To date, the Breaking Bad franchise consists of two TV shows and a movie, but the timeline for each title is a bit tricky. All three projects were developed by Vince Gilligan for AMC, although El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie first debuted on Netflix. With Better Call Saul heading into its final seasons, let's take a look at how the main narrative fits into the shared Breaking Bad timeline. So, when does Breaking Bad take place alongside its spinoffs?
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Breaking Bad first debuted in 2008 by introducing Walter White (Bryan Cranston) as a teacher who left his ordinary life behind to risk it all by becoming a drug kingpin. Along the way, he partnered with young Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and often gained assistance from con artist extraordinaire and lawyer, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). After Walt met his demise during Breaking Bad's ending in 2013, the franchise expanded with the spinoff prequel series based on Saul's life when he was still known as Jimmy McGill. Many other familiar faces from Breaking Bad have since popped up in Better Call Saul and more are on the way.
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After numerous rumors, plans to release a follow-up Breaking Bad film was finally announced in the summer of 2019. El Camino focused on Jesse after the events of Breaking Bad while also filling in many blanks left by the original series. When does Breaking Bad take place in relation to them? In order to keep track of the tumultuous events, here's a breakdown of the entire Breaking Bad timeline - from Better Call Saul through El Camino.
Better Call Saul's Timeline Explained
Considering Better Call Saul serves as a prequel to Breaking Bad, it's set predominantly in the past. The series continues to focus on how Jimmy McGill fully transformed into a bigtime con-man Saul Goodman, who gets swept up in Walter White's drug operations. When Better Call Saul begins, the narrative is set in May 2002, a time when Jimmy was struggling financially as a public defender. After trying to get revenge on a potential client, Jimmy encounters Nacho Varga and the Salamanca crime family. Around the same time, Mike Ehrmantraut gets involved with the Salamancas. The entire first season is only set over two months.
Better Call Saul season 2 still takes place in 2002, from July to September. Jimmy is working as a lawyer for Davis & Main at the recommendation of Kim Wexler, who's absent from Breaking Bad's timeline, but the gig doesn't last long. The pair later team up for their own private practice while Jimmy manipulates his brother to benefit his own work. That is until Chuck McGill commits suicide and Jimmy loses his law license. Gus Fring finally enters the fold in Better Call Saul season 3, which is initially set in September 2002. Flashbacks fill in some blanks left in Gus' backstory, but in the present storyline, he assists Mike in laundering money while vying to take over from the Salamanca family. The entire season spans six months.
Better Call Saul season 4 picks up just after the events of the previous season. Without a law license, Jimmy works at a cell phone store but eventually gets another chance at being a lawyer due to a successful appeal. He, then, decides to practice law as Saul Goodman. Meanwhile, Gus' meth superlab begins construction underneath the laundry facility. The season features a nine-month time jump bringing the storyline to early 2004. Better Call Saul season 5 is still in 2004, as is season 6, over four years before the events of Breaking Bad set off. There are flash-forwards to 2010 when Jimmy is living incognito as Gene and working as a fast food manager, culminating in him receiving a jail sentence that will see him die behind bars.
Related: Predicting The Fate Of Better Call Saul Characters Who Weren't On Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad's Timeline Explained
So when does Breaking Bad take place compared to Better Call Saul? Breaking Bad debuted in 2008 and was set within the same year. It begins in September 2008 when science teacher Walter White celebrates his 50th birthday while also learning about his cancer diagnosis. A few weeks later, he makes his first kill stemming from his new meth operation with partner Jesse. Season 2 picks just where the debut season ends in November. Walt is now known as Heisenberg and he gets assistance from Saul to connect with Gus. When the season ends, the setting is early 2009, which features the plane crash over Albuquerque.
Similar to season 1 in terms of length in the timeline, Breaking Bad season 3 also takes place over just two months. Skyler learns about her husband's meth business around the time Walt is hired by Gus to cook in the superlab. When Breaking Bad season 4 picks up, it's mid-April 2009 and Walt's working relationship with Gus starts to go south very quickly. Over the course of four months, Gus cuts Walt from the business. Walt and Skyler then turn to Saul to find a way to launder their money. By the end of the season, Walt finally carries out a successful plan to take out Gus once and for all.
Breaking Bad season 5 was split into two segments when AMC broadcast the episodes. The season as a whole also encompasses a large portion of the timeline. Between July 2009 and March 2010, which occurs in season 5A, Walt, Jesse, and Mike start a new meth business. Walt ends up killing Mike and aligns with Todd Alquist and Jack Welker's gang which turns out to be a terrible choice. Just before the midseason finale, Hank figures out that Walt is Heisenberg.
The second half of Breaking Bad season 5 continues where the previous episodes left off with a few flashforwards mixed in. As Hank goes after Walter White, his family learns about Heisenberg and fully falls apart. Hank is then killed by Jack's men, Jesse is taken hostage, and Walt's only option is to leave his family before hiding out in New Hampshire. Six months go by until Walt's 52nd birthday when he decides to tie up loose ends since he's dying of cancer. The series' timeline concluded on September 7, 2010, when Walt ambushes Jack's compound, killing the men and allowing Jesse to escape captivity before dying from a gunshot wound.
El Camino's Timeline Explained
When Jesse is freed from the compound at the end of Breaking Bad, he steals Todd's car and speeds away. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie picks up just moments later while Jesse flees before ending up at Skinny Pete's house. The story is still set in early September 2010 despite the fact the movie was released in 2019, nearly a decade after Breaking Bad ended. In his final timeline appearance, Jesse fights to acquire enough money to pay Ed Galbraith for a new identity and relocation.
The El Camino movie also features several flashbacks, including one in 2008 when Jesse and Walter first started cooking meth. There are also appearances by Mike, Jane, and Todd in the form of flashbacks to share more of Jesse's complicated past. When Jesse finally pays Ed for his services, about two weeks pass until he's safely brought to Alaska to start a new life. This brings the events of the Breaking Bad franchise to an end in late September 2010.
Vince Gilligan Has Confirmed That The Breaking Bad Timeline Is Done
Vince Gilligan's Breaking Bad timeline after Better Call Saul and El Camino is concluded both narratively and practically, despite their success, and Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has confirmed that he's done making stories in the acclaimed universe. Gilligan (via Deadline) made it clear that he want to pursue new projects outside the AMC shared universe he created — "You can’t keep putting all your money on red 21. I feel like we probably pushed it doing a spinoff to Breaking Bad [but] I could not be more happy with the results. Then I did El Camino, and I’m very proud of that too. But I think I’m starting to sense you’ve got to know when to leave the party, you don’t want to be the guy with a lampshade on your head."
However, Gilligan's departure from the Breaking Bad universe doesn't necessarily mean it's done for good – but his vision of the timeline is concluded. Unlike Gilligan, AMC has indicated they're open to more Breaking Bad spin-offs. Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios at AMC Networks, has made his feelings on potential Breaking Bad projects clear. "I can tell you that if I could do anything to encourage Vince and Peter to continue on in this universe, I would do it," McDermott said in a 2022 interview (via Variety). It's unsurprising considering how successful Better Call Saul and El Camino have been, not to mention how much speculation there is around other stories that delve into the histories of supporting Breaking Bad characters like Gus Fring.
Related: Breaking Bad’s Finale Almost Killed Saul Goodman: Why It Didn’t
Many franchises have continued after their creator parted ways with the IP. George Lucas and Star Wars is the best-known example, but Breaking Bad's fellow AMC show The Walking Dead continued after original showrunner Frank Darabont parted ways with the project after season 1. Depending on who owns story rights, AMC could well create new Breaking Bad spin-offs and extend the timeline without Vince Gilligan's involvement – but it'd never really be the same.
Does the Breaking Bad movie take place after the show? ›
Better Call Saul follows criminal lawyer Jimmy McGill / Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) whom Walter and Jesse eventually hire. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie focuses on Jesse after the events of the series. Slippin' Jimmy focuses on a younger Jimmy (Sean Giambrone) before the events of the series.How long do the events of Breaking Bad take place over? ›
Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, between 2008 and 2010, Breaking Bad follows Walter White, a modest high school chemistry teacher who transforms into a ruthless kingpin in the local methamphetamine drug trade, driven to financially provide for his family after being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.When did Breaking Bad start and finish? ›
The pilot episode was first aired on January 20, 2008, and the series finale, was broadcast on September 29, 2013. Breaking Bad: Original Minisodes, which consisted several one- to five-minute clips, released 17 short episodes over the course of three years throughout Breaking Bad's run.Is Skyler in El Camino? ›
Skyler and Walt Jr. served as key characters throughout Breaking Bad, but despite a plethora of original series cameos, they were both notably absent from 2019's El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Anna Gunn and RJ Mitte portrayed the figures for all five seasons of the AMC series created by Vince Gilligan.Is Saul in El Camino? ›
These Better Call Saul characters are also present in El Camino.Was Better Call Saul before or after Breaking Bad? ›
While "Better Call Saul" is a mix of both a prequel and sequel series, most of it takes place before the events of "Breaking Bad." The series is meant to fill in the gaps of the six years before Saul Goodman's first appearance in the series that started it all.Should I watch Better Call Saul before El Camino? ›
You should watch them in the order creator of the Breaking Bad universe, Vince Gilligan, intended, and that's the order they were aired. Breaking Bad first, El Camino as a kind of bonus footage of Breaking Bad, then the pseudo-prequel, Better Call Saul. ** There is your preferred viewing order right there.Does Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul overlap? ›
With Season 6 of "Better Call Saul" due to air this year, it will bring a conclusion to the overall story, linking together the prequel with "Breaking Bad." While we don't know what will happen in the upcoming season, here's a look at the full timeline of the franchise so far.Did the cast of Breaking Bad get along? ›
“It makes things easier when you like them, and if it develops into genuine love, you are so lucky. And that's what happened.” The cast, which also included Dean Norris, RJ Mitte, Betsy Brandt and Bob Odenkirk, all stayed close — and some have reprised their Breaking Bad roles.What year is better call Saul? ›
The series takes place in 2002, six years before the beginning of Breaking Bad (2008) and seven years before Saul's first appearance.
Why is Breaking Bad 62 episodes? ›
Not everyone initially knew the show's episode count would hover in on the number 62 for a reason directly related to a notable chemistry element. Those who know the chemistry periodic table will know that the 62nd element is Samarium. This particular element is known for treating cancers, most notably lung cancer.Do I need to watch Breaking Bad before I watch Better Call Saul? ›
And trust me, you don't need to have seen Breaking Bad before starting Better Call Saul, but it's well worth it to have seen Breaking Bad before you reach the very end of Better Call Saul.Where does El Camino fit in Breaking Bad? ›
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (or simply El Camino) is a 2019 American crime thriller film. Part of the Breaking Bad franchise, it serves as a sequel and epilogue to the television series Breaking Bad.Is Breaking Bad set in the 90s? ›
So when does Breaking Bad take place compared to Better Call Saul? Breaking Bad debuted in 2008 and was set within the same year. It begins in September 2008 when science teacher Walter White celebrates his 50th birthday while also learning about his cancer diagnosis.Is Gus in El Camino? ›
As the biggest cameos in El Camino proved, being dead didn't prevent a character from making an appearance, but we still didn't get a flashback from Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito).
In an exclusive chat with Digital Spy, Laura admitted that, unsurprisingly, Lydia Rodarte-Quayle is officially dead. Revealing that she was "never" asked to appear in the film, Laura said: "My dad was like, 'How come you're not going to [be in] El Camino?' "I was like, 'Because I'm dead, dad!'What happens to Skyler after Walt dies? ›
When her life fell apart and Walt disappeared, Skyler lost her assets and moved in with her kids in a small apartment with a job as a taxi dispatcher. It was revealed that her sister, Marie, reached out for a truce, so it's likely that the two reconnected shortly after the series finale.Do Walt and Jesse appear in Better Call Saul? ›
Yes, Walter White and Jesse Pinkman returned—but the episode was more than just an excuse for a cool cameo. It took six and a half seasons, but in last night's episode Better Call Saul finally… broke bad.Is there Jesse Pinkman in Better Call Saul? ›
As awesome as it was to see Aaron Paul reprise Jesse Pinkman one last time on Better Call Saul after playing the good-hearted meth dealer in Breaking Bad and El Camino, it appears that his two cameos in Better Call Saul will be the last time the actor plays the iconic character.Will Jesse Pinkman be in Better Call Saul? ›
Better Call Saul co-creator Peter Gould already confirmed America's favorite meth lab coworkers, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), would be reprising their Breaking Bad roles this season.
Is a Chicago sunroof a real thing? ›
So, there you have it. A Chicago Sunroof is not a real thing.Why was Better Call Saul Cancelled? ›
Why was 'Better Call Saul' canceled? Better Call Saul wasn't really canceled; the creators unanimously chose to end on a high note. When it was first revealed in 2020 that the series — which began in 2015 — was getting its sixth and final series, fans had questions.What should I watch after Breaking Bad? ›
Better Call Saul takes place before, during, and after the timeframe of Breaking Bad, with a handful of characters, including Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) getting their stories expanded, as well.Why is the last episode called Felina? ›
The episode title, "Felina", is inspired by the character Feleena from the song "El Paso" by Marty Robbins, which plays a major role during the episode. The story of "El Paso" closely mirrors Walter White's character arc in the final season of Breaking Bad.Was Walt the one who poisoned Brock? ›
Jesse later finds out that Saul had Huell steal the ricin cigarette from his pocket, and that Walt was indeed responsible for Brock's poisoning.Is there a spinoff to Breaking Bad? › Is Walter White in season 6 Better Call Saul? ›
The final season of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould's Better Call Saul brought about the highly anticipated return of Breaking Bad's iconic, beloved duo, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).Does Better Call Saul spoil Breaking Bad? ›
Yes and no, in my opinion. Not really. Better Call Saul is a prequel, of sorts, in that it takes place before the events of Breaking Bad, and it's centered around a side character in the original series, which means that there's virtually no information to be had from Breaking Bad.When should you watch the Breaking Bad movie? ›
“El Camino” is a sequel, and only really makes sense after “Breaking Bad”. Given that it's just two hours, there's no reason to leave it until after you've binged all of “Better Call Saul”.Where does El Camino fit in Breaking Bad? ›
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (or simply El Camino) is a 2019 American crime thriller film. Part of the Breaking Bad franchise, it serves as a sequel and epilogue to the television series Breaking Bad.
Should I watch Breaking Bad before better call? ›
And trust me, you don't need to have seen Breaking Bad before starting Better Call Saul, but it's well worth it to have seen Breaking Bad before you reach the very end of Better Call Saul.Should you watch El Camino before Better Call Saul? ›
Should I watch El Camino before Better Call Saul? No, it's really not necessary. Better Call Saul is a “prequel” and follows Jimmy McGill's transformation into Saul Goodman.Does El Camino make sense if you haven't seen Breaking Bad? ›
But instead of trying to make a film that would appeal to general audiences, or include some kind of recap of the events of Breaking Bad, Gilligan decided El Camino is really only for people who have already watched and enjoyed the iconic series.How many years after Breaking Bad is El Camino? ›
2010 – El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the Netflix Original takes place immediately after the events of "Breaking Bad," following Jesse Pinkman as he tries to get out of dodge. 2010 – After being imprisoned by neo-Nazis for six months, Jesse Pinkman is freed by Walter White.
Gene's story is only told in Better Call Saul but is a result of the Breaking Bad timeline. Saul Goodman's story is told in both series. So, Jeff making Gene admit he's Saul is the first time the character created in Better Call Saul and fully realized in Breaking Bad is mentioned in the post-Breaking Bad timeline.Does Walter White appear in Better Call Saul? ›
The final season of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould's Better Call Saul brought about the highly anticipated return of Breaking Bad's iconic, beloved duo, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).Does Walt come back in El Camino? ›
And, just before the film's close, El Camino delved back in time for the return of the show's central character: Walter White, the chemistry-teacher-turned-drugs-baron portrayed by Bryan Cranston. However, the man we saw in flashback is far from the one portrayed in the Breaking Bad finale.Why is Todd alive El Camino? ›
Like Bryan Cranston's Walter White and Jonathan Banks' Mike Ehrmantraut, Todd is brought back from the dead via flashbacks by Breaking Bad creator and El Camino writer-director Vince Gilligan.Why is the last episode called Felina? ›
The episode title, "Felina", is inspired by the character Feleena from the song "El Paso" by Marty Robbins, which plays a major role during the episode. The story of "El Paso" closely mirrors Walter White's character arc in the final season of Breaking Bad.Is there a spinoff to Breaking Bad? ›
Does Better Call Saul spoil Breaking Bad? ›
Yes and no, in my opinion. Not really. Better Call Saul is a prequel, of sorts, in that it takes place before the events of Breaking Bad, and it's centered around a side character in the original series, which means that there's virtually no information to be had from Breaking Bad.Was Walt the one who poisoned Brock? ›
Jesse later finds out that Saul had Huell steal the ricin cigarette from his pocket, and that Walt was indeed responsible for Brock's poisoning.Does Better Call Saul take place after El Camino? ›
However, Gene's return to the ways of Saul Goodman begins just over a month after Jesse arrives in Alaska at the end of El Camino. This is confirmed by the various real-world football games referenced over the course of the mall heist he pulls off with Jeff and Buddy in Better Call Saul season 6, episode 10.Is there an El Camino after season 5? ›
The events of El Camino begin right after the Breaking Bad finale on September 7 and carry through the next five days. Jesse spends September 7 and 8 at Skinny Pete's house. He then takes off for Todd's apartment on September 9.