TV & Film

Bryan Cranston Joins 'Archer' Cast For Epic Season Finale

He is the one who knocks -- on the door of the International Space Station.

The Huffington Post can exclusively reveal that "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston will guest-star on this year's two-part season finale of "Archer," the animated spy comedy that returns Jan. 19 on FX. According to "Archer" creator and executive producer Adam Reed, Cranston will play Commander Drake, an "earnest, conscientious astronaut" fighting to quell a mutiny on the space platform.

Reed spoke for an hour about his show's third season on the latest "Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan" podcast, available here and on iTunes. (Reed's previous Talking TV chat can be found here.) My podcast co-host Ryan McGee and I grilled him about who would be accompanying Sterling Archer on that crucial space mission, and though Reed didn't name names, he said that quite a few Isis employees will experience astronaut training (that's the first part of the finale) and end up in orbit with Drake (during part two).

"I love it when everybody gets to go [on a mission], so a lot more people than you would think get to go to outer space," Reed said.

Reed also revealed that Jack McBrayer of "30 Rock" and Michael Rooker of "The Walking Dead" will guest in another upcoming episode as the brother of Isis employee Ray Gillette and a corrupt sheriff, respectively. In that outing, the Isis team heads to West Virginia to help Gillette's brother, a marijuana farmer.

Other upcoming episodes include Archer getting lost in a South American jungle, Cyril receiving dangerous new assignments, a typically disastrous train ride to Canada and a jaunt to Venice. The season's strong first four are packed with the show's distinctive mix of dry humor, surreal segues and energetic, frequently goofy spy action.

After speaking to Reed, I'm especially looking forward to an upcoming Pam-centered episode laying out her history as an underground drift racer with ties to the Japanese yakuza. Reed also mentioned that one of my favorite characters, hilariously terrifying office techie Krieger, will be the "catalyst" for the return of another prominent guest star, whose identity Reed would not disclose.

Reed did, however, talk at length about the guest appearance by Burt Reynolds, who voices himself in Jan. 19 "Archer" season premiere. As is fitting for a handsome, square-jawed super-spy, Archer can often be cool and dismissive, but the secret agent is endearingly starstruck in the presence of Reynolds, who is also one of Reed's pop-culture heroes.

"The script was, like, writing about Archer's hero and my hero. There was a lot of adulation," Reed said, but Reynolds let Reed know that he wanted to include some self-deprecatory lines about the less successful aspects of the "Gator" star's career. "He was like, 'Let's talk about how some of my movies weren't good.' He made a lot of jokes at his own expense, so if I could think he was any cooler, that did it," Reed said.

Reed added that members of the "Archer" production staff went down to Jupiter, Fla., where Reynolds lives, in order to record the actor's lines. "I think we told him that we always do that, so that he wouldn't be creeped out that we were [there]," Reed said with a laugh.

In other Isis news, the tie-in book "How to Archer" comes out Jan. 17. (You can find a sample from it here.)

"From what I understand, HarperCollins got Archer to write a book, and he blew the advance," Reed joked. "But he was contractually obligated to turn in a book that was 30,000 words long," and so the publisher got a guide to dating, personal grooming, spycraft and style that is exactly that length.

"I've read the book, and it's very begrudgingly written, like Archer does not want to be writing this book," Reed said. Still, he said, there are definite draws for the hardcore "Archer" fan, from spy tips and romantic advice to "a ton of delicious cocktail recipes." Plus, he said, "Malory wrote the foreword, but it's not really a glowing recommendation of the book."

In the course of the podcast, Reed let slip a major spoiler for the upcoming season (look away if you don't want to know). "A pretty major character dies" in the upcoming season of the comedy, he said.

"Archer" returns to FX for with its third season on Thurs., Jan. 19 at 10 p.m. EST.

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