‘Breaking Bad’: Fans Are Convinced AMC Series Is Prequel to ‘Malcolm in the Middle’

Bryan Cranston has range. Anyone who has seen both Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle can’t deny that. In Malcolm in the Middle, which came before Breaking Bad chronologically speaking, Cranston plays a hilarious dad of five, Hal Wilkerson. Although the boys get up to some great high jinks over the course of the show, Cranston’s portrayal of Hal is what makes the show memorable. 

When Cranston was cast in Breaking Badfans wondered how he was going to pull off such a serious role. After playing goofy Hal for so long, many thought he was only suited for comedy. He proved them wrong with his portrayal of Walter White. His Breaking Bad character is totally different from Hal Wilkerson, but fans have a theory that actually connects the two. 

Fans think that ‘Breaking Bad’ is a prequel to ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ 

Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston | Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Breaking Bad’: The Heartwarming Walter White Scene Deleted From the Series Finale

Breaking Bad ended on a cliffhanger. Fans didn’t know at the end of the show what happened to Walter White.

Sure, it was likely he died in the police shoot out. But producers never confirmed exactly what happened. Some fans took it upon themselves to connect Cranston’s two great roles through the ambiguity.

If White didn’t die, he would have had to come up with a new identity. An overworked father of four would be a great cover (the fifth boy, Jamie, was born during the series). 

Hal and his family live in a smallish town. Not much seems to happen, and aside from the crazy things that go on inside his house, Hal lives a pretty quiet life. Some fans think Hal is actually Walter White, and the entire Breaking Bad series took place as a prequel to Malcolm in the Middle.

Producers loved this idea. They even included a nod to it in the DVD box set of the show. In an alternate ending, Hal wakes up blabbering about everything that happened in Breaking Bad, as if the whole thing were a dream he had. 

That’s not the only crazy theory fans have about the show

Breaking Bad is a detailed, thoughtfully written show. Almost everything has meaning, right down to character names and the color clothes they wear. That means there’s a lot of detail for fans to grab onto and theorize about. There are many out-there theories about the show, including that it’s a prequel to Malcolm in the Middle. 

One of the other fan theories is that Breaking Bad takes place in the same universe as The Walking Dead. Both are AMC shows, so it’s possible producers purposefully coordinated and made the two take place in the same world. Fans think this mainly because of the existence of Blue Sky on both shows. The blue crystal meth is used by Jesse on Breaking Bad and Merle on The Walking Dead. 

‘Malcolm in the Middle’ launched Bryan Cranston’s career

Cranston has been acting for a long time. He put in the work to get his career off the ground, and it shows. He has credits in a lot of popular movies and television shows, but he didn’t have a starring role until his tenure on Malcolm in the Middle in 2000. That show lasted six years, which is impressive for a sitcom. 

He started on Breaking Bad almost immediately after. The first episode premiered in 2008, and the series finale aired in 2013. Now he’s working on other projects, including a mezcal brand with his Breaking Bad co-star.

He’s made enough money off of his work as an actor to do whatever he wants from now on. Cranston’s estimated net worth is $30 million, and he’s likely to be making money off of reruns of Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle, depending on his contacts.