The highly-anticipated El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie arrives Friday on Netflix and in select theaters nationwide. The film, which was shot as a top-secret project, stars Aaron Paul, who reprises his role as the long-suffering meth dealer Jesse Pinkman.
The actor recently discusses what it was like keeping the project under wraps, likening it to working on a Star Wars film. "When we were shooting outside in public places, they had us wear these hilarious-looking cloaks. I personally thought it brought far more attention to us, but it was actually much easier than I thought it was going to be. We didn't have a problem with paparazzi at all; no one knew this was happening," he says of the covert 2018 New Mexico shoot.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan was adamant about keeping the film a secret. El Camino picks up where the critically acclaimed, award-winning series left off. In the Breaking Bad finale, chemistry teacher turned drug lord Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is found dead after a shootout with white supremacists. Jesse, meanwhile, manages to escape in a borrowed 1978 Chevrolet El Camino.
When the series ended, Gilligan felt he had given the characters closure, as Walter had survived a long, but ultimately fatal form of lung cancer and Jesse fled to presumably a new life far from Albuquerque. Yet as time passed, Gilligan wondered where Jesse may have gone. "How exactly would he have gotten out of that? Did he get caught by police a mile or two up the road?" Gilligan says. "That, coupled with my desire to work with Aaron again, made me think there might be more story worth telling. It wasn't a feeling of incompleteness, but rather a desire to see what happened next."
Gilligan discussed the possibility of a sequel with Paul in the summer of 2018, and the actor immediately said yes. The two eventually decided to address Jesse's fate in a two-hour movie for Netflix, where Breaking Bad had been available for streaming since the series ended its six-year run on AMC. Paul says he had no doubts about returning. "Vince gave me a career, and I trust him as a storyteller. He has a legacy to uphold with Breaking Bad and nailed the landing on that show – he's the last person that wants to screw that up. If he's going to tell a story, it's going to be pretty damn great."
Although not much is known about the plot of El Camino, other than it follow’s Jesse’s journey after Walt's death, the trailer does indicate that the film will deal with Jesse’s road to redemption as well as his inevitable face-off with his former drug dealing associates. "He's definitely done some bad things in his life, but at the core of him, there's this good guy desperately trying to find himself and find freedom," Paul says.
Fans, who have been anxious to see where Jesse ended up, are already clamoring for more films, an idea that Gilligan has not completely discarded. "It's been a surprisingly fun universe to inhabit all these years, considering how dark the subject matter is, but this may well be the end of it. Although I don't want to go on record as absolutely saying yes or no, this is it, because I'm not sure myself," he says.