But this approach doesn’t always work. “Sometimes we have a great idea for something, but then if we’re being honest with ourselves, we say, can we get Walt get to that point? If we have to put a square peg in a round hole, if we have to bang on a character, then we’re doing something wrong and we need to kill our darlings, as Faulkner used to say, and forget that so-called great scene and find something else.”
With only 16 episodes left to go, "Breaking Bad" continues to evolve, but it also races towards a conclusion that Gilligan wants to find satisfying -- for the fans as much as for himself. Unsurprisingly, he’s got a lot of it already mapped out, even if he allows himself the flexibility of changing directions if he thinks the place where he might end up is more compelling than what he’d initially planned.
"To that end, I think things about the ending of 'Breaking Bad' are going to hew pretty close to ideas I had from day one,” he says. “But I most certainly did not have the whole thing figured out from Day One. And there’s quite a bit left to figure out, so there’s a lot of invention left to us to come up with before it’s all done.”
With the end of "Breaking Bad" looming, Gilligan admits that he has thought about what he’ll do next, and has considered the possibility of spinning off a new series from one of the supporting characters: Saul Goodman, a dubiously scrupulous lawyer whose charming bluster has won the affection of the show’s fans.
“I would love to see a Saul Goodman spinoff,” he says. “I can’t say that it is genuinely in the works at this moment, but certainly Bob Odenkirk and I have talked about it a little bit. I can’t promise that it will ever happen, but I think I personally, as fan number one of this world, meaning the first one to partake of these plot moments and whatnot, I personally would love to tune in and see a good Saul Goodman show.”
Otherwise, Gilligan says that his plans include finally looking at all of the reactions from fans of "Breaking Bad," whose reviews and analysis he’s studiously avoided until now. “I never get online about this show, I never do,” he reveals. “It’s not that I’m not interested; I’m very interested. And in fact my assistant pulls all of the stuff off of the internet, prints it up and the puts it in these Rubbermaid boxes and I take them home and put them in my garage.
“Some day I’ll go through it all,” he says. “But only years from now, when I’m not as emotionally invested.”