'Fringe' secrets revealed: 'September's Notebook' authors discuss making the ultimate companion book


Image Credit: Fox

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On how September’s Notebook got into the show itself…
It might be one of the greatest moments of our professional lives. The crazy thing is this: They accepted the idea of doing the book in November of 2011, during season 4, but they didn’t know they were going to get season 5, which ended up being so September-centric. Joel had this big meeting with Fox and pitched [season 5] as the continuation of “Letters of Transit” [the late season 4 episode which took the series into the year 2036 and revealed that the world was ruled by malevolent Observers from the much more distant future]. After Fox picked up the show with that premise, Joel said to us, “We’re going to make this book part of the show.” Now, when you hear something like that, you listen and you smile and you say, “You’re sweet.” I go out in August, and I am in the offices getting Joel to answer some questions about some minutia that we needed, and Noreen goes, “It’s gonna be in the show.” And then Joel basically told me the story of how that was going to happen, and how that would ultimately tie into the end of the show [with the envelope and the white tulip]. I called Paul afterwards and we both lost our minds a little bit.
TERRY: When that episode aired [“The Boy Must Live”] in the United States, Tara was so kind as to set up her iPhone on like a tripod aimed at the television, and I Skyped in from London so I could watch it with her. We cheered and hollered when we saw the book in the show. By this time, the fans knew about the book. So it was so lovely to see online forums and Twitter erupt with people saying: “Wait, that’s the notebook that I ordered. What the hell’s going on?”

On the white tulip…
We had originally put the white tulip in a different place in the book, in the section where it pertained to the episode entitled “White Tulip.” We were also originally going to include the white tulip in the envelope. But after we talked to Joel and learned about the ending of the show, we decided it would be a better idea to leave it out. Because as a fan, when you open the book, and you find that empty space at the end — well, we were like, that’s actually kind of beautiful, that actually works even better and really ties into the canon of the show. We discussed it further, and the idea emerged of Joel tweeting out the white tulip. It’s the exact dimensions of the envelope in the book, and so you can print it out on whatever kind of card stock that you want, but it’s going to slip right back in the envelope, so you can have it. Paul and I are, like, big gushy ridiculous sobbing babies, so when we heard that idea, we were like, “That’s the greatest thing ever.”

On the challenge of finishing the book while the show’s writers were still writing the last season…
: We changed a lot of that last section of the book. We were constantly chasing the changes in the writers’ room on a daily basis. At one point in the book, we were putting together the section on all the tapes that Walter produced for the scavenger hunt. We had numbered all the tapes, and they came back to us and said, “Take off all the tape numbers! The tapes aren’t going to be numbered, and they’re going to be found out of sequence!” So we had to think of a new way to lay that out that section, and in a way that didn’t impact the credibility of the book.

On stuff they wish was in the book but isn’t…
If you didn’t see it in the show — and this has always been a Bad Robot mandate — if you didn’t see it in the show and they didn’t explain it as a DVD featurette or as a deleted scene or some official piece of storytelling, then it kind of didn’t exist. Personally, I would have liked to have included material on the period of the story between the end of season 4 and the beginning of season 5, and specifically, that period of time in Peter and Olivia’s life with their daughter Etta before The Observers invaded.
TERRY: The Observers such an amazing characters, and we know they’ve seen a lot of history and witness many important moments. It would be fun to find out or get a hint about how far they went back. Like, did those hat/suit wearers go all the way back in time to 5 BC? What about Neanderthal times? Instead of being hairless, they’d have loads of hair and massive beards. That’s how they’d blend in. That would have been fun to see: The Prehistoric Observer Era.

Twitter: @EWDocJensen

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