Not one, but two El Camino alternate endings have been revealed by Breaking Bad series creator Vince Gilligan and Jesse Pinkman himself, Aaron Paul. While one was only subtly different – and would have revealed what was in Brock’s letter – the other took a complete left turn on the road to redemption for Jesse.
Speaking to EW, Gilligan said of the original first draft ending, “I didn’t get super far down the road, but it was probably going to be a young woman who needed some help. He was hiding out by the Canadian border, and this woman was working at a motel as a housekeeper or something. [Jesse] goes into the process of saving her, knowing full well that he’s going to suffer for it, he’s going to get caught for it, but he does it anyway. And the last scene would be maybe him in a jail cell but at peace for the first time since the movie began.”
So, a similar ending beat with Jesse finding peace was always present but, ultimately, the more tragic ending for Jesse was shouted down by Gilligan’s girlfriend, Holly, and long-time collaborator Peter Gould, who said, “‘You can’t have Jesse back in a cell at the end of the movie! People will tar and feather you!’”
Gilligan, though, still thinks that version of El Camino could have worked but says “I’m glad I wound up doing it the way I did it.”
The alternate alternate ending, meanwhile, was to see Jesse drive away as normal, but with an attached voiceover reading over the letter addressed to Brock that he gave Ed in El Camino’s final moments.
Paul reveals, “Originally the voiceover of that letter was how the movie ended — just driving through Alaska and you could hear what was inside of that letter…. It’s heartbreaking, it’s beautiful, just honest. But Vince just thought, ‘You know what? Maybe it’s best left unknown.’”
Will we ever get to find out what was in the letter to Brock? Probably not. The actor, who played Jesse Pinkman from 2008-2013 before reprising his role in this month’s El Camino, states matter-of-factly: “I swore to Vince that I would never share what was in that letter.”
For more on the finale we *did* get, check out our complete explainer on the El Camino ending.