Before the “Breaking Bad” panel began on Friday evening, Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston gleefully dug into a box of costumes and props shipped directly to San Diego from the show’s New Mexico set. The two actors removed gas masks and bright yellow hazmat suits and put them on with all the practice of their characters, Jesse Pinkman and Walter White, New Mexico’s best meth dealers.
The gritty AMC show is premiering the opening episode of its final season at Comic-Con, and Paul doesn’t see anything wrong with showing it at a place that’s usually about escapist fantasy.
“I think it’s awesome,” he said, cradling the prop baby that’s used as Walter White’s infant daughter, Holly, during filming. “This is where our fans are. Sure, it’s nice to have a posh Hollywood premiere, but this is incredible.”
Paul and Cranston shortly afterward joined castmates Anna Gunn, R.J. Mitte, Betsy Brandt, Dean Norris (in belly-baring Xena Warrior Princess armor), Jonathan Banks and show creator Vince Gilligan in front of hordes of cheering fans in Ballroom 20.
The show is unique among series currently on the air in that it’s charted its main character’s descent from Mr. Chips to Scarface. And with the final season about to begin, it’s apparent that he’s finally reached the Scarface end of the spectrum.
“How many of you think this guy’s as bad as he’s gonna get?” Gilligan asked the crowd. Huge cheers. Gilligan smiled. “I don’t know. He may get worse yet.”
The first run of eight episodes starts on AMC on Sunday night and the final eight episodes will air next summer. With the series finale still not shot, Cranston had to admit that he doesn’t know how it’s going to end.
“None of us on this panel know what’s in this man’s [Gilligan’s] head,” Cranston said. “We don’t ask and he doesn’t tell us. And we like it that way.”
Gilligan has always been tight-lipped about the future of the twisty, turny series, but he did give fans many glimpses of how the final season would progress.
“You’re going to read more subtitles in German than Spanish this season,” Gilligan said. Last season took the characters to the home of a drug cartel in Mexico. This season will take them to the German home of a multinational corporation that funded the drug empire of Walter’s now-deceased rival, Gus Fring.
“Whether it’s an evil empire or just certain executives remains to be seen,” Gilligan said. “But it’ll take us to Hamburg, Germany. More than that I shouldn’t say.
Scottish actress Laura Fraser will also be joining the series as a former associate of Fring’s. “I’ve never met her,” Gilligan admitted. “I’ve never seen her out of character. But she’s an excellent actress and she’ll be making life interesting for a couple of the people on our panel.”
“Friday Night Lights” actor Jesse Plemons will also be joining the series as Todd, another member of Walter’s meth-dealing operation.
“As we enter into this last season, there’s an expansion of our group … and as the old saying goes, you’re only as strong as your weakest link,” Cranston said. He also noted that the series ended its biggest conflict with 16 episodes to go. “We’ve got these last 16 to regain momentum,” he said.
Cranston also explained that the opening shot of the final season was the most revealing teaser “Breaking Bad” had ever shown. “But after you’ve seen it, you have no idea what it means,” he said.