'Fringe': Exec producers Jeff Pinkner, J.H. Wyman answer fan questions about the finale -- EXCLUSIVE

One week after Fringe’s time-traveling, parallel world-bridging, and thoroughly brain melting season 3 finale, fans of the Fox sci-fi series are still steaming with burning questions. Did Peter (Joshua Jackson) erase himself from history? Who took the doomsday machine back into the paleolithic past? And whatever happened to the Blimp Guy that Olivia (Anna Torv) predicted would one day kill her? We culled our message boards for the most frequently-posed inquiries and then presented them to Fringe masterminds Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman. They were kind enough to respond, even if they acknowledged that for now, there’s little they can actually say. After all: There is going to be fourth season. 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The finale was filled with glimpses of the Fringe future – or possible Fringe future — from a mysterious, maybe tragic event in Detroit to whatever happened Broyles’ eye. How invested should we be in that version of 2026? Should we be keeping these bits in mind moving forward, or were they just fun ways to flesh out the episode’s possible future?

J.H. WYMAN: It’s both. We loved the idea of going into the future and back again, because it allowed us to inform the present of the show with some thematic elements. So if we feel that we need an element of that future to enhance the drama in the present, we’re going to tell that story. Going forward, that glimpse of the future will be part of the tapestry of Fringe, but don’t expect to [go] there a lot. But what we know now — and this is the important part — is that our world is going to break down. That’s what’s waiting for us. I think the fans should be like: “That’s not a future we should be interested in getting to.”

JEFF PINKNER: To further that, one of the things we love to play with is the notion of choice versus fate/synchronicity. Clearly, what Peter did at the end of that episode is that he fundamentally changed the future. Our team is [now] on a separate path. It is unlikely that we’ll get to that specific outcome in 2026. But are events like what happened in Detroit inevitable in any version of the future? TBD.

WYMAN: And we do want people to invest in those questions. We know what happened in Detroit. We know how Broyles lost his eye.

At the end of the finale, we were left to believe that Peter’s consciousness came back to the 2011 present and that he made a different choice than the one that led to the 2026 future. It also appeared that his new choice affected all of history — past, present, and future. He may have even eradicated himself from existence. Can you shed any light on how we should be thinking about the ramifications of all this? Should we be debating tricky concepts like Grandfather Paradox and how they may be relevant to the story?

PINKNER: Absolutely. The most telling part — the most meaningful part — as it relates to Peter is when Walter in the future looked at him and said: “Bringing your consciousness forward in time will have consequences.” And there was a very meaningful, pregnant look between Walter and Peter. Much of the season was about Walter getting comfortable with the notion that he may really have to sacrifice Peter to undo all the damage he has done to the universe. He wasn’t ultimately faced with that choice until 2026. That’s what that choice was supposed to represent.

EW: Is William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) gone for good?

PINKNER: TBD for sure.

WYMAN: For sure.

In the episode Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, our heroes saw a mysterious, menacing man aboard a blimp. Later, Olivia declared that this man would one day kill her. Are we ever going to return to Blimp Guy and that idea?

PINKNER: It’s definitely still in play. Without being too spoilery, there are things you think you have time to explore in any given season, but don’t. But yes, we are very interested in that moment and the implications of that.

WYMAN: A lot of people are wondering: “How did she know he will kill her?” We have an answer for that.

EW: What was the significance of Future Olivia’s fiery water burial?

PINKNER: The idea there was that based on deteriorating conditions of the world at that time, bodies are buried at sea or burned.

The opening credit sequence included a new black and silver color scheme and several new words, like “HOPE” “WATER” and “BIOSUSPENSION.” How were those words pertinent to the season finale?

WYMAN: They weren’t so much pertinent to the finale but for the introduction of the future of the show. In the past, we used words in the credit sequence as signposts for the episode. But this is a new paradigm.

My theory is that those words were clues meant to suggest that next year, Peter will be found in cryogenic suspended animation at the bottom of Reiden Lake near his childhood home.

PINKNER: We can neither confirm nor deny your theories!

Have we seen the last of Sam Weiss?

PINKNER: We’ll see.

Have we seen the last of Moreau, the future terrorist introduced in the finale, played by Brad Dourif?

WYMAN: Brad is such a fantastic actor. We are keeping our options open

Who took the “doomsday machine” back in time?

PINKNER: Either Walter mechanically put the machine through the wormhole or some human being traveled through the wormhole and took it back. Whether or not we’ll follow up on that, we’ll see. Hopefully the notion that came across was that “The First People” included at least Walter, and that he created the machine and sent it through time.

My theory is that a whole army of Peter clones accompanied the machine back through time. That was the significance of Future Peter telling Future Olivia that he was confident they would one day produce a bunch of little Bishops.

PINKNER AND WYMAN: [Laughter.]

One reader writes: “Dear Mr. Pinkner and Mr. Wyman, Please, please, please tell me that Lincoln and Charlie will remain part of the show next season!!”

WYMAN: We love them, too.

Is this the end of the Peter/Olivia romance? Or is that still in play?

PINKNER: Well, at the moment, Peter’s not even in play, so that curtails a relationship. And at the moment there are two Olivias, so it would be interesting to have a love triangle with just two Olivias. It seems a large portion of our fanbase was initially resistant to the idea of a relationship but got on board. We’re still very much interested in exploring it. Hopefully this is a long and unfolding story. We don’t want to shut down any avenues, be it Bell or Lincoln and Charlie or Peter/Olivia.

WYMAN: We think people are invested in the relationship, and we are, too.

PINKNER: We have said from the beginning that Fringe is a family drama masquerading as a science fiction/investigation show. But it’s called Fringe because it’s about three characters that live on the fringe of life and society and have a hard time dealing with their own emotions, but who find each other and find connection with each other. We will remain true to that.

Finally, I have a friend who thinks that season 4 is going to be an elaborate riff on The Dark Tower books by Stephen King. Specifically, does The Waste Lands hold any clues as to how you intend to deal with Peter’s fate, and if so… hello? Are you still there? Well, damn. I guess we ran out of time. Looks like we’ll just have to wait until next season to get that question answered.

Fun and games aside, it’s been a blast bringing you Fringe scoop and the occasional freaky theory this season. Hope to do it again in the fall. Stay freaky, peeps. See you on the fringe… or here: @EWDocJensen

Comments (66 total) Add your comment
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  • Tim @rural_juror

    Hahah, I love how your LOST OCD has manifested or transferred itself over to FRINGE now. Great interview!

    • Gene the Cow

      MOOOOO!!! That was a good interview, but the most important question was not asked, did Gene become a hamburger? If so, was it tasty?

    • Jenn

      I want “Totally Fringe” videos every week! Dan & Jeff – get on it!

    • Grumpster

      I think Jensen forgot all about that Part 3 LOST Analysis he kept promising. How ’bout giving up that part on the anniversary of the finale?

  • TQB

    I so want more Sam Weiss – but I guess he’s, ahem, “served his purpose” as well…

    • Toveran

      Kevin Corrigan , who plays Sam Weiss, said the chance was 50/50, since the ending was on the bridge at Liberty Island between the two universes with Sam watching from across the water, he probably will be back.

    • Grumpster

      The Island isn’t done with him yet.

  • Pamela

    Love it! Great interview.

  • Sam

    Seriously, does anyone around EW.com spellcheck their work? I found at least 3 errors in this article alone. I’m constantly finding grammatical mistakes in the articles. Geez! Just cause it’s on the web doesn’t mean you don’t have to make sure it’s free of error. What a joke.

    • Lee

      Really…. That’s all you have? Get over your self or apply for a job with them.

      • Jeff Jensen

        FAIR CRITICISM. In my haste to post, I did not do proper spellcheck. Apologies.

      • Grumpster

        You aren’t hasty to post your LOST PART 3 RECAP. Where is it Jeff?

  • G

    Nice. Maybe you can pick up on your questions when Anna Torv, John Noble and other cast TBA appear at The Paley in NYC on May 17. That is if you’re a member and already have tickets!

    Happy happy that the show will return for at least another season. FOX surprised me with that but I’ll take it.

    • Toveran

      They are also in LA; shame no livestream apparently. I would love to watch and hear their view on season 3.
      So much hope Anna Torv and John Noble will get the Emmy nomination.

      Maybe Doc can explain the process, I have done some research, and if some of it is true, the voters just vote their favourites even if they have not done much, and is it a who knows who affair.I should hope not.

  • RCB

    Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Fringe – My top 3 shows!

  • samara

    Laughing my head off the way Pinkner & Wyman did at Jeff’s idiotic “army of Peter clones” speculation. Cause it’s, like, a really dumb theory.

    • Pippa

      It’s not Jeff’s question. He clearly explains these are questions/ theories submitted by the readers. This one was obviously a joke.

  • Solange

    Sad that William Bell won’t be back. I hope they keep the Peter-Olivia romance in the 4th season. Great Inverview!

    • Betty

      Never say never !

      • J. Bieber

        You owe me $15.

      • Betty

        Biebs, you are really getting too big for your britches. Just ask Marg Helgenberger.

    • Dicazi

      Doesn’t TBD mean To Be Detrimined?

      • Betty

        Bingo !

  • Sam J

    Peter and Fauxlivia’s child would cease to exist per the Grandfather Paradox if Peter expelled himself from existence. The 2 Walters and Olivias will have no reason to dislike eachother if there never was a Peter to fight over. this was the Plan all along. Now they can work together to fix the universe(s).

    • samara

      Except there’s no drama in that.

      William Bell and Walter had already discovered the alternate universe and were already thinking about going over there. Walter only jumped the gun and went over when he sought to save Peter. But if Peter had not existed, William and Walter probably would have went over there anyway, perhaps causing the havoc between the worlds anyhow.

      However it happened, PETER MUST RETURN! Fans demand it…

      • Toveran

        Only the Peter fans want him back I think.

        Without Peter there will be far more drama, as I racall the end of the final has two Walters and two Olivias. The Walters were hostile and Our Olivia seem to be the peacemaker with support of Fauxlivia.
        Plenty of drama to come from that, with the X-man added and outside the bridge the two worlds crumbling.
        Without Peter the storyline for once will not be about him.

      • Sam J

        @ samara
        I think a large part of the universal breakdown was do to the fact that Walter removed a part(Peter) of the Altverse. This would not have happened if Peter didn’t exist. universe jumping alone may not have caused the breakdown, or least as fast/intense.

      • prbabe

        Oh shut up toveran, you wouldn’t like it if your stupid Anna torv/Olivia was the one who didn’t exist.

      • Toveran

        Dear PR babe, I do not bash, just point to what has been said by mr jackson the past year, over and over again.

        You on the other hand do abuse and bash especially Anna Torv and also John Noble constantly without any reason at all.

      • samara

        Please Toveran, get serious. Nobody would want to watch Fringe without Walter, or without Olivia either, and nobody wants to watch it without Peter. These are our three main characters.

      • Dicazi

        I’m a fan of ALL the characters. I want Peter back!

  • Meeghan

    I love Fringe but I won’t watch more than 2 episodes without Peter in it, so I hope they don’t drag that out next season. Joshua Jackson is the reason I started and continued watching.

    • Grumpster

      I may actually watch more. I can’t stand Peter.

  • andrew

    Can you bring back Philip Winchester please? Frank was a good, solid character, Id like to see that role developed more in the blue world.

    • Toveran

      Agree, Frank on this side as possible lover of Olivia and Lincoln Lee as her FBI partner.
      Philip Winchester has already said that he loved working with Anna Torv, and would love to be back.
      And no more complaining about the Peter/Olivia storyline.
      Not sure what to think of the triangle with only Olivia and Fauxlivia.

      • prbabe

        Go to hell! I am so sick of your Peter/josh bashing!

      • RL

        Since they canceled Human Target, Mark Valley is free to come back as Alt-John Scott. I could go for that.

      • annon

        Ah, you gave yourself away.

        Love it actually if they increased Astrid’s screentime and maybe brought in a fresh female agent actually. That would be great. We need female bonding and a new agent would be great for that, plus it would shake it up abit.

      • andrew

        DID HE? Any link to that interview?

  • You Stole My Memories

    I would watch a show that was a dull black screen or simply static photos of Walter Bishop and William Bell as long as the dialogue between John Noble and Leonard Nimoy was as textured and riveting as it was in the finale of season two—a pluperfect marriage of fine scripts and sublime actors.

  • Mincha

    My head’s throbbing a bit right now, but thank you for posting this!

  • Dixie

    I love a show that can tease us all week with promos and sneak peaks, yet surprise and amaze us on Friday night, not only wiht a good ‘story of the week’ but with a continuing mythology that never forgets where it came from. I’m SO glad that Fringe will be back for a 4th season, and I’m looking forward to Josh Jackson’s return as well (Mr Pinkner, Mr. Wyman, I’m looking at you!). Long live Fringe!

  • InTheDale

    I have jumped on the Fringe bandwagon – but I still miss LOST.

    • lifeafterlost

      join the club bro
      I watch fringe sometimes but everytime I think about lost.
      I tried the event but it’s just not my type
      I mean I remember all the doc jenson recaps the Jimmy kimmel obsessions and all the anxiety waiting for the next episode or the next season…
      so now all I do is watch Dexter I know it’s not like lost at all but it’s kept my mind off of it for a while.
      this is life man life after lost: there’s like no point to live anymore haha that’s a bit drastic but u know u agree

    • Grumpster

      Yep…me too. I wonder if Jeff is not posting his final recap of lost he promissed all those months ago, because if he does, it really means it’s over…and the Island is done with him and he’ll blow up or something.

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