I was going to save this for my April Fools story next year, but the real news has become more strange than parody. Let’s break this down.
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is a developing a two hour movie code named Greenbrier. It is said to take place in the canonical Breaking Bad universe that the TV show and its spinoff Better Call Saul occupies.
The story will follow a kidnapped man who escapes and searches for freedom. That is about all that is known.
What is NOT known is the timeline. Will this be a prequel like Better Call Saul? Or take place in the post-Walter White era? Or maybe concurrently? There is no word on which cast members – if any – will return. If it is concurrently, they can use a lot. If it is before or after, they are limited on who they can use outside of a quick shoe-horned cameo.
While The Hollywood Reporter reached out for statements, they were unable to determine whether this will be a theatrical release, or made for TV.
If Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston or Bob Odenkirk do not have a substantial role in this, is it worth Greenbrier being in the Breaking Bad universe? Maybe it would be served better as its own standalone thriller?
Gilligan wrote the script, and is expected to direct as well. On the one hand, there is no one better suited to add to that universe. On the other, well, there are easy pitfalls to fall into.
Take J.K. Rowling for example. The Harry Potter franchise is incredibly popular. The 7 books, and 8 movies tell a great story. But people wanted more. So she gave us Harry Potter And The Cursed Child – a play that is canon that I could not dislike more. It is disrespectful to the canon, and and lessens the impact of the original books (in my opinion, of course.) Then there are the spinoff Fantastic Beasts movies. I hear the movie canon becomes wonky from the upcoming sequel, The Crimes of Grindelwald. So maybe all the extra stuff is doing more damage than good? An argument could be made about George Lucas and the Star Wars prequels as well.
It’s hard not to think of those things when you hear things like Greenbrier happening. Breaking Bad is a phenomenal television show. In some ways, its prequel series Better Call Saul is even better. If those two series – that tell two incredible heartbreaking stories, were all that there was, it could go down in history as one of the greatest, tightest, and most harrowing television worlds ever. Every new addition puts that in danger.
But it could be great. What if – and I have no inside information whatsoever – this is the finale of Better Call Saul? We have seen several flashforwards in the show of what we thought was a post Breaking Bad era. It shows Saul – now Gene – in his “witness protection” life. The flashforwards have steadily been getting more intense. What if it isn’t completely after Breaking Bad, but during the year that Walter White is still alive? (Gilligan says it’s possible) What if Walter wants no loose ends before the finale happened, and tried to get Saul/Gene kidnapped and eventually killed? What if Gene escapes, and searches for freedom, and that’s the movie? It would certainly be good fan fiction at the very least.
There is a lot of speculation here, but we have very little information to go on. The bottom line is, we seem to be getting more Breaking Bad content, whether you want it or not. The great thing is that people who want to watch it can, and everyone else can ignore it if they so choose (like I do with The Cursed Child). Isn’t that brilliant? Art consumption is optional.
When we hear more, we will be sure to pass it along.