After a six-year hiatus, the world created in the AMC original hit show, “Breaking Bad,” is officially back. But this time it’s in the form of a Netflix original spin-off movie titled “El Camino,” and we could not be more excited for it.
Rumors around this production first stirred when filming began in November 2018. Social media hit the fan once news broke that “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan would be at the helm while “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul would return to reprise his role as Jesse Pinkman.
Plot and production details mostly remained under wraps until Aug. 24, 2019 when Netflix announced the title of the film and an Oct. 11, 2019 release. A simple tweet of the title and date would not suffice, however, so Gilligan, his team and Netflix gave people what they wanted: a taste of the film in the form of a teaser trailer.
The trailer clearly delivered in a big way as the Netflix tweet racked up 173.5 thousand retweets and 473.3 thousand likes.
The brilliance of the teaser trailer lies in its brevity and focus on one character in one scene. It gives us enough to be excited but not enough to fully understand what is going on, and it’s this mystery factor that proves effective.
We do not see the film’s protagonist, Jesse Pinkman, in the trailer because they need to build the anticipation of his appearance. Jesse is one of the most beloved and well-developed TV characters in recent memory, so to spoil his return in a short announcement clip would take some of the air out of the movie’s build-up.
Who and what we do see in this clip is everyone’s favorite dense druggie, Skinny Pete, in a holding room with what appears to be some police officers discussing the whereabouts of Jesse. Skinny Pete professes he does not know where Jesse is and if he did he would not help the cops get him and “put him back in a cage.”
After he makes his point, the clip cuts to black and the audience is hit with “El Camino” followed by a somewhat cryptic reveal of the release date as a familiar snake rattle (played at the end of the show’s brief theme song) fills the audio and gives fans a sense of nostalgia.
Since this announcement, a cover/poster has been created and released for the film and plot details, while vague, have been added to IMDb.
Similar to the announcement, the poster is eerie and vague, but also visually pleasing. It features the El Camino car we last saw Jesse escape in, blazing a trail of green smoke. The hazy green trail is reminiscent of the green associated with “Breaking Bad.”
While the movie’s plot has been greatly speculated, the vague plotline listed on IMDb confirms the speculation that Jesse will be on the run from the police, but also on the run from his own inner turmoil.
From the looks of it, “El Camino” could be a character study more than anything. Given the major success Aaron Paul had playing Pinkman, racking up three Emmy wins and a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor, we would love nothing more than to watch Paul display the struggle and wide range of emotions of Jesse in a full-length movie about Jesse.
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There is no doubt there are some “Breaking Bad” fans who are worried about the film tarnishing Jesse’s legacy and even the show if it fails spectacularly. This is a reasonable concern but there is cause to erase any grave doubts you may have.
First, it should not be too difficult once it is said and done to separate the film from the show. Walter White is dead, so if he is to appear in the movie it would be via flashback. The absence of Heisenberg and all the characters who are now dead or were connected to only him should make this movie feel like a whole different adventure.
Second, the success of “Breaking Bad” spin-off series, “Better Call Saul,” is a good omen for “El Camino.” Gilligan is also the creator of that, and he has done more than enough to prove his work is worthy of continuing the “Breaking Bad” narrative and guiding these characters wherever he pleases.
Third, Paul said in a conversation with The New York Times that he was hesitant at first to come back to Jesse, seeing how amazing the character’s conclusion on the show was. But after reading the first script from Gilligan for the movie, Paul was reportedly speechless and was on board immediately.
Lastly, this is one of many Netflix original movies coming out this awards season. This would not have been added to their stacked slate in the thick of awards season if Netflix felt Gilligan’s screenplay unworthy.
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We only have a little more than a month left to come up with reasons to feel one way or the other about this movie, so let the speculation continue and the anticipation build.