Bryan Cranston Jokes About Returning To Work With Breaking Bad Co-Star Bob Odenkirk On Better Call Saul, And What’s ‘Changed’

Walt at diner with Jesse in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
(Image credit: Netflix)

Spoilers below for the latest episode of Better Call Saul, so be warned if you’re not yet caught up!

With its eighth episode, AMC’s Better Call Saul at last drew the line in the New Mexico desert sand for Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy McGill and his most significant other, Rhea Seehorn’s Kim Wexler. Following a moral-deflating visit to the memorial for the dead-and-buried Howard Hamlin, Kim ended things not only with Jimmy, but with her entire career. With that split now set in stone, Saul Goodman can emerge in full, and the Breaking Bad timeline can officially commence. Which means we’re right around the corner from Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul’s respective returns as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. 

Given that glorious eventuality, the two actors spoke with the Albuquerque Journal about bringing the duo back to television following their previous reprisals for the AMC/Netflix feature El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. And Bryan Cranston, ever the joker despite his dramatic chops, deadpanned the claim that co-star Bob Odenkirk had become a bit more full of himself and demanding in the years since he’s been a lead on Better Call Saul. According to Cranston:

Odenkirk insisted. He said, ‘This is my show. This is what you will do.’ I was like, ‘Wow. He’s really changed.’

Of course, if Bob Odenkirk has changed in recent years, it’s only been for the better, at least according to seemingly everyone who’s worked with him. And the love for the Mr. Show vet only grew stronger while filming the final season, when Odenkirk suffered a production-stopping heart attack. (The near-tragic scene in question happened in Episode 608.) The actor had nothing but love to share for everyone he worked with once the drama wrapped filming earlier this year. On-screen, however, things are not at all so kind-hearted and cheery, as the final dots will soon be connected for this interconnected universe. 

Not that we have any real clue yet how Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul will show up, as far as whether or not they’ll be together on screen or not. After all, Walt could appear in a flashback, while Jesse could show up in one of the black-and-white Gene flash-forwards. But it seems like they’ll be paired up again, since they were flown out to the production together. Cranston did open up about the heighted secrecy involved, saying:

We were asked to keep it a secret forever. We were flown in under the darkness of night. We took this plane and they went to a certain private section of the airport there. And then we took like two steps out of the tarmac and into an SUV. They moved us to an Airbnb – a duplex. He had the top floor. I had the bottom floor and we were told you can’t leave.

The need for secrecy is obviously understood, since fans would have no doubt flocked to whatever establishments the actors went to had the public at large known about Cranston and Paul’s trip to New Mexico at the time. And while they obviously weren’t tortured or anything so drastic, it does sound like the duo went through some less-than-optimal experiences just so viewers could experience their cameo returns in fully unspoiled bliss. 

Of course, the original idea was for no one to know about Walt and Jesse’s return until it happened, and Aaron Paul joked about co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould putting them through all those complications just to troll them, seeing as how the news was revealed fairly early on that the biggest Breaking Bad crossover possible was imminent. Here’s how Paul put it:

It’s so funny that because this was supposed to be a big surprise, a big secret. Then all of a sudden they announced that we were doing it, so why did they keep us in a prison? Seriously, they were just messing with us.

Someone who’s not messing around is Gus Fring, who is now living far easier without Lalo haunting his daily existence. And with construction set to start up again in the lab beneath the laundromat, it’s only a matter of time before he needs someone in there cooking up the signature blue meth at the heart of Breaking Bad

Better Call Saul airs Monday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET, with Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul’s returns rumored to be happening in Episode 610, airing on July 25. While waiting to see that happen, head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.