“Are you out of your freaking mind?”: Vince Gilligan’s Crazy Helicopter Raid Scene Idea Was Too Wild Even by Breaking Bad Standards

Using a helicopter would have taken away the entire point of Dead Freight's heist.

Vince Gilligan and Breaking Bad
Credits: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore


  • Breaking Bad's Season 5 Episode 5 involved a train heist which had to be pulled off anonymously by Bryan Cranston's Walter White and his crew.
  • Vince Gilligan and his team initially wanted to use a fireman's helicopter for the heist, an idea they looked into 'for an afternoon.'
  • Eventually, Gilligan decided to drop the idea which led to the creation of one of the best episodes of the entire series.
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Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad is still remembered by fans for being one of the best drama series of all time. Delving into the story of Walter White/Heisenberg, the series saw the chemistry teacher become one of the biggest suppliers of pure crystal meth in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


The narrative, comprising a total of 5 seasons, gave viewers some of the goriest, most dramatic scenes of all time. This includes the glorious fifth episode of Season 5, Dead Freight, which saw Walter White and his crew pull off an incredible methylamine raid that they needed to produce well, Crystal Meth.

Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad. | Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

As it turns out, the incredible heist, although pulled off in spectacular fashion, had initially been visualized starkly differently by creator Vince Gilligan. He wanted to use a giant Sikorsky skycrane helicopter for the heist, an idea which the crew eventually dropped after ‘looking into it’ for an afternoon.


Vince Gilligan revealed incredible idea for Freight Train which would have altered the episode’s narrative

A still from Dead Freight. | AMC

Vince Gilligan sat down for an interview with SlashFilm back in October 2023, during which he revealed a range of details about the specific episode. He revealed that his team initially came up with an idea to employ a firefighter’s helicopter, which would have siphoned the methylamine from the train tanker during the raid.

He claimed that the ambitious plan would have involved the helicopter sucking the product in, like a giant flying mosquito:

We had an idea we threw around for a while that we were gonna have a big Sikorsky skycrane helicopter, the kind the firefighters use. A giant elephant’s trunk sort of nozzle that hangs down underneath.

Gilligan revealed that he and his team had full intention of following up with the idea, which was also supported initially by executive producer Michelle MacLaren, who could easily have laughed it off:


It is a credit to Michelle and to this amazing crew that when I pitched that to her, that she didn’t just laugh and say, ‘Are you out of your freaking mind?

Hence, while Gilligan and his crew looked into pulling off the helicopter idea for an afternoon, they soon realized that it was not going to pan out, and instead came up with heist as fans remember it.

Dead Freight is one of the best Breaking Bad episodes of all time

Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. | Netflix

Featuring a remarkable rating of 9.7 on IMDB, Dead Freight, in its final form, managed to thrill audiences in an incredible way. Walter White’s crew, which comprised Mike, Jesse, Kuby, and Todd, ended up stopping the train with a truck.

Jesse slides under the tanker to siphon off methylamine, while Todd climbs on the top to replace it with water. The plan was to convince the buyers that the original Chinese producers mixed their product with water. And it would have worked perfectly, had a boy on a dritbike not seen them pull off the heist.


While the group halted their celebration, Todd pulled out his gun and shot down the boy, as Jesse protested in agony. Gilligan, via the same interview, revealed that the episode in itself took 10 days to finish shooting, with 4 dedicated to the train sequences alone. 

Of course, while their initial idea was dropped, it had a range of other problems, apart from its practicality. The entire idea of the heist was that Walter White and his team wanted to pull it off quietly so that the blame could be shifted to the Chinese suppliers instead.

However, involving a helicopter might have completely stripped away the anonymity of the operation. Hence, Dead Freight was eventually created in the best way possible, something that most fans will heartily agree with.


Breaking Bad is currently available to be streamed on Netflix. 


Written by Rishabh Bhatnagar

Articles Published: 74

Rishabh Bhatnagar is an Entertainment and pop culture journalist/editor with Fandom Wire. He has more than 6 years of experience working for multiple major platforms and is himself an avid consumer of worthwhile content. A natural storyteller, Rishabh has a unique way with words and is always looking to improve, as a storyteller, writer, and a journalist.