The current cover story of Entertainment Weekly is all about TV finales, featuring in-depth interviews with the showrunners behind memorable finales like The X-Files and 30 Rock. “The Art Of Saying Goodbye” remarks upon the tough process of crafting an episode that is satisfying for the creators, the audience, and the fictional characters. It’s not an easy task, and plenty of shows have mucked it up, but the process showrunners go through is fascinating. One of the most interesting interviews is with Vince Gilligan, who reveals some original ideas he had for the Breaking Bad finale. Gilligan’s not the only indecisive writer — many creators have pondered, shot, and even released different endings from the ones that aired. Here are seven TV shows and the spoiler-filled alternate endings that almost were.
The series finale of Breaking Bad was polarizing but overall it got a positive reception and for good reason. It was a satisfying ending to a satisfying television show, and one that no one will soon forget. Jesse got away and Walter got what he deserved — what else could you want? Well, according to creator Vince Gilligan: a bloodbath.
In the EW interview, Gilligan reveals that the writers had tossed around a ton of different endings, including a few particularly bloody ones. One earlier version: “We had an idea for the longest time that Walt was going to break into the downtown jail in Albuquerque and just shoot the s— out of the jail with this M60 machine gun and rescue Jesse.”
Later, Gilligan elaborates on another, different violent ending: “At one point, we talked about killing off every major character, and one particularly dark week along the way we talked about killing everybody — having some sort of Wild Bunch bloodbath of an ending.”
I’m certainly happier with the ending he ultimately chose.