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Why on Earth Are They Making a ‘Breaking Bad’ Movie?

Why on Earth Are They Making a ‘Breaking Bad’ Movie?

This is becoming ridiculous. Amid a week that has seen confirmation of HBO’s Deadwood movie, a Shrek reboot at Universal Pictures and the announcement that three Walking Dead movies are in the planning stages, it was announced Wednesday that a Breaking Bad movie is in the works at Sony Television from show creator Vince Gilligan.

Thank goodness Gilligan is involved, because the news in isolation is wearying and frustrating. Part of Breaking Bad‘s sterling legacy was its canny knack for knowing exactly how much story it had in it. In contrast to unkillable shows like the aforementioned Walking Dead or even something like LostBreaking Bad new from the start it had five seasons worth of plot, and it stuck to it. The result? One of the most momentous and fast-moving shows in TV history, with the emotional punch and depth of character to match pace.

You might point to Better Call Saul as a reason for faith in a Breaking Bad movie, and yes, while that’s become one of the best shows on TV in the wake of its all-time predecessor, these movies are still operating under the idea that “more must be better,” and it confines a smart, creative mind like Vince Gilligan to the same world he’s been working in for over a decade. We’d rather see him explore a new creative outlet. Sam Esmail, a similar prestige-TV auteur, just put another artistic hit with Homecoming after the success of Mr. Robot. Gilligan should have a similar chance.

At the same time, Gilligan’s deal with Sony Television—$50 million at the most, according to reports—spans for three years, so he’ll be freed up before too long.

Hard details on the movie are scarce at this point. The Hollywood Reporter says it will “follow the escape of a kidnapped man and his quest for freedom.” No word yet if the series’ original stars, including Bryan Cranston or Aaron Paul, will be involved. Sources only stress it will exist in the Breaking Bad universe.

Depressed at the news? Excited? For us, we’d just rather people make new stuff than revisit old stuff. Our favorite things this year, like Maniac and Atlanta and Barry, have come from established minds venturing into new ground. It makes for a more exciting cultural landscape, instead of one full of familiarity.

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