What makes the Breaking Bad movie different from most TV-to-film continuations is that Gilligan—not the network or production company—has been the driving force behind it. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Gilligan chronicles the genesis of the project: He came up with the story on his own, convinced Sony Pictures Television to get on board, and then pitched it to a select few distributors. (The movie will air on AMC at some point after it’s released on Netflix.)

Gilligan and Paul’s involvement has Breaking Bad fans giddy, including those who thought the ending of the AMC series was already perfect and question the need for more of that story. It’s difficult to argue with a writer who comes up with a new idea organically after several years. Had AMC or Netflix pressured him out of Breaking Bad retirement to write them a new story, the excitement surrounding the project would not be as palpable.

The continuity of the original series’ creative team and cast is crucial in any film continuation—as is the passage of time. Jeff Bock, a senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, noted in the Hollywood Reporter that a lot of these films share a similar timeline. “There is a window for these series, and it is less than a decade,” he told the outlet. “Preferably five years, which is a sweet spot where you miss it just enough to do anything to get a little more.”

El Camino will be released six years after Breaking Bad ended. Downton Abbey had a four-year gap. Deadwood’s was 13 years, though HBO and creator David Milch had tried several times to make the film sequel sooner. The Veronica Mars movie, another relatively successful entry in this genre, came out seven years after the original series.

The film that could rebut this theory of what makes a successful film continuation is The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to The Sopranos (which ended in 2007) due out in theaters next year. The Sopranos creator David Chase is writing and producing the film, but it will feature an entirely new cast, and won’t reach viewers until more than 13 years after the HBO series concluded.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.