Walter White Jr. was a prominent figure throughout Breaking Bad‘s five-season run but there were several times when the character went by the name “Flynn.” The character played by RJ Mitte was named after his father, and the show’s protagonist, Walter White (Bryan Cranston). The teen with cerebral palsy had a good heart but he often got caught in the middle when it came to the tension between his parents, and it took a toll.
When Walt Jr. was introduced in Breaking Bad, he seemed like an ordinary teenager going through the trials and tribulations of a high schooler. After his father’s cancer diagnosis, he funneled his distress into developing a website to raise money to help pay for Walter’s treatments. Though his dad was mostly to blame for the struggles his family endured, Walt Jr. mostly lashed out at his mother, Skyler (Anna Gunn). Throughout the series, Walt Jr. was very close to his uncle, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris). Since Walt had a hand in Hank’s death, it served as a true turning point in how Walt Jr. perceived his father.
During Breaking Bad season 2, Walt started to disappear which worried his family. He blamed it on his “fugue state” but in reality, he was building his meth empire under the alias, Heisenberg. Walt Jr., in particular, was bothered by his father’s behavior so as an act of rebellion, he started to go by the name Flynn. He made it clear that he would only answer to that name and used it among his friends. The name itself doesn’t have any deep connections to the series. When Mitte got the background information for the name change, series creator Vince Gilligan claimed it was randomly chosen because of the old movie star, Errol Flynn. The name might not be significant but the driving force behind Walt Jr.’s constant name changes sure was.
Walt Jr. flip-flopped with his name preference a few times over the course of Breaking Bad. When he initially went by Flynn, it was seen as a phase or an act of rebellion. As a teen going through tough times, he needed some sort of independence so he distanced himself rather than be stuck in his dad’s shadows by sharing his namesake. Walt Jr. had a lot on his plate, and no we aren’t talking about his love of breakfast foods.
The character’s name preference had a tendency to correlate with which parent he took the side of throughout certain arguments. When Walt finally agreed to get treatment, Walt Jr. started to change his attitude. He then decided to side with his father when Walt and Skyler considered divorcing. At this point, Walt Jr. wouldn’t answer to the name Flynn. This changed, however, in the final season of Breaking Bad when Walt’s actions were unearthed. Walt Jr. was disgusted by his father and vowed to protect his mother and baby sister. In doing so, he permanently dropped his birth name and went by Flynn to further wipe his connection to Walt. Even though Walt was confirmed to have died in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, it’s safe to assume the name “Walter White” died too.