I personally thought that the way Breaking Bad ended was perfect, but of course, before they settled on that idea they kicked around and considered a few others. Series creator Vince Gilligan talked to EW recently and revealed a few other ways that shit could have gone down.
“We didn’t feel an absolute need for Walt to expire at the end of the show. Our gut told us it was right. As the writers and I worked through all these different possibilities, it felt right, but I don’t think it was a necessity for us. There was a version we kicked around where Walt is the only one who survives, and he’s standing among the wreckage and his whole family is destroyed. That would be a very powerful ending but very much a kick-in-the-teeth kind of ending for the viewers. We talked about a version where Jesse kills Walt. We talked about a version where Walt more or less gets away with it."
The destroying of Walt's family is really freakin' dark. But, it was one of the theories I had while watching the show. I'm glad it didn't come to that. Gilligan goes on to explain that the writers felt Walt should kind of have some kind of redemption.
"...when our gut told us we had it, we wrote it, and I guess our gut told us that it would feel satisfying for Walt to at least begin to make amends for his life and for all the sadness and misery wrought upon his family and his friends. Walt is never going to redeem himself. He’s just too far down the road to damnation. But at least he takes a few steps along that path. And I think more importantly for him than that is the fact that he accomplishes what he set out to accomplish way back in the first episode: He leaves his family just a ton of money."
As far as Jesse's open ending goes he says,
“We always felt like the viewers desired Jesse to get away. And it’s up to the individual viewer to decide what happens next for Jesse. Some people might think, ‘Well, he probably got two miles down the road before the cops nailed him.’ But I prefer to believe that he got away, and he’s got a long road to recovery ahead, in a sense of being held prisoner in a dungeon for the last six months and being beaten to within an inch of his life and watching Andrea be shot. All these terrible things he’s witnessed are going to scar him as well, but the romantic in me wants to believe that he gets away with it and moves to Alaska and has a peaceful life communing with nature.”
Yeah, I wished for that ending for Jesse as well. After the hell that poor kid went through he deserves a happy ending. There's a lot more stuff in the interview that is worth reading if you're a fan of the show, and you can read it over on EW.
What other ways did you think the show could have ended? What do you think about the alternate versions that Gilligan mentioned?