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This Villain was Headlined on January, 2022.

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Villain Overview

Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn't believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly up. Disappears! It ceases to exist without me. No, you clearly don't know who you're talking to, so let me clue you in: I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No... I am the one who KNOCKS!
~ Walter White's famous speech to his wife, Skyler.

Walter Hartwell "Walt" White, Sr., also known by his alias Heisenberg, is the main protagonist of the crime drama series Breaking Bad and a minor character in both El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and Better Call Saul.

A brilliant but underachieving chemist working as a high school science teacher, Walt is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, which spurs him on to use his chemistry knowledge to cook and sell crystal meth to provide for his family after his imminent death.

As the series progresses and he becomes more involved in the drug world, the formerly mild-mannered and unassuming teacher gradually becomes a ruthless criminal driven more by ego and greed than his stated altruistic motives, this way becoming the villain he is today. His goals become less for the good of his family, and more for the good of his own pride, as stated by himself. He serves as the former teacher/meth partner of Jesse Pinkman, the archenemy of his brother-in-law Hank Schrader, and the arch-rival and competitor of Gus Fring.

He was portrayed by Bryan Cranston, who also played Snizzard in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers; Lucifer in The Fallen; Ritter in Argylle; and Vilos Cohaagen in the Total Recall remake.

Quick Answers

How did Walter White show his ruthlessness and care for his family? toggle section
Despite his ruthlessness, Walter White deeply cared about his family. He grew angry at the suggestion of killing his brother-in-law, Hank, and begged for Hank's life before he was killed. He also took a bullet to save Jesse's life. However, he was emotionally abusive and manipulative towards his family and had a complicated relationship with Jesse.
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What is Walter White's real name? toggle section
Walter Hartwell White Sr.
Provided by: Fandom
What is Walter White's alias? toggle section
Heisenberg
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What is Walter White's occupation? toggle section
Chemistry teacher and crystal meth manufacturer
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What are Walter White's powers and skills? toggle section
Genius-level intelligence, expertise in chemistry, psychological manipulation, deception, intimidation, gunmanship, marksmanship, strategy and planning, engineering, wealth
Provided by: Fandom

Personality and Traits[]

Walter White: Now... say my name.
Declan: You're Heisenberg.
Walter White: You're goddamn right.
~ Walter White's famous quote as he declares himself "Heisenberg".

An extremely complex character, Walter White evolves throughout the series from a mild-mannered family man into a ruthless drug kingpin. His descent to villainy and the gradual reveal of the darkness that was within him all along over the course of the series has led him to be commonly compared by critics to a number of Shakespeare villains, most prominently Macbeth.

In the beginning, after being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, Walter's stated motivation was to make enough money to leave behind for his family. While this was true to some degree, holes could be seen in this motivation as early as the first season, where he turns down the seven-figure job from his former business partners out of pride. While the money he could leave behind continued to be an important driving point for him for the rest of the story, he gradually reveals that he sincerely enjoys the thrills and feelings of power that being a criminal brings, and he has such great pride in his near perfect blue meth. He mentions early on in the series that he never felt like he had any say in his life, and so his work as a drug dealer is the first time he has had control. He also feels that he is making up for his rash decision to leave his former business partners for a $5,000 buyout, abandoning a company that is now worth billions of dollars, creating a meth empire to give himself a similar feeling. He reveals to Skyler in the end that he became a criminal for himself because it made him feel alive.

Walter is an extremely prideful and arrogant man. Nearly everything he does is driven by his massive ego, leading a very smart man to make very stupid decisions. This ranges from turning down the aforementioned job offer to cluing his brother-in-law, Hank, in that his primary suspect for being Heisenberg, was most likely not the real Heisenberg, not wanting anyone else to take credit for his work, even at the risk of being captured later. As a result of his ego, Walter takes criticism extremely poorly; this is best shown when Mike Ehrmantraut calls him out for turning on and killing Gus Fring because he thought he could run his business just as well but turned out to be wrong. While he was absolutely right, Walter became so angry that he shot and killed Mike in an ego-driven rage. His very partial redemption at the end comes from letting go of his pride to a degree, though it was still his pride that drove him to make his final moves when he saw his former business partners discrediting him.

As the series moved forward, Walter became more ruthless. The man who cried as he strangled Krazy-8 in self-defense was eventually able to poison a young child without remorse in order to begin his final plans against Gus-even brushing off Drew Sharp's death as he whistled at work after his disappearance was announced on the news. The decay of his morality was noticed by both Skyler and Jesse, making Skyler terrified of him despite helping him before, and disturbing Jesse into wanting to leave the meth trade altogether.

Despite his ruthlessness, Walter still deeply cared about his family, growing angry at the idea of Saul Goodman's suggestion to kill Hank after he realized who Walter was. In the pilot episode, he even assaulted a jock for making fun of his son's cerebral palsy. Before Jack Welker killed Hank, Walter begged and bargained for Hank's life and was utterly broken when Jack fired the shot. Getting revenge on Jack became one of his driving motivations in the final episode of the series. He was also greatly against the idea of killing Jesse until it seemed necessary to him, and at the end took a bullet to save Jesse's life. This did not stop him from being emotionally abusive and manipulative towards them. His relationship with Jesse, in particular, was as an abusive father-figure who kept Jesse loyal to him through manipulation and blackmail.

As much as he loved his family, it is made clear that he loves one thing more. While dying, he strolls through the meth lab, examining the equipment lovingly, signifying that his one true love was the empire he had built.

Victims[]

Victims that were directly killed by Walter White

Direct[]

  1. Emilio Koyama - Poisoned with phosphine gas for attacking Jesse and holding Walter at gunpoint.
  2. Krazy-8 - Strangled to death for trying to kill him.
  3. Rival Dealers - Killed to save Jesse's life; one was run over, the other got shot in the head.
  4. Two of Gustavo Fring's henchmen - Shot in the head to get to Jesse.
  5. Mike Ehrmantraut - Shot in the stomach for refusing to give him the names of the convicts.
  6. Lydia Rodarte-Quayle - Poisoned with ricin to protect his family and tie-up loose ends; Lydia was not actually seen dying on-screen, but she was mentioned to be in fatal condition and not expected to survive.
  7. Kenny - Shot with a remote-activated machine gun to avenge Hank and Gomez and free Jesse.
  8. Matt - Shot with a remote-activated machine gun to avenge Hank and Gomez and free Jesse.
  9. Frankie - Shot with a remote-activated machine gun to avenge Hank and Gomez and free Jesse.
  10. Lester - Shot with a remote-activated machine gun to avenge Hank and Gomez and free Jesse.
  11. Two unnamed Neo-Nazis - Shot with a remote-activated machine gun to avenge Hank and Gomez and free Jesse.
  12. Jack Welker - Shot in the head to avenge Hank and Gomez.
  13. Himself (unintentionally) - Accidentally shot with own remote-activated machine while protecting Jesse from the carnage; Walter ultimately bled out to death in Jack's meth lab.
Victims that were indirectly killed by Walter White

Indirect[]

  1. Jane Margolis - Accidentally rolled her onto her back, and then let her choke on her own vomit, presumably to keep Jesse on his side, although his ulterior motives are unknown.
  2. 167 airplane passengers (unintentionally) - The father of Jane, Donald Margolis, was an air-traffic controller that accidentally caused a plane crash due to depression caused from Jane's death, which in turn was Walt's fault, making Walt connected to the disaster.
  3. Gale Boetticher - Shot in the head by Jesse on Walt's orders to make sure Gus can't kill him.
  4. Hector Salamanca - Willingly blew himself up to kill Gus and avenge his family, using a bomb made by Walt.
  5. Gustavo Fring - Blown up with a bomb by Hector, with Walt's help, to make sure he can't kill Walt or his family.
  6. Tyrus Kitt - Blown up with a bomb by Hector, with Walt's help, due to being in the room while the explosion went off.
  7. Dan Wachsberger - Assassinated by Jack's men on Walt's orders, to make sure he won't reveal information to the feds.
  8. Jack McGann - Assassinated by Jack's men on Walt's orders, to make sure he won't reveal information to the feds.
  9. Andrew Holt - Assassinated by Jack's men on Walt's orders, to make sure he won't reveal information to the feds.
  10. Anthony Perez - Assassinated by Jack's men on Walt's orders, to make sure he won't reveal information to the feds.
  11. Isaac Conley - Assassinated by Jack's men on Walt's orders, to make sure he won't reveal information to the feds.
  12. William Moniz - Assassinated by Jack's men on Walt's orders, to make sure he won't reveal information to the feds.
  13. Harris Boivin - Assassinated by Jack's men on Walt's orders, to make sure he won't reveal information to the feds.
  14. Raymond Martinez - Assassinated by Jack's men on Walt's orders, to make sure he won't reveal information to the feds.
  15. Ron Forenall - Assassinated by Jack's men on Walt's orders, to make sure he won't reveal information to the feds.
  16. Dennis Markowski - Assassinated by Jack's men on Walt's orders, to make sure he won't reveal information to the feds.
  17. Steve Gomez (unintentionally) - Walter's call to Jack led his gang to arrive in To'hajiilee and murdered Steve in a firefight.
  18. Hank Schrader (unintentionally) - Walter's call to Jack led his gang to arrive in To'hajiilee and ultimately led to Hank getting shot by Jack.
  19. Andrea Cantillo (unintentionally) - Revealed her address and relation to Jesse to Jack and his gang as part of a ploy to kill Jesse. Several months later, this would lead to her getting shot in front of Jesse's eyes as punishment.
  20. Todd Alquist - After freeing Jesse and killing the majority of the Neo-Nazis, the former took the opportunity to strangle Todd with his chains and then snap his neck as Walt watched on.
Total kills

Overall[]

  • 204 kills
    • 15 directly
    • 189 indirectly
    • 31 intentional

Relationships[]

Family[]

  • Mr. White (father)
  • Mrs. White (mother)
  • Skyler White (wife)
  • Walter White Jr. (son)
  • Holly White (daughter)
  • Hank Schrader (brother-in-law)
  • Marie Schrader (sister-in-law)

Allies[]

Currently:[]

Formerly:[]

Enemies[]

Quotes[]

But you know the business... and I know the chemistry. I'm thinking... maybe you and I, could partner up.
~ Walt enters the meth business by giving Jesse Pinkman a chance to join him.
I am... awake.
~ Walt "explaining" to Jesse why he decided to cook meth.
You got one part of that wrong. This... is not meth.
~ Walt to Tuco Salamanca, moments before blowing up his safehouse.
Doctor, my wife is seven months pregnant with a baby we didn't intend. My fifteen-year old son has cerebral palsy. I am an extremely overqualified high school chemistry teacher. When I can work, I make $43,700 per year. I have watched all of my colleagues and friends surpass me in every way imaginable, and within eighteen months, I will be dead. And you ask why I ran?
~ Walt explaining why he "ran way" into the desert.
Stay out of my territory.
~ Walt intimidating two amateur drug dealers.
Mike Ehrmantraut: Just what the hell was that exactly!?
Walter White: You might wanna hold off.
Mike Ehrmantraut: Yeah? (Clocks gun) Why?
Walter White: Because your boss is gonna
need me. 6353 Juan Tabo, apartment six. (Mike and Victor glance for a moment until they stare at Walter, realizing that he has sent Jesse to kill Gale) ...Yeah.
~ Walt stops Mike from shooting him when he reveals Jesse's location - at Gale's apartment - that causes Mike and Victor to realize that Walter has sent Jesse there to kill Gale in order to stop Gus from killing Walt himself.
Skyler: Was this you? What happened?
Walter: I won.
~ Walt explaining to Skyler that he won the battle against Gus after telling her that Gus is dead.
We're done when I say we're done.
~ Walter White threatingly indimidates Saul Goodman when the latter attempts to renounce their partnership.
Jesse, you asked me... if I was in the meth business, or the money business? Neither. I'm in the empire business.
~ Walter White telling Jesse about his newfound resolve to further establish his drug empire after dismissing the latter's suggestion that he should quit from the business.
If that's true... if you don't know, who I am... then... maybe your best course... would be to tread lightly.
~ Walt intimidating his brother-in-law Hank after the latter finally discovers the former is Heisenberg all along.
My name is Walter Hartwell White. I live at 308 Negra Arroyo Lane, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87104. This is my confession. If you’re watching this tape, I’m probably dead– murdered by my brother-in-law, Hank Schrader. Hank has been building a meth empire for over a year now, and using me as his chemist. Shortly after my fiftieth birthday, Hank came to me with a rather shocking proposition. He asked that I use my chemistry knowledge to cook methamphetamine, which he would then sell using his connections in the drug world, connections that he made through his career with the DEA. I was astounded. I–I always thought Hank was a very moral man, and I was particularly vulnerable at the time–something he knew and took advantage of. I was reeling from a cancer diagnosis that was poised to bankrupt my family. Hank took me on a ride-along and showed me just how much money even a small meth operation could make. And I was weak. I didn’t want my family to go into financial ruin, so I agreed. Every day, I think back at that moment with regret. I quickly realized that I was in way over my head and, Hank had a partner named Gustavo Fring, a businessman. Hank sold me into servitude to this man, and when I tried to quit, Fring threatened my family. I didn’t know where to turn. Eventually, Hank and Fring had a falling out. From what I can gather, Hank was always pushing for a greater share of the business, of which Fring flatly refused to give it, and things escalated. Fring was able to arrange, uh, I guess… I guess you call it a hit on my brother-in-law, and failed, but Hank was seriously injured, and I wound up paying his medical bills, which amounted to a little over $177,000. Upon recovery, Hank was bent on revenge. Working with a man named Hector Salamanca, he plotted to kill Fring, and did so. In fact, the bomb that he used was built by me. And he gave me no option in that. I have often contemplated suicide, but I’m a coward. I wanted to go to the police, but I was frightened. Hank had risen in the reigns to become the head of the Albuquerque DEA, and about that time to keep me in line, he took my children from me, for three months he kept them. My wife, who up until that point, had no idea of my criminal activities, was horrified to learn what I had done. Why Hank had taken our children. We were scared. And I was in hell. I hated myself for what I had brought upon my family. Recently, I tried once again to quit, to end this nightmare, and in response, he gave me this. I can't take this anymore. I live in fear every day that Hank will kill me. Or worse, hurt my family. All I could think to do was to make this video and hope that the world will finally see this man for what he really is.
~ Walt elaborates a fake confession that incriminates Hank as "Heisenberg" in a video watched by Hank and his wife Marie Shrader.
I watched Jane die. I was there. And I watched her die. I watched her overdose and choke to death. I could have saved her. But I didn't.
~ Walt spitefully reveals to Jesse he watched Jane die.
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!? WE'RE A FAMILY!! (pauses for a moment to see that his wife and son are shameful and terrified of him) We're a family.
~ Walt's reaction to both Skyler and their son Flynn turning their backs on him after they learn that Hank is dead, in addition to Flynn finally seeing the extent of his father's criminal nature.
What the hell is wrong with you? Why can't you do one thing I say? This is your fault! This is what comes with your disrespect! I told you Skyler, I warned you for a solid year, you crossed me there will be consequences. What part of that didn't you understand? Maybe now you'll listen. Maybe now you'll use your damn head. You know, you never believed in me. You were never grateful for anything I did for this family. "Oh no! Walt! Walt! You have to stop! You have to stop this! It's immoral! It's illegal! Someone might get hurt!" You're always whining and complaining about how I make my money, dragging me down while I do everything. And now, now you tell my son what I do? After I've told you and told you to keep your damn mouth shut? You stupid bitch! How dare you?
~ Walt's famous phone call with Skyler as he curses her for everything that has happened, though this is actually a ploy in order to exonerate her and their children from his criminal activities under lawful investigation.
Call it a Beau Geste, call it liberal guilt, call it whatever you want, but do it. And, you are not to spend a single dime of your own money. If there are taxes or lawyer's fees owed, you'll take it from here. They use my money. Never yours.
~ Walt persuades his former partners Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz to secretly provide his estranged family with strictly his own drug money, thus accomplishing his initial goal when he first went into meth trade.
Walter White: Skyler. All the things that I did, you need to understand--
Skyler White: If I have to hear, one more time, that you did this for the family--
Walter White: I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was, really.... I was alive.
~ Walt admitting to Skyler (and to himself) that he ultimately stayed in the meth business to satisfy his own ego, rather than for his family.
Well... goodbye Lydia.
~ Walter White's last words.

Trivia[]

  • Bryan Cranston won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, tying him with Dennis Franz for the record in this category, thanks to his performance as Walter White.
  • Creator of the series, Vince Gilligan, has stated that his intention with Walter White's tranformation throughout the show was to turn Mr. Chips into Scarface.
  • The song that Walt whistles after hearing about Drew Sharp's disappearance is "Lily of the Valley". Coincidentally, this is the same plant he used to poison Brock with. This in it of itself can be an indicator that Walt has stooped so low in his morality that he sees children as expendable.
  • There are several allusions to Walter White being a symbol for Satan himself:
    • His drug known as Blue Meth corrupts others into killing each other or going against each other from either inhaling it or having wars over the distribution of the product - one example being when it influences Tuco to beat one of his henchmen to death for inadvertently insulting him.
    • Like Satan, Walter White starts off as one with good intentions but lets his ego and hunger for power corrupt him into doing evil deeds.
    • As Marco and Leonel Salamanca are asking Hector to identify Walter White as Heisenberg, they use a Ouija board for him to spell out his name.
    • He is even referred to as such by other characters to allude to this symbolism-particularly Jesse when he tries to persuade Hank into not allowing them to meet each other in a public place out of fear that Walt might kill him ("Mr. White is the devil").
    • His attire after having been more involved in the drug business, a bald head with a goatee, is reminiscent of the description most often associated with Satan.
  • Throughout the show, Walter can be seen subconsciously picking up traits from the people he killed, likely in order to represent his descent into villany and his slow transformation into a drug kingpin.
    • His second victim in the series, Krazy-8, liked to eat sandwiches with the crust removed. In Season 3, Walt can be seen removing the crust from a sandwich he prepared.
    • After killing Gus, Walt also adopted some of his mannerisms and strategies. He started driving around an old Volvo (the same model of car that Gus drove) and started presenting himself in a friendly persona while working at his car wash, similarly to how Gus portrayed himself during his daytime job at Los Pollos Hermanos. Similarly, he also started using a front business for his meth operation, Vamonos Pest.
    • Lastly, upon killing Mike, Walter started ordering his drinks with ice, in a similar fashion to Mike. It's worth noting that prior to that, Walter used to request his drinks with no ice.
  • Walter's counterpart in Metástasis, the Colombian remake of Breaking Bad, is Walter Blanco.
    • "Blanco" is Spanish for "white."
  • Walter White is widely considered to be one of the greatest villains on TV, sometimes even the greatest, thanks in no small part to his writing, character development and Bryan Cranston's performance.

External Links[]

Navigation[]

            BreakingBadLogo / Better Call Saul logo Villains

Heisenberg's Empire
Walter White | Jesse Pinkman | Skyler White | Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman | Mike Ehrmantraut | Todd Alquist | Lydia Rodarte-Quayle | Badger | Skinny Pete | Combo | Huell Babineaux | Patrick Kuby | Declan | Declan's Crew | Vamonos Pest

The Cartel
Dons/Leadership
Don Eladio | Hector Salamanca | Juan Bolsa | Lalo Salamanca
Salamanca Family
Hector Salamanca | Tuco Salamanca | The Cousins | Lalo Salamanca | Joaquin Salamanca | Gonzo
Others
Nacho Varga | Krazy-8 | No-Doze | Tortuga | Gaff | Arturo Colon | Ximenez Lecerda | Carlos | Blingy | Benicio Fuentes | Miguel | Mouse | Sticky | Arlo | Ron | Dealer | Turk | Javier

Los Pollos Hermanos
Leadership
Gus Fring | Mike Ehrmantraut | Peter Schuler | Max Arciniega
Others
Walter White | Jesse Pinkman | Lydia Rodarte-Quayle | Nacho Varga | Victor | Tyrus Kitt | Rival Dealers | Tomás Cantillo | Gale Boetticher | Chris Mara | Duane Chow | Nick | Arthur | Gabriel | Dennis Markowski | Dan Wachsberger | Ron Forenall | Harris Boivin | Raymond Martinez | Kai

Neo-Nazis/Jack Welker's Gang
Jack Welker | Todd Alquist | Kenny | Matt | Frankie | Lester | Neil Kandy | Casey

Jimmy McGill's Contacts
Chuck McGill | Kim Wexler | Francesca Liddy | Saul Goodman Productions | Ed Galbraith | Lawson | Ira | Betsy and Craig Kettleman | Cal and Lars Lindholm | Marco Pasternak | Lance | Klitch | Genidowski | Caldera | Jeff | Buddy

Other
Emilio Koyama | Thug Buddy | Tweaky Dude | Spooge | Spooge's Lady | James Kilkelly/Jimmy In-'N-Out | Old Joe | Gordie | Scary Skell | Tucker | Hoffman & Fensky | Daniel Wormald | Clarence | Sobchak | The Con Man | Espinosa Gang | Rocco, Zane and Jed | Gangbangers | Mrs. Wexler | Colombian Gang

See Also
Metástasis Villains

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