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Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan Recalls Tearing Up When Writing Walt's Death

From 2008 to 2013, and within a fictional timeline that covered exactly two years, AMC's "Breaking Bad" easily became one of the greatest TV dramas of all time. This was to be expected thanks to the vibrant storytelling and dynamic acting that featured in every single hour of its 62-episode total. Bryan Cranston (Walter White), Anna Gunn (Skyler White), and Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman) all won a combined total of nine Primetime Emmy Awards between themselves for their work each season. But the tight pacing, intense drama, and unique interpersonal dynamics between all the characters are a defining part of what makes the program great.

Many of the personalities that come in and out of Walt's life met tragic ends throughout the run of the series, while others will spend years rebuilding their lives after White's reign of destruction. Each of the devastating deaths washed over viewers with an intensity not normally seen in crime dramas. Whether it was Jane's (Krysten Ritter) needless overdose where Walt refused to save her or the anti-hero's gunning down of Mike Ehrmentraut (Jonathan Banks) late in the series, conventional wisdom would dictate that crying over Walt's demise would be strange. But according to creator and showrunner Vince Gilligan, he found himself tearing up over Walt's death in the finale.

Gilligan says that Walt's death signified the end of a seven-year journey

In a 2015 AMA on Reddit, Vince Gilligan was asked which of the character deaths in "Breaking Bad" affected him most. The writer replied, "I have to say the death of Walter White affected me the most, because what it represented was the end of the story and the completion of this seven year journey we had taken together — the cast, crew, writers and directors of Breaking Bad." The producer then revealed, "That was the most affecting death to write. I actually teared up when I wrote it." For those who find the answer to be a bit too obvious, Gilligan did share a runner-up. "I think a close second was the death of Mike Ehrmantraut," he said.

At the time, viewers did not have hardcore proof that Walt actually died in the final moments of the series finale. This was, of course, reiterated in the prequel/sequel series "Better Call Saul," which sheds clearer light on the timeline of both shows. But some fans were a bit disappointed in the revelation made in the AMA. u/jdub_06 stated, "there goes my future hope and [Bryan] Cranston's tease that they never showed a body bag getting zipped so walt isn't officially dead." It looks like Walt's demise affected some fans as well despite the foreshadowing of it throughout the drama.