On Monday night's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonBryan Cranston addressed the popular fan theory that Hal, the goofball dad he played in Malcolm in the Middle, and Walter White, the goofball dad who makes meth he played in Breaking Bad, are actually the same character existing in the same universe. You've probably heard this connection made at some point but, if not, I can't imagine it's too hard to find a very detailed write-up about it on Reddit.

For the simplified (and perfectly sufficient) version, the theory posits that Walt actually survived at the end of Breaking Bad and assumed a new identity that resulted in him becoming Hal, making Breaking Bad a Malcolm prequel. Obviously it was put forth prior to El Camino, but most fan theories are just based on interpreting canon however you want, so whatever.

That said, Cranston poured cold water on it. So, if El Camino didn't already dissuade you, then perhaps this answer will.

“I am not at liberty to disclose that kind of information without security clearances,” Cranston said. “I think it’s fun. I don’t know. Walter White is definitely dead. He’s dead, he’s dead, he’s dead.”

The topic came up because of a recent table read the Malcolm cast did via Zoom, and also because El Camino came out last year...meaning since he'd last been on Fallon.  

As a silver lining (for those who still want to subscribe to the theory) Fallon pointed out that Cranston lied about whether or not they were doing a Breaking Bad movie the last time they spoke. Cling to the idea he's lying now if you want.

Another topic that came up was that Cranston also had COVID around the same time that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson revealed they did. 

“They came out with it right away, and I thought ‘That’s great,'” Cranston said. “There’s no need for another celebrity to say, ‘Hey, I got it too.’ So I just kept it quiet. We were very lucky. So many people are suffering desperately from this. My wife and I had a week of extreme exhaustion and some body aches, a little dry cough. And then it was gone.”

Skip to 2:59 for the start of the Breaking Bad/Malcom talk or, if you're really busy then why did you click this, how could this possibly apply to your life you can start at 5:05 to get directly to the theory: