Walter White’s walking dead: The craziest ‘Breaking Bad’ fan theories
S4 of Better Call Saul has just started and already fans are in a frenzy over a potential new theory involving the show. The Breaking Bad prequel series likes to start each season with a bleak, black and white glimpse into an undefined period in the future.
There we see a grizzled Cinnabon manager called Gene (Bob Odenkirk) who is actually the man Breaking Bad fans know better as Saul Goodman (also Odenkirk) and that Better Call Saul fans know better as Jimmy McGill (also Odenkirk – it’s complicated).
Speaking with the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast, Odenkirk and series creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have suggested these scenes may not be quite as far into the future as we may be inclined to believe.
Most notably, they could be set during a period in time when Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is still alive.
The conversation begins with Odenkirk questioning whether the news of Walt’s death reaches Gene and makes him think he’s safe to come out of hiding. To which Gilligan raises the idea that we don’t even know whether Walt’s death has happened during the “Gene sequences”.
“We haven’t defined that. We haven’t said how long Gene has been in Omaha,” Gould explained, “It’s an open question. It’s one that will have to be answered at some point – like a lot of these things.”
Recently, Gilligan assured Entertainment Weekly that S4 of Better Call Saul will feature a subplot that “at least points us on a path toward the world of Walter White” and his territory.
So it sounds like we’ll still be checking in with Heisenberg at some point, regardless of whether or not these Gene sequences are set before or after Walt’s death.
We’re certain that whatever happens, all of this conversation surrounding this aspect of the show offers a fertile breeding ground for crazy fan theories. During Breaking Bad’s original reign (and for a while after it) the internet was full of crazy fan theories.
Here are five of our favorite crazy Breaking Bad fan theories.
For much of the finale Walter is already dead
The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum postulated that “what we were watching must be a dying fantasy on the part of Walter White, not something that was actually happening – at least not in the ‘real world’ of the previous seasons.”
The TV critic suggested that Walt actually freezes to death in the snow covered car he’s shown to be stuck in at the start of the episode. Comedian Norm Macdonald agreed with the theory and once wrote, “He never made it out of that car in the snow.”
Nussbaum further speculated Walt’s death happening well ahead of the events of the final scenes also explains how he’s able to evade the national manhunt for him while still visiting his loved ones undetected.
“No one spots Walt when he enters Skyler’s (Anna Gunn) home . . . or when he leaves. No one notices when Walt goes to see his son for the last time, even though you’d imagine that area would be flooded with surveillance.”
Walter starts the zombie apocalypse of The Walking Dead & Fear the Walking Dead
This fan theory has been doing the rounds for a while and is oddly credible. For starters, Walt’s signature blue meth can be seen in Merle’s (Michael Rooker) stash bag in s2 of The Walking Dead.
Plus, Daryl (Norman Reedus) describes Merle’s former dealer as being a distinctly Jesse Pinkman-esque figure who says “bitch” a lot and is “a janky little white guy.” A recent episode of Fear the Walking Dead also featured “Negro y Azulejo: The Ballad of Heisenberg” – and there’s no way that wasn’t deliberate.
The Breaking Dead theory was even discussed at the Breaking Bad reunion panel at SDCC this year, with Gilligan neither confirming nor denying the possibility and Cranston joking, “Walt is dead, so he’d be a zombie right now. Heisenberg zombie! My agents are out here, we should talk.”
Mike Ehrmantraut is Jesse Pinkman (from the future)
Think of it kind of like the Breaking Bad version of Looper. This wild theory simply suggests that Mike (Jonathan Banks) is Jesse (Aaron Paul) from the future trying to guide his younger self on the correct path.
There’s a lot of tenuous “evidence” to support this fact like how both characters love kids, the way that Mike looks out for Jesse, and some maddening speculation surrounding Mike’s past and a paradox involving the Ricin Walt once poisoned Brock with.
But it’s also probably the most bullshit theory out there. Still, it’s just crazy enough to be enjoyable.
Walt takes on traits from the people he kills
This is probably the most plausible theory raised by fans, particularly as Gilligan has admitted he intentionally added some references to deceased characters in Walt’s subsequent behaviour following their deaths.
Apparently, Walt putting a towel throw up just as Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) did after poisoning the cartel was an intentional reference. However, Walt wanting ice in his whiskey (just as Mike used to drink) after killing Mike and driving a Volvo (as Gus did) after blowing his ass up in the nursing home may not have been intentional.
Regardless, many fans have still taken such behaviors to be subtle suggestions that Walt has taken something from each of his murder victims and that these traits have helped to define his transformation from Walter White to Heisenberg.
Breaking Bad is a prequel to Malcolm in the Middle
Last but not least is our favorite crazy fan theory that suggests Walter didn’t die in the Breaking Bad finale but that he went into hiding as Hal from Malcolm in the Middle.
It would certainly help explain Hal’s consistently nervous disposition and why he’s perfectly satisfied being as low key and middle of the road as possible (all dance competitions aside).
A competing theory took this idea one step further in suggesting that Malcolm in the Middle isn’t what came after Breaking Bad but is what came before it, with some lunatic fans theorizing that Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) is the one that grows up to become Walter.
Good effort, folks. But we’re not buying it.