Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) served as the core characters of Breaking Bad, but they are still a few years away from joining the drug trade during the events of Better Call Saul. After the success of Breaking Bad between 2008 and 2013, creator Vince Gilligan developed a prequel spinoff following Bob Odenkirk in his role as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman. To further connect the fictional universe, other characters like Mike Ehrmantraut, Gus Fring, and the Salamanca family has made the jump to Better Call Saul. Though Walt and Jesse have yet to appear on the prequel, it’s possible to pinpoint their whereabouts during the series.
When Breaking Bad began, the series was set in September 2008. Within just two years across a five-season span, Walt and Jesse started a drug lab out of a rolling RV, became serious figures in the drug trade, and watched their empire and personal lives crumble. Better Call Saul went back in time, with a plot that began six years prior to the events of the original series. Criminal defense attorney Saul was thrust into the focus while he was still a scam artist going by his birth name Jimmy McGill. Seeing as Saul didn’t encounter Walt and Jesse until Breaking Bad season 2, the pair hasn’t been vital to the prequel’s plot — but that may change.
With Better Call Saul coming to an end with the forthcoming season 6, the events will presumably lead to the launch of Breaking Bad season 1. Despite the speculations, it’s unclear if Cranston and Paul will be reprising their roles before Better Call Saul concludes. Cranston is open to returning to the Breaking Bad universe, but it might take more work with Paul considering Jesse would need some de-aging to fit the early 2000s setting. That said, it’s important to look at both characters’ arcs leading up to Breaking Bad. Based on backstory details, here’s what Walt and Jesse are up to during Better Call Saul.
What Walt & Jesse Are Doing During Better Call Saul’s Timeline
Walt turned 50-years-old during the Breaking Bad pilot episode. With Better Call Saul’s spring 2002 setting, Walt would have been 43, which was well before his Heisenberg transformation. At this point, the character left his job at Sandia Laboratories and decided to become a high school chemistry teacher. Better Call Saul lasted a full two years through season 5 so Walt still would have been working J. P. Wynne High School. He would have been living cancer-free, raising his young son, Walt Jr., and living an ordinary life with his wife, Skyler.
During the events of Better Call Saul, Jesse probably would have served as one of Walt’s students, seeing as the character was around 17 when the prequel began. Walt realized that Jesse had potential, but the teen never applied himself. Somehow, Jesse graduated high school before falling into drug addiction. It’s possible that the criminal activity started before Better Call Saul, which could somehow give Jesse an easy path to appear in the series. Seeing as Jesse was so open to helping Walt cook meth a few years later at the age of 24, he never found stability post-graduation.