Walter Jr., but yes, he did survive. The character should be forever alive so long as they don’t bring him back for whatever reason on spinoff-prequel series Better Call Saul.