Ten years ago, TV viewers were introduced to a New Mexico-based chemistry teacher named Walter White — a seemingly nice guy who was about to break bad in a major way by becoming the state’s biggest, baddest meth dealer. From those humble origins emerged a meme-generating pop culture icon, not to mention a TV show that’s absolutely in contention for GOAT status. And even though it aired its last episode five years ago, Breaking Bad has not gone away; it lives on through its prequel series, Better Call Saul, as well as Netflix binge-watching.
But that doesn’t mean its fans are any less excited to see the proverbial band get back together. On Thursday, the Breaking Bad cast — including Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, and Dean Norris — reunited at San Diego Comic-Con alongside the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, for a freewheeling 10th anniversary panel. On one hand, seeing all of them together made it feel like no time has passed since the show’s 2008 debut. But when Paul brought his infant daughter onstage with him (clad wearing a mini meth-cooker outfit, no less) we realized that a lot has changed over the course of a decade. Here are Yahoo Entertainment’s five favorite moments of the Breaking Bad reunion.
Aaron Paul brought his baby to the Breaking Bad 10th anniversary panel. She is the one who rocks. pic.twitter.com/gKXhljyQ4w
— Ethan Alter (@ethanalter) July 19, 2018
Don’t look for Walt or Jesse in Better Call Saul Season 4
Ever since Better Call Saul premiered in 2015, fans have wondered how long it would take before we got our first sightings of a pre-Breaking Bad Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. According to Gilligan, we’re going to have to wait a little bit longer. “You will not see Walt or Jesse in Season 4,” Gilligan promises of Saul‘s latest season, which premieres Aug. 6 on AMC.
But don’t abandon all hope! “I will suspect we’d be sorely remiss if these characters didn’t appear on the show before it ended,” Gilligan added, insisting that he’ll never “play games” with fans about bringing back those characters.
While Jesse and Walt won’t be in Season 4, during the Better Call Saul panel, Gilligan did disclose that there will be some Breaking Bad overlap this year in the form of Lalo (Tony Dalton) — a character who was name-dropped but never seen in the original series. Cranston did point out that one Breaking Bad character was guaranteed to be part of the prequel series. “I think there’s a better-than-average chance of Bob Odenkirk being on Better Call Saul.,” he said. “That’s a done deal.”
Cranston loved being the bearer of fake news
Breaking Bad fans are well aware of Gilligan’s initial plan to kill Jesse Pinkman off at the end of the first season, but the creator reversed course because of Paul’s soulful performance, and the character was never in serious danger of a premature death again. Cranston, though, didn’t let his co-star forget about his character’s close brush with the great beyond. “I would get ahold of a script, and even if I didn’t read it first, I would walk up to Aaron and go, ‘Oh, man,'” the actor confessed, laughing. Adds Paul: “He’d be like, ‘Hey man, it’s been a fun ride. You read the script, right?’ I’d say ‘No,’ and then he’d just say, ‘Oh,’ and walk away! Then I’d read the script, and I was alive still.”
You couldn’t put one over on Gunn
When Anna Gunn first went into read for the role of Walter’s better half, Skyler White, she remembers asking Gilligan for some additional information about the character beyond what was in the pilot script. “He said, ‘She’ll be like Carmela Soprano, but in on the crime.'”
From that seed of an idea, Gunn developed the character’s intelligence and intuitiveness to the point that Gilligan told the writers that they needed to speed up the timeline for when Skyler was going to learn about Walt’s double life as a meth dealer.
“It was fun to keep it going as long as we could where Skyler didn’t know what her husband was up to. But we had a come to Jesus meeting in the writers’ room and said, ‘We can’t keep it a secret [from her] anymore, because it’s not believable that this woman [wouldn’t know]. That’s good advice to any writers out there: Don’t get too in your own head about where you want the story to go. You’ve got to listen to you characters — you’re learning a lot from them, and you’ve got to go with the flow.”
Jesse in the middle
Even though the Comic-Con crowd was at a panel celebrating Breaking Bad specifically, at times it became a Malcolm in the Middle appreciation. Multiple attendees asked Cranston about the possibility of reviving the Fox sitcom in which he played hapless patriarch Hank to Frankie Muniz’s title character. One person even pitched him on the idea of a reboot in which Paul would turn out to be Hank’s long-lost illegitimate son.
“I would be so down,” said the younger actor, but Cranston didn’t bite, replying, “Yeah, not so much.” But there is one connection between Walt and Hank — their taste in undergarments. Asked what he brought from Malcolm to Breaking Bad, Cranston said, “The underwear! Which I’m still wearing. And it’s too sizes too small now — it’s a little bind-y.”
Afterlife with Walt
So a Malcolm in the Middle reboot is out — and since Walter White is dead, a Breaking Bad sequel seems impossible … or is it? One of the fans in the Comic-Con audience asked Gilligan if he was aware of a popular online theory — aided and abetted by cleverly placed Easter eggs — linking Breaking Bad to The Walking Dead. Specifically, the theory posits that Walt’s brand of meth give birth to the armies of the undead that brought about the zombie apocalypse. “I love this theory,” Gilligan hooted, asking Cranston whether he had been aware of it as well. “Walt is dead now, so he could be a zombie,” the actor mused. “A Heisenberg zombie. My agents are here — we should talk about it.” The ball’s in your court, AMC; let’s make this official.
Breaking Bad is now streaming on Netflix.
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