A few weeks ago, a Google search of “El Camino” would have brought up pretty mundane results.
A company that makes travel bracelets. An album by The Black Keys. A bar in downtown Bozeman, Montana. A classic Chevrolet that ceased production in the 1980s.
Only that last disambiguation provided any clue about the unconfirmed Breaking Bad film – until Saturday, 24 August.
For that day, a title and minor details for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie were let slip by way of a placeholder image and blurb in the Netflix catalogue – where it had been rumoured for release.
Earlier that week, Breaking Bad actor Bob Odenkirk had told The Hollywood Reporter the film had finished shooting, expressing surprise that no-one knew already.
And duly, shortly after the leaked title appeared, Netflix made an official announcement and dropped a trailer in a tweet that read: “What happened to Jesse Pinkman? El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. October 11.”
So besides giddy excitement, we have a title, trailer and release date. But what else do we know about El Camino?
As the tweet suggested, the film will focus on what happened to Aaron Paul’s character, the brash, cocksure Jesse Pinkman, after Breaking Bad’s finale.
In 2013, the curtain fell on the meth cook and one-time partner of Walter ‘Heisenberg’ White (Bryan Cranston) behind the wheel of the titular El Camino and fleeing a scene of spectacular finality.
A prequel show, Better Call Saul, has four seasons on Netflix and focuses on the origins of crooked lawyer Saul Goodman (Odenkirk). It offered a glimpse of the world before Jesse met Walter, while El Camino will exist post-Breaking Bad.
Paul himself had doubts about returning as Jesse, but those vanished after he read the script.
“I couldn’t speak for a good 30, 60 seconds,” he told The New York Times.
“I was just lost in my thoughts.”
That script was written by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, who also directs, news that promises much.
Gilligan’s involvement in the critically acclaimed Better Call Saul suggests that his powers have most certainly not waned since 2013, the execution of the prequel just as measured, impressive and gripping as its parent show.
With his genius behind the project, hopes are high, but it remains to be seen how Gilligan’s TV prowess will translate to the parameters of a film.
After all, part of Breaking Bad’s success was down to the rewarding of keen-eyed viewers, who spotted nuggets and clues in cryptic opening sequences or fine details.
Fans will wait with baited breath to see if the film will be as layered and allow for such subtlety.
Back to that trailer, which confirmed at least one other returning character other than Jesse – Skinny Pete (Charles Baker), who refuses to tell the authorities what he knows about his friend’s whereabouts.
There is no clue of any other characters coming back into the fold, and certainly not of Bryan Cranston’s Walter White. No Breaking Bad spoilers here, but the rumours of Heisenberg’s return turned heads.
When asked what he knew, Paul was as evasive as Skinny Pete.
“All I can say, I think people will be really happy with what they see,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cranston had this to say:
“If Vince Gilligan asked me to do it, sure, absolutely.
“I can’t wait to see all those people again…even if I just come by to visit!”
Take from that what you will – and perhaps kill the time until 11 October by re-watching all five seasons of Breaking Bad.
Maybe you are even lucky enough to be watching for the first time.