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Vince Gilligan Answers Fan Questions (Part II)

In Part II of his interview with the fans, Breaking Bad‘s creator Vince Gilligan describes the moment he started to dislike Walter White and why the show tends to pick on children.

Walt has been through quite a transformation over 5 seasons. Did you ever imagine him getting this dark back in Season 1? And do you think he’s gonna get worse in the season coming? — Justin

A: It’s funny, I always pitched — and everyone has heard the line ad nauseum — that the show was going to take Mr. Chips and transform him into Scarface. So implicit within that statement was the idea that this character’s going to get very dark indeed. [Laughs] Scarface was a pretty dark character, and if you use Scarface as your template, you kinda gotta know where you’re heading. Having said that, I think in many ways Walter White is a darker human being than Scarface right now. So I guess the short answer to the question is that I thought I saw how dark Walt was going to get, and in those earlier days looking back on it now, I don’t think I truly did. I think how dark Walt has become has surprised me, and does continue to surprise me. As to whether or not he will continue to get darker still? It’s a real possibility, but the best thing to do is wait and see.

When was the turning point for you, meaning from when on did you start to dislike Walt? That is, if you do. — jzvbb

A: I respect Walt, and I find him very interesting. If I didn’t respect him or find him interesting, this would a much harder job than it is. Having said that, Walt is a pretty unpleasant individual, and capable of great unpleasantness. He became really interesting to me way back in the fourth episode of the first season, when instead of accepting his old friend Elliot and Gretchen’s offer of help for his cancer treatment, he instead put his family at risk. In that moment, he became very interesting to me in a way that he hadn’t before. But when he became actively unlikable? Gosh, that’s a harder moment to point out. Oddly enough, poisoning young Brock, as bad as that was, it made sense at least because he needed Jesse on his side — otherwise his whole family was going to perish. But now, in Season 5, I guess he does terrible things in order just to better his station in life and make himself more money, and that’s probably where I have to draw the line.

Vince, why do you hate children so much? It seems like every child on this show commits some kind of crime or suffers a terrible tragedy. — iconoclast

A: [Laughs] I actually love children. But it seems to me that there should be no victim or class of victim that is completely off-limits on this show, and children definitely have suffered. We don’t want to bang it home any more than it needs to, but Walter White has made some terrible choices since we first met him, and he suffers for those choices, but I don’t think he suffers half as much as the innocent people around him, starting with his family, starting with his own children, and then moving on to perfect strangers who suffer inadvertently. There’s no active plan on our part to make children suffer any more than anyone else on the show [laughs], but definitely all kinds of people suffer on this show.

VIDEO: Inside Episode 508, “Gliding Over All”

What is Flynn’s favorite breakfast food? — Phil Rippke

A: Flynn’s favorite breakfast food I would think is a toss-up between some form of dry cereal or bacon. Flynn definitely loves his bacon, although definitely not vegetarian bacon — which tastes, of course, as we all know, like band-aids. Admittedly, you don’t keep a tally of how often you’ve seen Walter, Jr. eat breakfast. And then suddenly you turn around one day and you say, “My God, this kid. All he does is eat breakfast!” So, that amuses me and the other writers as well, greatly. The idea that Flynn or Walter, Jr. — depending on what mood we’re in we’ll call him one or the other — but Flynn’s love of breakfast indeed seems to know no bounds.

How do you feel about the series ending? I’m sure all the fans agree with me when I say it is too soon. — lijustbrokebad

A: Well, I appreciate that sentiment very much, and I myself am very sad at the thought of the series ending. This is lightning in a bottle, and as tough as it is to say goodbye to one another and to say goodbye to the fans and lose this week-in and week-out job that has been the best, most exciting, most satisfying moment in my career thus far — and may turn out to be the highlight of my career period — I hate the thought of the show peaking in quality and then going into some sort of long, slow, inexorable slide into mediocrity. I would rather risk going out a little too soon than going out a moment too late. Having said that, I think we’ve got the right number of episodes at 62 episodes of TV. And I just couldn’t feel any luckier than I feel having had the opportunity to do the show and have it work out better than I ever saw it in my wildest dreams.

As always, thank you all for watching and for being so enthusiastic about the show and indeed for keeping us on the air. There were a lot of times there over the years that Breaking Bad could have ended, and the fact that we’re still on the air and have gotten this far is testament to all the support and love we’ve gotten from so many quarters. Anyone reading this on the AMC website in particular is a superfan as far as I’m concerned. God bless you for being so supportive for so many seasons.

Click here to read Part I of Vince Gilligan’s fan interview, in which the Breaking Bad creator explains why Hank had to learn Walt’s secret while on the toilet and predicts whether we’ll ever see Bryan Cranston in his underwear again.

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