"Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan said he expects the series finale to be well-received but is guarding against wild optimism.
"I think most folks are going to dig the ending," he told a session of the Television Critics Association on Friday. "But you be the judge."
He and the drama's cast, including Bryan Cranston who stars as teacher-turned-drug lord Walter White, were mum about what's in store when the AMC drama concludes later this year. It returns for its final hurrah, the second half of its last season, on Sunday, Aug. 11.
But the actors were willing to joke about it.
"I think everybody will be satisfied with the ending where we hug it out," Cranston said.
"Bryan, don't mention the musical numbers," chimed in Betsy Brandt, who plays Marie Schrader.
At least one character, attorney Saul Goodman, may live on. Gilligan said he is "working toward" a sequel featuring Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk.
"I would love to do it, would do it in a second," said Odenkirk. "Because if Vince wrote it, it would be awesome."
Bereft fans of the drama also will be left with a comprehensive documentary that Gilligan said has long been in the works. The filmmaker, Stu Richardson, was hired by the studio, Sony, to shoot behind-the-scenes material that's been used in boxed sets, Gilligan said.
The documentary may be available exclusively as part of the show's complete Blu-ray and DVD sets, he said.
"I don't know the ins and outs, but I've seen (it) and it's really good," Gilligan added.
Asked about the show's high profile on social media, he acknowledged the importance of audience and media support but said he generally avoids falling into the deep "rabbit hole" of online commentary.
He's found the best way forward in crafting the show is to run the writers' room like "a sequestered jury room," one in which they can develop stories and scripts in isolation and to their satisfaction.
Asked if he had kept a long-imagined ending in mind for "Breaking Bad," Gilligan said he couldn't recall exactly "what my original intention was." He recounted his pitch for the drama as, "We're going to take Mr. Chips and turn him into Scarface," film references to the teacher of "Mr. Chips" and the gangster of "Scarface."
"Having said that, it leaves an awful lot of room for changing up the plot. I couldn't see that far into the future" to the finale, he said.
"Breaking Bad," which debuted in 2008, is a four-time Emmy nominee for best drama series, including for this year's awards, and Cranston and co-star Aaron Paul have claimed multiple trophies.