'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan to Direct Series Finale

UP: Vince Gilligan

The "Breaking Bad" showrunner's fifth-season premiere draws 3.5 million viewers (including its encore showing), up big from last year and boding well for his final 15 episodes.

It will mark only the fifth time he has been in the director's chair during the AMC drama's five-season run.

Breaking Bad will end as it started, with one voice and one vision, as series creator Vince Gilligan will write and direct the series finale.

On Monday at The Hollywood Reporter's Nominees Night party, Gilligan said he would be handling the writing duties of the series finale. Three days later, at the inaugural Screenwriters Choice Awards at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, Gilligan added that he would also direct it.

"I love directing, I just don't get to do it often," he said.

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The finale will mark only the fifth time Gilligan has directed an episode during the show's five-season run. He directed the pilot, the last episode of season three and the last two episodes of season four.

"I'm going to write the very last episode. It's the only one I'll have written with these final eight, so I'm hoping I have enough time to write it," Gilligan said while attending the screenwriters ceremony, where Breaking Bad took home the award for best television drama.

When asked how he felt about the series ending, Gilligan wasn't shy about revealing his emotions now that the end is in sight.

"It's a very bittersweet thing. I'm very sad about it being over," he said. "There's always going to be somebody who says they wished it went a different way. But if it ends well, if it ends right. … Hopefully we're going to please the bulk of our viewers with this ending. We're going to leave it all on the field, I can tell you that."

According to Gilligan, the third-to-last episode's script is finished, and the penultimate episode is being written this week. Preproduction on the series finale begins at the end of February, so he said he needs to start putting his fingers to the keyboard to get the final script finished in time.

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"I'm going to start feverishly writing and maybe move to Albuquerque full time until the end of the shoot," he said. But, he joked, that might not be a good idea. "The altitude is so much higher there and I don't get much oxygen to my brain, so I don't want it to affect things adversely."

As for his future, Gilligan says he's been tinkering with a few ideas, though nothing definitive, but he would still love to see a Breaking Bad spinoff starring Bob Odenkirk's over-the-top criminal lawyer character, Saul Goodman -- a show he's been championing since last summer.

"I would like that. That would be fun," he said. "He always seemed to me like a character who could support his own show. I very, very much would like to see that happen. It would be a little lighter in tone than Breaking Bad, but it would be a fun thing to have … and a fun thing to do."

Breaking Bad returns to AMC this summer.

E-mail: Joshua.Stecker@thr.com; Twitter: @joshuastecker