'Fringe' bosses tease Peter's return, the merging of worlds, and upcoming cases!


Image Credit: Liane Hentscher/Fox

Fringe‘s fourth season is a reset. Yes, that term is often overused among TV bosses, but last year, the show literally made their main character disappear. I think it’s a warranted declaration in this case.

Today, executive producers J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner hopped on the phone for an extremely geek-tastic chat with reporters to explain how this new frontier of Fringe storytelling would affect the show and our beloved characters (in both worlds). Oh, and they talked a bit about that tiny question of Peter’s return. [Minor spoilers ahead.]

Having seen Joshua Jackson doing promotion this summer, there’s no need for a spoiler alert on news that Peter will be back. But how he returns is what the Fringe bosses seemed most excited about. “Just because he doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that those three years we’ve invested all didn’t happen. It did happen. And it will all unfold itself for you to understand what context I’m speaking,” says Wyman. Pinkner adds: “The show constantly tries to recontectualize your perception of this story…. The idea that Peter is gone — and, ultimately, he’s not permanently gone — is an opportunity to recontectualize the story and what we’ve seen again. It’s something we love to play with.”

And, as expected, his return will not be problem-free. Pinkner says the consequences of his return will “give us an engine for the greater part of the season.”

Another driving force this season will be the opportunity to see further parallels and differences in the two worlds via the characters. When the season returns, some episodes will feature cases in which both worlds must work together. The storytelling device, says Wyman, better enables them to tell the story of “how are these universes going to work together to heal their joint damage now that they have a means to do so … This offered us a good opportunity to … watch how the two Olivias are looking at problems very differently. It goes back to our major theme: Our experiences are who we are.”

Other teasy bits from the conversation:
+ Lincoln Lee’s story is very important this season. “He brings us a certain thematic element that we really needed to tell this year. A lot of the things his character will be going through will help us tell our story,” Wyman says. “One of the themes we’re really interested in getting into this year is the impact we have on each other’s lives. We’re defined by the connections we make, and who we know, and who knows us, and how we define other people.”
+ There will be returning faces this season, but per the show’s tradition, they’ll be back in “a completely different context.”
+ The opening titles this year are orange and stand for the universe without Peter. “It’s a different chapter,” Wyman says.
+ Liked “L.S.D.” and “Brown Betty”? Yup. There’s another one “that’s off the beaten track,” says Wyman.
+ Walternate is still up to no good. “Despite all promises to the contrary — he is still a bad guy, manipulating things behind the scenes. So that’s another story we’re going to be delving into,” Wyman explains.
+ Case teases — This is all we got: “time travel,” “out-of-control biology” and “humans who mess with the rules of nature.” Make of that what you will!

The new season of Fringe begins Friday!

Read more:
New digital comic: ‘Beyond the Fringe’
New ‘Fringe’ promo
‘Fringe': Exec producers Jeff Pinkner, J.H. Wyman answer fan questions about the finale — EXCLUSIVE

Comments (74 total) Add your comment
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  • Matt

    Orange universe? I just call it Eunuch Earth since it is a Peterless world.

    • bobbi

      good choice of words.

      • gregbrown

        who is this peter people keep talking about.

      • Lisa S

        Pathetic non-story.

    • I Found Peter

      In the Season 3 finale, Peter’s physicality or physical body, dematerialized into a potential well that was formed between the universes when he created the bridge between the Prime Universe and the Other Side and caused two new timelines to exist where he was never born or died of his childhood illness.

      A potential well is an area where all potential energy is absorbed and cannot be formed into kinetic energy. Every atom of a physical human body is constantly in kinetic vibration and therefore is constantly turning potential energy into kinetic energy. When a physical human body drops into a potential well, it physically ceases to exist while the consciousness continues to exist as a vibration of potential.

      Depending on the emotional intensity and focused intent of his thoughts, Peter’s consciousness can still reach beyond the well into both Universes so he can manifest to Walter, Olivia or Fauxlivia as a voice, a vision or apparition.

      • Rush


  • wsugar

    I like this show.

    • Matt

      I hope more people catch on, and catch up on seasons 2 and 3. I am so blown away by how great this show is.

    • wtf

      Like all shows by jj abhrams, it started out awesome, but sucks worse with every episode now

      • Terry

        I would say the opposite is true. Fringe has gotten better with each season and continues to come up with creative twists.

      • Terry

        I would say the opposite is true. Fringe has gotten better with each season and continues to come up with creative twists. Fringe started off great and continues to raise the bar.

      • Dicazi

        If you were looking for an X-Files clone, I can understand your disappointment with seasons 2 onwards, Fringe is soooo much more.

      • Jay

        @wtf: I have to agree with Terry…. the opposite of your statement is true.
        The show started out ok, but has gotten infinately better as it has gone on.

        Furthermore, it doesn’t feel like it has peaked yet, so this season should be fantastic!!

    • Lisa S

      wtf is right. Unfortunate but true.

    • David

      Wow, I wish I had as much free time as wtf and Lisa to sit around and watch episodes of tv shows I hate every week.

      • Tallulah

        I think they’ve watched the show in the opposite order. Anyone who thinks the first season was better than the third obviously has their brain around the wrong way.

    • Rush

      I predict this will be the last season. Not that I’m wishing for it, but the ratings have been so-so for the past three seasons and FOX hasn’t been hyping the show much. Fourth seasons are tricky. They’ll be lucky if they keep the numbers from last season.

      • Ian

        I hope it can stick around for a while, because it’s my favorite show. But, with the ratings going down, I don’t see it. Most major networks would have cancelled after how Season 3 performed. The best we can probably hope for is they’re given time to wrap it up.

  • kim in kentucky

    Come on Friday!!!! I’m as giddy as Walter excited at the thought of dissecting a new corpse or getting a large slushie!

  • Michael Sacal

    Since both shows air on Fox, I’d like to see the cast from Fringe make use of the sets from Terra Nova so they can tell the story of the First People. Typically these things never get shown because recreating dinosaurs and finding settings to tell those kind of stories are expensive to do, specially for a 45 minute episode, but since Terra Nova already took care of the heavy lifting, it be smart of the Fringe producers to take advantage of that.

    • Lisa S

      Good Lord. Spare us this nonsense.

    • amble63

      They shoot Fringe in Vancouver and Terra Nova in Australia so not gonna happen.

    • tvlover44

      uh, michael – did you watch the finale of season 3? because it was established there that… [SPOILER AHEAD for folks who haven’t watched it]

      …the ‘first people’ are people from our present, from our universe, as walter explains to peter. walter had those bits of the machine planted back in time…

      • Dicazi

        Maybe, Maybe not.

  • Felix

    They should make Fringe Cola. Original Blue, Alt-Universe Red, Futuristic Silver, and Peter-Free Orange (Now With 50 Percent Less Bishop Added)

    • Felix

      Alt-Universe Red is made with real cane sugar, but is caffeine-free due to shortages.

      • Kate

        Thank you for making me laugh. Sincerely.

  • Michael Sacal

    I don’t have a problem with Agent Lee, but it’s clear to me that he was merely created because the producers could not get Valley to reprise his role as John Scott to film an appearance as Alt Scott because he was busy with Human Target.

    I’d be more interested in seeing how Olivia reacts to meeting Alt Scott than anything to do with Agent Lee, to be honest.

    • Jared

      On one hand, with the cancellation of Human Target, Mark Valley is now available, so the producers may well decide to go in that direction. I agree, it would be interesting (though I consider Lincoln Lee to be a very interesting character in his own right).

      On the other hand, Olivia got her closure with John Scott long ago (back in Episode 13 of Season 1) and in that light, the producers might feel that his bringing him back would be anti-climatic. They’ve also distanced themselves quite a bit from the events of the first season, explaining most of the Pattern events as manifestations of the universe degrading. (Outside the world of the show, there’s also the complication that Mark Valley and Anna Torv used to be married. I have no idea what their relationship is like now, but if it’s less than ideal, then they probably won’t do anything that Anna isn’t comfortable with. She IS the star of the show).

      My guess is that if any Over There counterpart of a long-dead Season 1 characters reappears, it will be David Robert Jones (Come to think of it, Peter was responsible for Jones’ death over here, so we might even get the original Jones. Now that could be VERY interesting.

      • guest

        John Scotte only was alive and with Olivia in the pilot, the other scenes were from the grave so to speak, his function was to bring Olivia to the Fringe team, nothing else. He was never that important.
        Lincoln Lee now is used to introduce the viewer to the new setting, and may replace somewhat Charlie. The worst decision they made was breaking up the Olivia and Charlie partnership.
        Anna and Kirk had and have great chemistry, as Kirk himself said recently he loves working with Anna.
        It could have been the center relationship of Fringe.

    • Michael Sacal

      Valley moved on to Harry’s Law, so he may not be available anymore.

      Maybe they could name drop that he died in a car accident… no, wait, they already used that with Alt Bell, heh.

      • Jay

        You’re kidding right? Seth Gabel is such an awesome actor. I loved him as Lincoln Lee, and I’m glad he’s a series regular now. I’ve read reviews of the first two episodes, and it seems he’s a fantastic addition.

  • Kate

    I think there will be the interesting dicotomy between the Olivias and the two Lees, because Fauxolivia and that Lee are starting a relationship (now who knows if she would have been open to it but for her experiences with Peter and among the more family oriented Fringe division of our world than hers) and I am betting our Olivia kind of quickly starts thinking of our Lee as a little brother and when someone mentions them together like that, she can’t really explain why there is no attraction there, but she is very comfortable around him (just because I always kind of think Peter and Lee probably stayed in touch after the case they worked on together, but it was a friendship Peter kept separate from everyone). I also wonder, though, did Walter every go into St. Claire’s and if so, why, there was no guilt to drive him insane really, unless he has been wrong and stealing Peter wasn’t the bad thing, it was opening the window in the first place. And, who really would try and get him out?

    • Lisa S

      Listen Kate. Let’s be Frank here.
      You should NOT try to use words like dicotomy[sic] if you can’t even spell it. You destroy your own credibility right out of the gate and force us to question the validity of ANY of the content of your rambling comment.

      • Tallulah

        Hey, her comment made sense. It wasn’t the most insightful thing I’ve read in my life but it was good. Don’t be rude.

      • Deb

        Listen, Lisa S. Let’s be frank here. Or was that Frank? You want to be Frank or frank? Let’s face it, none of us are perfect. You, however, are rude.

  • Martha

    Does the fact that Leonard Nimoy stepped in as “The President of Television” for an Emmy skit suggest that…please…he’s coming back? Or that because he replaced Alec Baldwin, we might have a Jack Donaghy visit?

  • commentor

    I have a feeling this will be the last season, so I hope they can use this season to wrap it up. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see it move to Season 5 & 6, but Sci-Fi doesn’t last long on Network TV, with a few exceptions.

    • Calyx


      • Matt

        I understand Calyx’s sentiment, but commentor makes a good point; I just caught up on season 2 and 3 in the past month, and WOW! This is the best show on television; so creative, so inventive, and the acting is out of this freakin’ world. I plan on joining a Fringe forum, and keeping a close eye on the ratings, cause if they dip I want to make sure that us geeks come up with a fan campaign to save the show. This show is too damn good to let slip now.

      • Lisa S



  • Amy

    I can’t wait! I am already impatient for Peter’s return, but assume it won’t be right away. I am excited to see the two worlds working together.

  • RCB

    Can’t wait to watch the season premiere. Sure it will be epic!

  • Sharon

    Orange? They probably wanted to do Purple/fuschia/magenta but they knew we had already guessed that so they had to go with something else.

  • guest

    I am interesting in the two Olivia’s and how they look at things differently as a result of their childhood. I hope that will be a running theme. And that the writers do not forget that Olivia is the hero, the chosen one, the gatekeeper, that is a part they cannot throw away.
    So another two versions of Olivia for the amazing Anna Torv.

  • Sarah

    I trust these guys and am positive, I will just deflect all negativity towards this show and enjoy it. I’m more excited for this season than I ever have been, I trust these writers, I never doubted they’d just change everything on us. I can’t believe people think that. Clearly what’s going on is temporary and the fact that I can’t even quite explain how Peter comes back just shows how brilliant they are at storytelling. When I can’t even formulate a theory because everything they do is so genius, that’s when you know you’re onto something special.

    • Lisa S

      The only thing “special” here, Sarah, is you. Enjoy the short bus.

      • Ohsnapz

        Dang Lisa S,

        You’re a


  • Nick

    Simply… so excited! Best show on T.V. Can’t wait to see what they do this season. Here’s hoping they get to do many, many more!

    • oh, now i see…

      …after reading this whole page of comments that lisa s. is a troll and a b*tch to boot…

      • Tallulah

        I know right. Someone could’ve told me not to feed the troll…lol

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