'Breaking Bad': Bryan Cranston and creator Vince Gilligan on what knowing the endpoint means

breaking-bad-s4-finale.jpg "Breaking Bad's" writers have only mapped out the first few stories of the show's last season, and production doesn't begin until late March. So there's very little to divulge at this point about where the show is headed -- not that creator Vince Gilligan would say even if there were.

One thing Gilligan and star Bryan Cranston are willing to discuss, though, is that knowing they'll be done after 16 more episodes is a good thing for the show's creative direction.

"The best thing e could have hoped for is to give the gift of knowing to our creator, Vince Gilligan," Cranston told Zap2it Thursday evening (Feb. 23) at an Academy of Television Arts and Sciences event spotlighting the series.

Gilligan, for his part, says knowing the endpoint is "a blessing."

"It allows us to measure out Walt's [Cranston] behavior and know where the whole thing ends," Gilligan says. "... When you have an indefinite number of episodes left, especially with a show like this where you're charting a guy's descent from good guy to bad guy, you lose track of where you are in the continuum of good to bad. But when you know you've got a finite number more, then you can have an easier time charting that progression."

We note that "Breaking Bad" has aired 46 episodes so far, and the 16-episode final run (AMC hasn't said yet how it will schedule those episodes, by the way) will bring the show to 62 episodes. So does that mean Walter White is only about three-quarters of the way through the good-to-bad progression?

"Well, mathematically speaking, I suppose you could make that assumption. Maybe," Gilligan says. "It remains to be seen, but that's not a bad assumption."

That's quite a thing to consider, given that Season 4 of "Breaking Bad" ended with Walt killing his nemesis Gus Fring ( Giancarlo Esposito) with a bomb -- followed by the revelation that he set Gus up in part by poisoning Brock, the young son of Jesse's ( Aaron Paul) girlfriend. If Walt still has further lines to cross, we can't wait to see what they are.

Cranston recalls getting the final script last season and having a "holy c**p" moment when he came to the last page.

"I saw the climax with Gus and how it played out. The last scene -- there are no [other] actors, it's just a familiar scene in my back yard, and it panned over and pushed into that flower pot, the lily of the valley" that Walt used to poison Brock. "On that page of script there were only three lines of black ink and a full page of white," he says. "I didn't even completely turn over the page to see it. I almost gave it an insignificant little thing, and then I held it, and when I read it I realized the impact of what that meant. Until that moment, I didn't know."

Gilligan wouldn't reveal any specifics about the coming season, although he did hint that we may see a little more about how Walt managed to pull off his masterstroke. "I can't be too specific with any particulars, because that would give some fun away," he says.

"All I can say for sure is, I just want the show to end in as satisfying a way as possible. That's all that matters to me, no matter what the specifics are," Gilligan adds. "At the end of the day, that's all we're working toward, is to make this show as satisfying as possible so it ends as it began."

"Breaking Bad" will most likely return in the summer on AMC.
Photo/Video credit: AMC