The Real Reason Why ‘Breaking Bad’ Ended Had Everything to Do With ‘X-Files’

“You want to leave folks wanting more.”

Walter White
AMC/Breaking Bad

One thing viewers learned from Breaking Bad, aside from the fact that dealing meth is a very dangerous job: Vince Gilligan knows how to tell a story.

Like every good story teller, it’s obvious that Gilligan knows when to wrap it up. In an interview with Digital Spy, he explained—perhaps for the first time—why Breaking Bad lasted only five seasons. It was entirely related to his seven years of work on The X-Files.

Gilligan said he would have been happy for Breaking Bad “to go on forever.”

“But,” he told Digital Spy, “I had worked on The X-Files for years before that, which was a wonderful job. I loved it.” 

There was a hitch, though. After his time on the paranormal-themed show, he “looked up one day, and realized that everybody else was watching something else entirely.”

Walter White
Walter White

“I learned at that point,” he continued, “you don’t want to leave the party too late. You want to leave folks wanting more.” Gilligan was “anxious,” he said, about continuing X-Files, and the audience “suddenly moving on, and saying, ‘Is that show still on the air? I used to watch it. It used to be good.'”

Gilligan said he really wanted the opposite reaction: “‘Don’t end it now!'” Though he said he pressed to go out “at a high point,” Sony put on some pressure to keep going, saying “‘Can you go a little longer? We’re only now starting to make money on this thing.'”

In the end, the studio got it, the show damn sure went out on a high note, and Gilligan indicated he was grateful for that. 

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman
Pinkman’s comin’

For fans of Breaking Bad and its prequel, Better Call Saul, Gilligan once again hinted that Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman might show up on Saul in present-day scenes following Goodman’s new persona, Gene.

We don’t know how long Saul will actually continue, but let’s hope Gilligan gives it long enough meet up with the Breaking Bad timeline. We’d like at least one more chance to see Walter White at work. 

h/t Digital Spy