I watched Breaking Bad much later after its main telecast on AMC. But while it was fresh on TV, I used to see various posters or scenes being posted on various Internet portals and Social Networking Sites. Many of these posters had Heisenberg being addressed, depicted or denoted as a King.

I used to think that Breaking Bad is some series about guy becoming the mastermind of the drug business or empire. The people who come nearest or actually fit to the title of king are Elliot Schwartz, Gustavo Fring and Don Eladio. These guys have everything under their command in their respective field.

But if Walter is compared to them, he remains just the manufacturer. When he starts his own business after Tuco's death, he fails. He ultimately has to work for Gus. After Gus' death, he stays manufacturer in his own business while Mike runs the business. After Mike, it's Lydia. While in this case, if we compare Gus, he doesn't cook, he doesn't deliver, he doesn't manage payroll, he doesn't kill his enemies (except Victor and Cartel, situation demanded it), he doesn't cook chicken. He just owns them all, looks after them, solves problems, earns profits. It actually fits an image of a King.

Then why was Heisenberg addressed as the King? Just because Walter says that he wants to create an empire doesn't make someone a king. He reaches nowhere near Gus' level throughout the series.


1 Answer 1


This was likely prompted by AMC's own promotional art for the 5th season in which the poster reads "All Hail The King". Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan explained the thought behind it:

Who in our world was ever capable of out-Fring-ing Fring? Walter White. That's indeed the thrust of Season Five. Walt is now the king. The king is dead. Long live the king.

Even if Walter is bad at actually managing things, he's Gus's replacement by default, or at least tries to be. His failure to do so is part of his nature and storyline, so King is to be taken somewhat ironically. Consider, for example, season 5's episode title Ozymandias, which alludes to Walt's eventual downfall as a crystal meth king. TIME clarifies:

[Percy Shelley's] poem tells the story of a traveller who has seen an ancient monument in the desert. The giant legs are all that remains standing of what was once a statue of a king — “Ozymandias, King of Kings” — and there is no sign of the civilization he once ruled, although the inscription on the pedestal indicates that the stone king once surveyed great enough works to drive terror into the hearts of his enemies. The mighty one has literally fallen, and so has everything he accomplished.

  • Hello, Heisenberg. Jun 29, 2015 at 16:01

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