July 21, 2013 at 11:00 PM ET
If you were strolling the floor of Comic-Con this weekend and saw an incredibly convincing Walter White making the rounds, chances are it was series star Bryan Cranston making an incognito appearance in a frighteningly realistic rubber mask, green button-up shirt and signature khakis. (He said he used a “higher voice” than normal to preserve his identity among photo hounds. “It’s the most fun I ever had walking the floor!” said the three-time Emmy winner.)
Cranston donned the getup on stage during "Breaking Bad’s" final appearance at Comic-Con. He then promptly fitted the mask over his microphone in a most absurd meta moment (serious Walter White mouth-on-mouth action) that kicked off the series’ swan-song conversation in front of a packed room of 6,000 fans, which also included AMC president Charlie Collier and Sony Pictures Television co-president Jamie Erlicht.
Moderator Chris Hardwick quickly broke news at the top of the discussion that he will be presiding over a talk show following each of "Breaking Bad’s" final episodes – called "Talking Bad," naturally – beginning with episode one of the final eight, which premieres Aug. 11.
Creator Vince Gilligan and castmembers Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman), Anna Gunn (Skyler White), Dean Norris (Hank Schrader), RJ Mitte (Walter Jr.) and Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman) (Betsy Brandt was unable to attend due to production on her forthcoming new series, NBC’s "The Michael J. Fox Show.") unveiled the opener of the season premiere, which sees Walter White -- dressed and bearded as he was in last year’s season premiere “Live Free or Die” (Remember the breakfast diner scene with the bacon on his 52nd birthday?) -- returning to his suburban Albuquerque home, which is vandalized and gated.
Walt is shown entering the abandoned home, which is dirty, empty and messy with flies (Skateboarders are seen skating in the White family’s backyard pool, which has been drained of water.) He removes an outlet cover on the wall to reveal the small tube of ricin he (and, presumably at one point, viewers thought) used to poison young Brock in season four (though the first episode of season five saw Walt disposing of the Lily of the Valley plant in his backyard – a clue that he may have used poisonous berries instead to harm the child.)
Written on the walls of the White family living room is one word in graffiti scrawl: HEISENBERG. Walt leaves the house and says, casually, to a shocked neighbor who sees him opening and closing a car trunk filled with firearms: “Hello, Carol.”
Speaking of the poison, one inquisitive fan asked the panel a burning questions that has still haunted some viewers: How did Walt have had time to poison Brock?
“It was a tight timeline, but my writers and I did have our ‘evil juice-box man’ theory,” said Gilligan. “Our best guess -- and Walt would have had just enough time to do it -- is that he crushed up some of the [poison] put it in a juice box and somehow got into Brock’s school. That’s how it happened. He was a very motivated individual at that point!”
Knowing better, Hardwick did not press the "Bad" gang for any spoilers on the upcoming series finale, but asked Gilligan simply, “Are you satisfied with it?”
“First, I want to say that I’m sad, sad, sad about the series ending,” admitted Gilligan. “I’m going to miss these guys … and coming to Comic-Con. And, yes, I’m very happy with the finale. I hope our fans will be, too.”