The end is near for Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.
On Tuesday, "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan spoke to Huffington Post TV about where he and his writing team are with the show's final set of episodes, which are scheduled to arrive on our TVs next summer.
There are no spoilers below -- despite a profound desire to know what comes after Hank's crucial discovery in Walt's bathroom, I avoid "Breaking Bad" spoilers like the plague, and Gilligan is similarly averse to tipping fans off about what's coming next.
Though the contents of the final eight episodes didn't come up, Gilligan was quite willing to talk about what episode the staff is working on and to discuss the process of bringing his acclaimed five-season story to a close. As free as ever of the kind of hubris that has come to define Walt in recent seasons, Gilligan compared the show to a game of chess then joked that "tiddlywinks is more my speed." But he speaks frankly here about the "terror" he feels trying to create the best possible endgame for the meth-dealing saga.
Where are you now in writing that final set of episodes?
We’re plugging away on the fourth episode out of the final eight, and we’re a little bit behind, because we’re struggling to make it as good as we possibly can, and to think through all the consequences. It’s sort of like playing a game of chess. You think, "Okay, if Walt does this, then what does this character do? What does that character do? What happens if this series of events occurs? What is the counter-move?" So it’s sort of like thinking as a chess player, which is unfortunate because tiddlywinks is more my speed.
But you know what the ending’s going to be at this point?
We have a strong feeling of what the ending’s going to be. We have most of the major signposts in place, but there may be some details that we currently lack. And we’re always on the lookout for something. We have some good stuff that we’re excited about, but we’re always open to something better that may come along.
As you are going through this final process, is the feeling sadness, terror or a mixture of all that? Is it excitement?
Yeah, it’s a little everything. Mostly I’m starting to get nostalgic about it, but it’s also terror about getting it right. It’s mostly terror right now. I just want to get it right. And then once we break the bulk of the stories, once we really have them broken, the sadness will come in, and then I’ll feel very sorry that it’s over.
I was reading this really good article about the space shuttle, when they were moving it through Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Someone was quoted who worked for Boeing or Rockwell -- one of those big companies that helped build it -- and they said, "Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened." They were talking about the shuttle program, but I thought, "Wow, that’s how I’m going to try to feel about 'Breaking Bad' being over."
"Breaking Bad" returns to AMC for its final season in the summer of 2013.