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Welcome back, Jesse Pinkman.
Netflix has unleashed a brand-new trailer for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, the first feature film from director Vince Gilligan set within the Breaking Bad universe; indeed, the first feature directed by Gilligan, period. Aaron Paul reprises his role as Jesse, the enduring half of the two-headed crystal meth empire founded by Walter White (Bryan Cranston).
Paul’s Pinkman was last seen in the Breaking Bad finale driving away from the compound where he spent months as a prisoner, forced to cook meth for a vicious gang of white supremacists. The new trailer marks the fan-favorite actor’s first official appearance as Jesse since then, starring front and center in a story set to follow on the heels of his great escape. Details beyond that bigger-picture idea remain under tight lock and key. “I don’t want to open my Christmas presents a week and a half before Christmas,” says Gilligan, speaking on behalf of The Hollywood Reporter‘s El Camino cover story.
“I started thinking to myself, ‘What happened to Jesse?'” he says of the story’s development. “You see him driving away. And to my mind, he went off to a happy ending. But as the years progressed, I thought, ‘What did that ending — let’s just call it an ending, neither happy, nor sad — what did it look like?'”
The trailer shows very little in the way of action. Haunting music mounts as Jesse sits in the titular vehicle, lighting a cigarette. A voice speaks out across the radio: “Breaking news. A horrific scene with multiple victims. It started when neighbors reported hearing dozens of gunshots fired. When Albuquerque police arrived, they discovered the bodies of nine male victims, many shot multiple times. Veteran police officers are calling the level of carnage ‘staggering.’ Apparently, a remote-controlled machine gun was used in the killings.”
“Investigators are looking for a person of interest who fled the scene,” the voice continues. Cue: the person of interest, Jesse Pinkman, who can do little other than stare at his own sobbing eyes in the rearview mirror of his car, his labored breathing swirling with the tense score and the light rattle of the familiar Breaking Bad theme.
Beyond Paul’s return, two other Breaking Bad players are already confirmed as back in the mix: Charles Baker, seen reprising his role as Skinny Pete in the first El Camino teaser, and Matt L. Jones as Jesse’s friend Brandon “Badger” Mayhew, the Butthead to Pete’s Beavis. Additional Breaking Bad veterans are yet to be revealed; more than 10 familiar characters from the AMC show’s universe are set for appearances, with no slowing down for any Breaking Bad newcomers in the audience.
“If, after 12 years, you haven’t watched Breaking Bad, you’re probably not going to start now,” Gilligan says. “If you do, I hope that this movie would still be engaging on some level, but there’s no doubt in my mind that you won’t get as much enjoyment out of it. We don’t slow down to explain things to a non-Breaking Bad audience. I thought early on in the writing of the script, ‘Maybe there’s a way to have my cake and eat it, too. Maybe there’s a way to explain things to the audience.’ If there was a way to do that, it eluded me.”
Written and directed by Gilligan, El Camino was produced by Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Charles Newirth, Diane Mercer and Aaron Paul, in association with Sony Pictures Television. It is set to debut Oct. 11 on Netflix and in select theaters.
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