It was a Breaking Bad reunion at Monday night's premiere of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. The film's writer and director, Vince Gilligan, and star Aaron Paul celebrated the return of Jesse Pinkman alongside favorites from the original series, including Jonathan Banks, Charles Baker, and Matt Jones — who are all returning for the film — as well as Bryan Cranston, Dean Norris, Krysten Ritter, Giancarlo Esposito, Jesse Plemons, and others who may or may not be among the movie's cameos.
TV Guide hit the red carpet to speak Gilligan and the confirmed cast about what it was like for them to step back into this world after so many years away, and it sounds like Paul was more than ready to return to his character.
"I know the story so well, I only had to rewatch one episode to try and understand where [Jesse] was at," Paul told TV Guide. "And it was actually the episode that happens around the first scene of this film, so I had to rewatch this episode to understand his mindset, but that was it. Everything else was in my head."
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan said that above all, it was his respect for Paul that made him want to make the film. "He is so damn talented. He is such a good guy," Gilligan said of the movie's star.
The lingering questions in Jesse's story were another draw. "When I wrote [the Breaking Bad finale], I thought, well, the audience is going to intuit that he had a happy ending. He got away. It's not completely happy because he's crying, he's laughing, you figure he's got to be riddled with PTSD. But at least he got away," Gilligan explained. "Then I thought, well, maybe he didn't get away. Maybe he got busted by the cops right around the next bend. Who knows?"
Charles Baker, who portrays Jesse's loyal friend Skinny Pete, said he did not expect to get back into his character's signature beanie but eased right back into it all the same. "I never thought it would happen. I thought I was too old to play this character again — I probably am, but it was fun to bring it back. It was like stepping into some old shoes, just as comfortable as it could be," Baker said.
Likewise, Matt Jones, who returns as Badger, another of Jesse's friends, really didn't foresee a return to Breaking Bad. "We had no idea, absolutely no idea. I'm doing sitcoms — I'm on a Chuck Lorre show [Bob (Hearts) Abishola] — I'm working 9 to 5. I did not think I'd be going back to Albuquerque shooting a show."
Yet here they all are, ready to reveal the next, long-awaited chapter in the story of Jesse Pinkman. Yeah ... well, you know.
Check out the red carpet interviews above.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie arrives on Netflix on Friday, Oct. 11.
-- Reporting by Megan Vick