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‘Breaking Bad’ Movie Sequel Will Debut on Netflix—Before It Heads to TV

Netflix has come knocking for Breaking Bad.

The streaming giant has landed the initial broadcast rights to a feature-film sequel to the hit series, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The movie, which will focus on Jesse Pinkman—the oft-troubled meth-cooker played by Aaron Paul—will air on Netflix before eventually landing at AMC, the network that aired Breaking Bad from 2008 to 2013.

It’s an unusual trajectory for the film, as many expected the film would premiere on its long-time home network. But Netflix and Breaking Bad have a long history together. The show’s initial seasons on AMC received critical acclaim, but earned largely middling ratings. After Netflix added the show, however, ratings for Breaking Bad began to increase. By 2013, the series was earning its highest viewership numbers yet.

“Netflix kept us on the air,” Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan said that year, shortly after the show won its first of two Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series. “I don’t think our show would have even lasted beyond season two [without it].”

The deal is the latest example of Netflix’s attempts to shake up release patterns and distribution models in both film and television. Last year, the streamer surprise-premiered The Cloverfield Paradox after the Super Bowl, having acquired the film from Paramount Pictures, which had originally developed it for a theatrical release. The streamer also gave one of its original film productions, Roma, a rare extended theatrical run; the film is currently a front-runner for this month’s Best Picture award at the Academy Awards.

The as-yet-untitled Breaking Bad film will be written directed by Gilligan, who co-created the show’s spin-off Better Call Saul (which has also received a viewership boost thanks to Netflix). Details about the film are under wraps, but it will reportedly revolve around a kidnapping plot involving Pinkman, last seen driving to freedom following years of anguished service to meth kingpin Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston.

Whether or not Cranston himself will appear in the film is unclear. His character’s fate was seemingly sealed in the Breaking Bad finale. But then again, Walter White was known for showing up when he was least expected. “If Vince Gilligan asked me to do it, then sure, absolutely,” Cranston said last year.