The cast of Breaking Bad offered some tidbits about the show’s fifth season during a Comic-Con International panel in San Diego on Friday night. While exact details remained elusive, one thing was clear: The season, which premieres on Sunday night, is the show’s darkest yet."This season is about winning; and what it means to stay on top," said executive producer Vince Gilligan.
"This entire season is just creepy. Unsettling," added Aaron Paul, who plays meth dealer Jesse Pinkman.
The hour-long panel, moderated by TV Guide’s Michael Schneider, marked the first time Breaking Bad has made an appearance at Comic-Con. The panelists included Gilligan and seven of the show’s actors, including Bryan Cranston, who stars as chemistry teacher-turned-meth maker Walter White.
Some devoted fans had apparently shown up early – really early – to get a good seat. "I’m scared to leave this line up. I don’t want to miss breaking bad IN 5 HOURS. What is another 5 hours without peeing?" tweeted a user named @elizabutt.
Despite the show’s intensity, the panelists were clearly having a good time. Hitfix noted that Cranston and Paul came onstage dressed in yellow hazmat suits. Actor Dean Norris – who plays White’s DEA agent brother-in-law, Hank Schrader – was dressed in an outfit that made him look like Xena.
At one point, the cast started eating some of Walter White’s famous blue meth, reported TV Guide. Later, asked if his character had any redeeming qualities, Cranston said, "He makes damn good meth."
The fifth season is the show’s last, with 16 episodes set to air in two blocks of eight before it wraps up in 2013. In that time, Cranston’s character reaches new lows: Gilligan said Walt does something during the season that made Gilligan lose all sympathy for the character, though he wouldn’t specify what.
"He’s found a new power and it’s his ego," Cranston said, according to the show's Twitter feed.
The new season adds two new characters into the mix. Jesse Plemons of Friday Night Lights plays a guy named Todd, and Scottish actress Laura Fraser plays Lydia, a former associate of meth kingpin Gus Fring, who died at the end of the fourth season. Pinkman’s drug runner buddies Badger and Skinny Pete also make a return.
The show also brings in Madrigal, a German company that was bankrolling Gus’ operation. Gilligan said to expect more German subtitles on the show, noting that the second episode partially takes place in Hanover, Germany.
During the question-and-answer session, a fan asked if the season will include any "bottle episodes," low-budget productions designed to save on costs. Gilligan said the season’s fifth episode is actually the "polar opposite" of a bottle episode. It was also the first one of the series that was filmed outside of Albuquerque – all the way in Santa Fe, an hour’s drive away.
Asked what he plans to do after Breaking Bad, Gilligan said he’d love to do TV or movies. "In a very greedy sense, I hope that this is not the highlight of my career," he said.