'Martin' Cast Reflects on Long-Lasting Legacy: 'It Was Like Catching Lightning in a Bottle' (Exclusive)

'Martin: The Reunion' premieres June 16 on BET+.

It's been 25 years since the cast of Martin last graced TV screens together, but their chemistry hasn't gone away. Ahead of the show's long-awaited reunion, ET sat down with four actors who brought the iconic comedy to life in the '90s, including Martin LawrenceTisha CampbellTichina Arnold and Carl Anthony Payne II.

The four are the main stars of the upcoming special celebrating the beloved show's 30th anniversary, bringing the actors back to the iconic living room set. The stars look back on the show's most hilarious moments and give fans an intimate look at what it was like filming the groundbreaking five seasons. 

The special will also feature musical performances and appearances from celebrity superfans like Snoop Dogg, Brian McKnight, Le'Andria Johnson, Reginald Ballard, Tracy Morgan, Tommy Davidson, Marla Gibbs and Sean Lampkin.

"It was really surreal, it was very nostalgic," Campbell said of gathering on the recreated set. "The first thing I looked at was the color of the cabinets because they got that right. And the refrigerator! So it was like... just really surreal."

Lawrence agreed with his former TV wife, adding that it's "amazing" to be back. "It just feels like we're about to go back to work again," he joked. 

The Bad Boys actor reflected on developing the show, noting that he wasn't trying to change the face of TV. He was just "trying to make the show a success."

"We were adding characters and doing everything we could to try to make it work. And I had such a hell of a cast, they could play off me," he recalled. "I always like to say that they were the actors. They were seasoned. If you noticed in my first year, I didn't feel like I was that good of an actor, but I had the comedy chops. And I thought what I brought with my comedy, I also helped them with their comedy, because it brought their stuff out."

Campbell interjects that Lawrence is "a little humble," likening him to Milton Berle, the first major American TV star known as "Mr. Television." 

"He played all these different characters that only he could do, and just watching him is almost poetic," she gushed. "You never know what you were going to get." 

Arnold added that the cast would look to the crew to see what jokes were landing. "If the cameramen would laugh, we would laugh," she said, with Campbell chiming in that "if [the crew] weren't, we had to fix it."

"I think there were moments in time after we did it that would help me understand the effect that we had on the culture. But while we were doing it, I don't think we really realized," Campbell said. "I remember the first time we heard people were [putting their hands in people's faces] in the streets. And me and Martin were like, 'Somebody's going to get their hand cut off. Why would they do that? This is just TV!'"

Fans have wondered if the cast would ever return for a reboot or revival of the series, but the foursome didn't have a solid answer. They explained that no return would ever be the same without their late co-star, Tommy Ford, who played Thomas "Tommy" Strawn throughout the series' run and died in October 2016.

"Martin will never be the same without Tommy," Arnold stated. Lawrence echoed the sentiment, noting, "What we had, it was like catching lightning in a bottle. And without Tommy, like you said, it wouldn't be the same."

If they were to reunite, the cast considered turning to animation rather than live-action. But even with that idea, the issue would be getting everyone on the same wavelength. As Campbell pointed out, "We got to get our schedules together because everybody's -- thank God -- still working."

But fans shouldn't feel too discouraged! Lawrence said he would "never say never."

"Just seeing [how] things live forever, I think we don't have to do it again," Arnold concluded. "It's living forever."

Martin: The Reunion premieres June 16 on BET+. The series is available to stream on BET+ and HBO Max.