Before the sixth and last season began, “Better Call Saul,” the show’s co-creator Peter Gould hinted that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul would have cameos. On Monday night, they were back as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.
The two Emmy winners played their roles again for the first time in the “Better Call Saul” prequel. This was just a few years after they briefly appeared together in “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.” After fans made guesses about when Walt and Jesse would show up, they were shown in a look back at Season 2 Episode 8 of “Breaking Bad,” which was called “Better Call Saul” and introduced the character of Bob Odenkirk.
In that 2009 episode of “Better Call Saul,” we also heard the names of Lalo and Ignacio for the first time. At the time, they were just offhand comments from Saul that were never brought up again. Now, these lines have new meaning because “Better Call Saul” has spent six seasons showing how the lawyer messed up the lives of Tony Dalton’s Lalo Salamanca and Michael Mando’s Ignacio “Nacho” Varga.
Now 42 years old, Paul steps back into the role of Jesse, who just graduated from high school. The episode was written and led by Thomas Schnauz that aired on Monday night; it told Variety that there was never a plan for Cranston and Paul to appear on “Better Call Saul,” but that their schedules worked out during Season 6 was being made. He also says why he didn’t have Jesse say “bitch,” hints that Saul will take on a new persona in the last two episodes. And defends the fact that Walt and Jesse, who are reenacting a “Breaking Bad” episode that was filmed 13 years ago, didn’t look much younger.
How did it feel to see Cranston and Paul back in their old roles in the RV?
It was a crazy trip back in time. Everyone fell back like we had been doing it the whole time. Bryan and Aaron jumped right back into their roles without much help. Before they got to Albuquerque, they asked for a recap of where the characters’ minds were at this time. Over several seasons, they went through a wide range of feelings, but this is very specific to Season 2. I told them it happened between the kidnapping and their Jimmy In-‘N-Out (Jimmy Daniels) plan in Season 2, Episode 8.
Was it always planned for Cranston and Paul to be in “Better Call Saul”?
We were clueless. Nobody knew if Walt and Jesse would return. “Walt returned in “El Camino” with Jesse,” we’d say. Real, therefore it’s OK if “Better Call Saul” doesn’t cover it. But we all wanted them to return. We had no idea how or why but chose to make later episodes. Given the similarities between Saul Goodman’s pursuit of Walter White and Gene’s pursuit of his Omaha schemes, it seemed like a good moment to revisit those sequences and answer the Lalo question.
We’ve seen Jimmy, Gene, and now Victor as Saul. Will Saul’s last episodes introduce a new persona?
I hope this doesn’t mean anything, but I think we will meet a new character at some point. In a future episode, when Bob walks on screen. He looks different than he has ever looked before, and it’s great.