The Netflix film was released last Friday (October 11), depicting what happened to Jesse Pinkman (played by Paul) immediately after the events of the Breaking Bad finale.
Spoilers for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie are posted below
El Camino concludes with Jesse successfully making it to Alaska thanks to the efforts of people smuggler Ed Galbraith (played by the late Robert Forster), with the final shot showing the character smiling as he drives forth to start his new life after assuming a fresh identity.
Paul and Breaking Bad creator Gilligan — who wrote and directed El Camino — have now revealed two alternate endings to the movie. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Gilligan explained that one idea he had for the film’s conclusion saw Jesse winding up in police custody after meeting “a young woman who needed some help” by the Canadian border.
“Jesse goes into the process of saving her, knowing full well that he’s going to suffer for it, he’s going to get caught for it, but he does it anyway,” Gilligan said. “And the last scene would be maybe him in a jail cell but at peace for the first time since the movie began. I think there was going to be this component where he couldn’t sleep. He wouldn’t get a single night sleep for a week or so upon escaping. The police are looking for him and he’s too haunted and he’s too adrenaline-charged.
“And at the end of the thing, he’s in a jail cell, and ironically he can fall asleep like a baby. And I thought, ‘Ah, that’d be kind of cool.’”
Gilligan didn’t get too far with that idea, though, as he said when he pitched it to various people — including Breaking Bad‘s executive producer Peter Gould, the writers and his girlfriend — “everybody looked at me like I was absolutely insane”.
“‘You can’t have Jesse back in a cell at the end of the movie! People will tar and feather you!’ I’m glad I listened to them. I think there is a version of that movie that if perfectly executed would work, but I don’t know that I was the guy to pull it off. I’m glad I wound up doing it the way I did it.”
Paul, who said that Gilligan never shared that idea for the ending with him, also spoke about another idea for the ending which would involve Jesse reciting his letter to Brock, the young son of his slain ex-girlfriend Andrea.
“That letter to Brock was the very first thing that Vince wrote when writing this script,” Paul said. “Once he completed that letter, he started the script. Originally the voiceover of that letter was how the movie ended — just driving through Alaska and you could hear what was inside of that letter…. It’s heartbreaking, it’s beautiful, just honest.
“But Vince just thought, ‘You know what? Maybe it’s best left unknown.’ And we don’t need it. He was right. But I love knowing what was in the letter.”
Elsewhere in the EW interview, Paul confirmed that he’d be up for playing Jesse in a future episode of the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul.