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El Camino: Breaking Bad Netflix movie release date, cast, plot and rumors

After running for five explosive, meth-fueled seasons on AMC, the powerhouse drama Breaking Bad finished its run in 2013 with a blood-soaked finale that left a trail of bodies in its wake — including that of protagonist, Walter White (Bryan Cranston). While the ending of the series provided fans with a satisfying and seemingly definitive conclusion to the ever-spiraling misadventures of Walt and his young accomplice, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), rumors began to circulate in the fall of 2018 that a Breaking Bad film was on the way.

For nearly a year, information on the Breaking Bad movie was practically as elusive as Walt and Jesse themselves, with neither Cranston nor Paul willing to even confirm that a film was happening. However, Paul finally broke his long silence in an interview with The New York Times in August of 2019, announcing that not only was a Breaking Bad film on its way, but that it's much closer than anyone realized. We've gathered every last shard and crumb of information we could get our hands on while we wait for the Breaking Bad film to finish cooking and finally crystallize on our screens.

What's the release date for Breaking Bad: El Camino?

After months spent referring to the Breaking Bad film using the semi-secret codename Greenbriar, Netflix finally revealed the movie's actual name in August of 2019. The film will be called El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, and will hit Netflix on October 11, 2019. Eventually, El Camino will also reportedly air on AMC, Breaking Bad's home network, but no date has been announced yet for the film's cable debut. 

Until Netflix announced the October release date for El Camino, very little was known about the Breaking Bad movie, although Bob Odenkirk implied that filming had already been completed when he talked to The Hollywood Reporter promoting the upcoming fifth season of the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul, on which Odenkirk stars. When asked if the film was in fact happening, Odenkirk replied, "I find it hard to believe you don't know it was shot. They did it. You know what I mean? How is that a secret? But it is. They've done an amazing job of keeping it a secret."  

If secrecy was the goal, Netflix and the Breaking Bad team definitely succeeded. Mere days after Odenkirk gave his interview, exciting fans with the possibility that filming might already be completed, Netflix announced a release date less than two months away. After months of uncertainty about whether a movie was even happening, the Breaking Bad film was practically on our doorstep, and we hadn't even realized it was coming.

Aaron Paul returns to lead the El Camino cast as Jesse Pinkman

Although Paul spent the better part of a year playing his cards extremely close to his chest, numerous sources speculated early on that he'd be reprising his role as Jesse in the eventual Breaking Bad film, and that the film would revolve around him. Now those suspicions are confirmed — not only with the teaser trailer, but with the logline of the show: "In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future."

Breaking Bad saw Jesse evolve from a high school dropout who taught Walt how to deal drugs into the heart and soul of the show, holding fast to the conscience and morality that Walt slowly and methodically stripped away. As Walt became more ruthless, Jesse seemed to balance him by becoming increasingly more sympathetic. The final season of Breaking Bad led to Jesse getting kidnapped by a gang of neo-Nazis and forced to cook crystal meth for them, until Walt ultimately came to his rescue in the finale. The last we saw of Jesse, he was driving away from the neo-Nazis' meth lab in a stolen car — an El Camino — laughing in relief at the endless possibilities granted to him by his long-awaited freedom.  

Will Bryan Cranston bring Walter White back to life in El Camino?

Despite being the star of the series, it's unsurprising that Walter White may not play a role in the movie, due to his death in the series finale — he's hit by a stray bullet when he initiates his plan to mow down the neo-Nazis that have captured Jesse, and bleeds out in a meth lab. Still, it's hard to imagine any version of Breaking Bad without Cranston, who was the indisputable star of the series and brought one of the most memorable TV characters of the 21st century to life in Walter White. 

While it appears as though El Camino will take place after Walt's death, Cranston has said that if asked to return, he would "absolutely" do it. "I don't know if there's an appearance — flashbacks, flash forward," Cranston told The Dan Patrick Show in February 2019, "but I'm excited about it because it's Breaking Bad and it was the greatest professional period of my life and I can't wait to see all those people again, even if I just come by to visit." 

It's hard to imagine how a flash forward could allow Cranston to come back, but a flashback — or even a dream or hallucination — could be a reasonable way for Walt to make an appearance in the film, even if he's not the star. Whatever the method, we hope El Camino finds a way to work Walt in, even if it is just for a single scene. 

Saul Goodman will probably not make an appearance in El Camino

Although Bob Odenkirk seems to be more in the loop than most people regarding El Camino, he still speaks about the film as though it's simply something he's heard about, and not something he's worked on. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Odenkirk said, "I've heard so many different things about it, but I am excited about the Breaking Bad movie. I can't wait to see it."

Of course, as any Breaking Bad fan could tell you, no one is better at selling a lie than Odenkirk, who plays the slippery lawyer Saul Goodman — or Jimmy McGill, back before he changed his name — on both the original series and the spinoff, Better Call Saul. If he was trying to throw us off the scent and he actually is in El Camino, we'd probably never even suspect the lie until his face suddenly showed up on our TV screens. So while right now we're willing to take Odenkirk at his word that he's merely eagerly awaiting El Camino as a fan, just like the rest of us, we also won't be too surprised if he has a supporting role after all.

What can the ending of Breaking Bad tell us about the story of El Camino?

We last saw Jesse Pinkman driving off into the night, screaming and laughing in relief, after Walt freed him from his abductors at the end of "Felina." Jesse never gave any indication about where he might have been headed, but according to the logline of El Camino, we're about to find out. "In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future," Netflix promises us. This seems to indicate that El Camino — presumably titled after the type of car Jesse drives in his final scene — is about more than just Jesse's physical journey away from his kidnappers, but will address his emotional one as well.

The part about "[coming] to terms with his past" almost definitely refers to the repercussions of Jesse's illegal actions with Walt. In the final season, Jesse agreed to cooperate with DEA agent Hank (Dean Norris) to incriminate Walt, in exchange for leniency for himself. However, Hank is murdered before their deal can ever be finalized, making Jesse a fugitive by the conclusion of the series. 

Jesse may also have to wrestle with some personal demons, such as the deaths of his ex-girlfriends Jane (Krysten Ritter) and Andrea (Emily Rios), who both died because of their involvement with Jesse. Perhaps one way Jesse will deal with the consequences of his actions will be by going to check on Andrea's orphaned son, Brock (Ian Posada), and making sure he is all right. 

When does El Camino take place in the Breaking Bad timeline?

Even before the logline of El Camino was revealed, Breaking Bad fans already had reason to suspect that any potential Breaking Bad film would have to take place after the finale of the series. Not only were rumors already swirling around the possibility of a Jesse-centric film, but there's simply no other time in the Breaking Bad narrative where a feature-length story might fit. Walt and Jesse meet in the pilot of the series. Before that, Jesse is a small-time drug dealer and Walt is a high school chemistry teacher — hardly the stuff movies are made of. After that, the tale of Breaking Bad was so tightly woven that it didn't seem possible that there were another two minutes of relevant story that we didn't see play out during the course of the series, let alone two hours. 

Cranston confirmed the post-finale time frame in an interview with ET, where he said that he's "still dead" in the film, and the official logline also indicates that El Camino will be picking up right where the finale left off. However, if it's been a while since you've watched Breaking Bad and you're worried you won't remember enough to understand El Camino, Aaron Paul has suggested you rewatch only one scene prepare yourself for the film — Jesse's heartbreaking monologue from season three, where he tells Walt he has never been more alone. Gather your tissues, because if that scene is any indication of what El Camino will be like… ouch. 

The teaser trailer for El Camino features the return of a surprising character

In the process of announcing the name and premiere date of El Camino, Netflix also dropped a teaser trailer. If it's been a while since you've watched Breaking Bad, you may not recognize the character at the center of the teaser, but he's someone who's been around since the very first season of the show. In the short clip, which is set in a police station, we hear a man telling a roomful of officers that he doesn't have any idea where "he" is or where "he" is headed. The camera then pivots around to reveal the speaker: Skinny Pete (Charles Baker), who is being questioned about the whereabouts of Jesse Pinkman, but refuses to give him up.

Skinny Pete was introduced in season one of Breaking Bad as the one responsible for introducing Jesse to drug kingpin Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz). Skinny Pete later deals crystal meth for Jesse, sobers up, relapses, and ultimately helps Walt seek revenge against his former business partner.  

Now it seems as though the DEA may think that Skinny Pete is the key to locating Jesse, but despite their rocky relationship, Skinny Pete shows no signs of turning on his friend. "I seen that little cage of his they kept him in," Pete tells the police. "I heard about what all they did to him to make sure he kept cooking. So sorry, I don't know what to tell you. But no way I'm helping you people put Jesse Pinkman back inside a cage." 

Vince Gilligan is returning to write and direct El Camino

Breaking Bad would never have become the critical and cultural smash it was without the vision of Vince Gilligan, who not only created the show, but was responsible for penning some of its most memorable episodes, including "Box Cutter," "Face Off," and the series finale, "Felina." Back when the news first broke that a feature-length follow-up may be in the works, fans were relieved to hear that it would, once again, have Gilligan at the helm

While Gilligan did not write or direct every episode of Breaking Bad, it looks as though he'll be doing both for El Camino. This will not be the first time Gilligan has ventured back into the story of Jesse and Walter since the show wrapped in 2013. He is also the creator of the ongoing spin-off series Better Call Saul, which premiered two years after the conclusion of Breaking Bad, and of which he has written and directed several episodes. After being immersed in the Breaking Bad world for more than a decade, there's no one better than Gilligan to bring Jesse and the tattered remains of Walt's once-great meth empire back onto our screens. 

Surprisingly, El Camino is not about wading through streams or riding mules

For a couple weeks in the summer of 2019, Breaking Bad fans got excited when Paul and Cranston made a series of cryptic social media posts, teasing some sort of big upcoming reveal. The first one, posted on both actors' Instagram accounts on June 25th, was a photo of two mules, with the caption "Soon." Speculation began running rampant that the "soon" referred to information about the Breaking Bad movie, with the mules either teasing a scene in the film or being a sly reference to drug mules, indicating that Jesse would be getting back into the meth business. 

The second photo, shared by both actors on July 2nd, was an image of Paul and Cranston carrying their shoes as they waded through a shallow stream, in a location that appeared to be somewhere south of the border. This one was captioned "Even sooner," and sent fans into a frenzy of wondering what sort of story could not only involve both Jesse and Walt, but would send them to Mexico. 

However, a week later, they announced that the photo teases had nothing to do with Breaking Bad at all, and that instead, they were launching a tequila label together, featuring a "really special Mezcal." Cranston and Paul are calling their Mezcal brand Dos Hombres, which can be ordered from their website at a price of $65 per bottle… plus all the time we spent pondering what sort of mule-riding adventure Walt and Jesse could've had in Mexico during Breaking Bad.

Did Vince Gilligan give us a clue about El Camino way back in 2013?

On the heels of the Breaking Bad finale, Gilligan told GQ his theory about what happens to Jesse after the events of "Felina." "My personal feeling is that he got away," Gilligan said, likely referring to Jesse's escape from the DEA agents that would've surely been after him. "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." 

The murders Gilligan is talking about are of Walt's brother-in-law Hank Schrader and his partner Steven "Gomie" Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada), who were both killed in the final few episodes of Breaking Bad. Of course, Jesse didn't commit either murder — Hank and Gomie were killed in a shootout with the neo-Nazis Walt hired to kill Jesse when he thought Jesse was stealing the money he'd buried in the desert — but the DEA has no way of knowing that. Assuming Gilligan hasn't changed his mind in the years since Breaking Bad ended, it sounds like although we can expect Jesse to still have some quick thinking and stealthy maneuvering ahead of him, we can hopefully look forward to a happy ending.