Aaron Paul Says PopCorners Super Bowl Ad Is the Last Time They'll Revisit 'Breaking Bad' — Watch

Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston tell PEOPLE why they chose to bring their famed characters back to life for a Super Bowl commercial: "What a fun way to go out"

A decade has passed since Breaking Bad aired its final episode, but Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul maintain that reprising their lead roles for a 2023 Super Bowl commercial couldn't have felt more natural.

The former castmates became Walter White and Jesse Pinkman once more to promote the snack brand PopCorners during one of the most watched televised events of the year.

"It's so easy to kind of zip on that skin again," Paul, 43, tells PEOPLE of stepping back into his character Jesse. "It's just like revisiting a very familiar friend."

The 60-second advertisement titled "Breaking Good" sees Jesse and Walter cooking up a batch of their latest product. Instead of the blue crystal methamphetamine they famously made on the show, they're now working with the air-popped chips. Impressed by the quality of the white cheddar-flavored snack they've prepared, Jesse takes a crunchy bite only to be reprimanded by Walt: "We don't eat our own supply," he says.

A second scene sees Jesse and Walt passing off their culinary masterpiece to reckless drug lord Tuco Salamanca, who is played by Raymond Cruz in both the show and the new Super Bowl spot. When Jesse informs him that they're called PopCorners, we hear Walt — now posing as his criminal alter ego, Heisenberg — speak his famous line with a slight variation: "Say their name," he tells Tuco.

Bryan Cranston Aaron Paul PopCorners SuperBowl Ad

"We had so much fun shooting it. Just getting back into those characters and seeing all the familiar faces," Cranston, 66, recalls of their foray back into the world of Walter White, the chemistry teacher-turned-drug kingpin whom he played for all five of the show's seasons. He tells PEOPLE that acting opposite Paul again was effortless: "We fit like a glove."

PopCorners' pitch was to essentially create a "mini episode" of the series, says Paul. And both he and Cranston knew that there was one key ingredient needed to cook up the most authentic revival possible: Breaking Bad's creator and director, Vince Gilligan.

It didn't take much for Cranston and Paul to convince the PopCorners team that Gilligan was essential, but according to Paul, the award-winning executive required a little more persuading.

"He's busy right now. ... He likes to kind of focus on one thing at a time," Paul says of Gilligan and his initial hesitation to sign on for the Super Bowl ad. Paul adds that once they explained that the company's goal was to "[pay] homage to something that we really care for," Gilligan was all in and "very excited about it."

Bryan Cranston Aaron Paul PopCorners SuperBowl Ad

Breaking Bad's former cast and crew are anticipating that fans will pour over every aspect of the commercial, dissecting the authenticity of each line spoken and every piece of the set. Luckily for those diehard viewers, the cast and crew was equally "conscientious about getting it right," says Cranston. They filmed in the same RV that was used in the show. The costumes were pulled from the Breaking Bad archival closet, adds Paul, as is the jewelry worn by Raymond Cruz in character as Tuco Salamanca.

"There was no phoning it in. We had meetings after meetings after meetings on the commercial," Cranston explains, explaining how they would rewatch scenes to compare seating positions and tweak dialogue so it better matched the original lines. Cranston says that aside from the presence of the snack, the most notable difference was that he wore a bald cap while filming the PopCorner's ad. (When Breaking Bad was his primary project, Cranston kept his head shaved to save himself hours in hair and makeup.)

Bryan Cranston Aaron Paul PopCorners SuperBowl Ad

Paul insists that beyond the vigilant measures taken during production, the flavorful crisps are a fitting replacement for the illicit substance manufactured by their characters on the AMC series.

"Our characters on the show [were] always about purity in that particular product, and PopCorners has that same sort of mindset" says Paul. "It's all about basic ingredients. There's no reason to throw in other stuff. You read the bag and you know every single ingredient."

"I think it works because [PopCorners understands] the milieu of the show," Cranston notes. "The relationship between Walt and Jesse, the remoteness of it, that they have a quest to produce something of value. So it's basically a switch out."

Though it was a thrill to revisit Breaking Bad once more, Paul doesn't expect to become Jesse Pinkman again anytime soon, especially now that the series' spin-off Better Call Saul has wrapped after its own six-season run.

"I feel like this is sort of where we all kind of hang our hats, at least with the Breaking Bad universe," he says. "And what a fun way to go out."

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