I had the wonderful opportunity to interview the Executive Producers (Jeff Pinkner & J.H. Wyman), of one of the greatest shows on television right now, FRINGE. Members of the press got a chance to pick the brains of these two amazing producers and find out, what hopes to be answers for what’s to come for Season 4. Many questions were asked, below are some of the most really interesting ones:
A chunk of last season had Joshua in alternating episodes and now with the finale, viewers were somewhat told that Peter has ceased to exist. Any reassurance to his fans that they will be getting sufficient amounts of Joshua Jackson this season.
Peter is part of the DNA of the show and we’ve done some pretty crazy things in the past that people were always like, “Well, wait a minute. Why are they doing that? What’s going on?” I mean hopefully in Season 4 people will trust us enough to realize that we are doing things for a reason. To sort of have Fringe without Peter in some way, shape or form is really not Fringe.
So, while we can’t really comment—for those of you who haven’t seen the opening or what’s going on, he’s part of the show. He’s part of the language of our show and a very big part of it. So, there are kind of two things that we want to get across without really ruining anything and that is, number one, yes, Peter is part of the DNA and he’ll always be that. Number two is that just because he doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that the three years that we’ve all invested in and watched does not exist; it didn’t happen. It really did happen and it’ll unfold itself for you to understand in what context I’m speaking of.
But, yes, people shouldn’t worry. We love Peter and we know how much everybody loves Peter. We both can’t imagine telling the series and the story without him.
[In addition,] fans around the world stunningly put together on their own this video piece Where is Peter Bishop?, literally making signs and taking photographs of images around the world sort of like in the “Where is Peter Bishop” campaign. It’s amazing. It’s amazing and a tribute to an entire cast and crew. The whole thing plays as sort of a love letter to the show.
What we would say is the show constantly tries to recontextualize your perception of the story. We introduced Walter Bishop in Season 1 and by the time you get to Season 2 you realize that in many ways he’s the chief architect. Our most sympathetic character is the chief architect of all the trouble in two universes. There’s a version of the narrative where he’s the biggest villain of the entire piece.
So, the idea that Peter is gone, and ultimately he’s not permanently gone, we’ve made it very clear, is an opportunity to sort of recontextualize the story of everything we’ve seen again, which is something that we love to play with.
Any returning faces that we can expect during the first half of this season?
Yes, there will be returning faces. We hate to spoil things, but there will be characters that you’ll be delighted to see again hopefully and some that you’ll be surprised to see again, and some you may have seen before that come back in a completely different context.
What can you tell us about how often we’re going to see both universes working together and what it was like planning out those stories that incorporate both worlds?
We will definitely be telling stories. Unlike last year where we were bouncing back and forth, this year there will definitely be stories where the two universes have to work together. Certainly there’s an implication that Walternate, despite to all promises to the contrary, is still a bad guy manipulating things behind the scenes. So, that’s also a story that we’re going to be delving in.
As far as what it’s like to plan out the episodes, certainly there’s some logistical complications because our actors are playing two roles. So, from a production standpoint, the episodes are very complicated, but we love that stuff. Those are the challenges that as hard as they are our crew in Vancouver is just outstanding and with every episode, we get better and more seamless at being able to really have actors interact with themselves. The good news is that Anna Torv and Seth Gabel are finally ready to admit that they’re both one half of a pair of identical twins. So, now we have their alter egos acting. It’s made it much easier for us.
“LSD” was one of my favorite episodes of the entire series. Are we going to see something else sort of special in the first part of the season?
We always try and do every season, one [episode] that’s outside the box like “Brown Betty.” And so, this year you’re going to see one that definitely is a little off the beaten track as well. The truth is, we like to make it hard on ourselves and to challenge ourselves. During that episode, we literally had little Barbie dolls and little toy cars and we were taking photographs with digital cameras to sort of set the animated … storyboards.
Having Peter disappear was completely brilliant. What was more challenging – coming up with the ways to make him disappear or coming up with a way to bring him back?
They both had their challenges. I think that figuring out the way to make him disappear was pretty simple. It’s sort of like, “Oh, now he’s gone.” Coming up with the context of his return has been super fun and hopefully the pay off will be really rewarding. We think it is.
Yes, also as they roll out, you’ll understand a little bit more about the reasons why and how we did what we did. So, it will become clear. The future of our storytelling sort of dictated how Peter was going to disappear and then come back. So, it’ll put more in context for you as you see more.
What are some of the cases the Fringe teams are going to tackle this season and what are some of the challenges you had in putting those together, those episodes and those stories?
At the risk of spoiling things, as always, we have a slew of really crazy, hopefully thought provoking, far out cases that deal with time travel and out of control biology and humans who either, for very understandable and sometimes not so understandable reasons, are messing with the rules of nature and the rules of physics.
The Fringe recap videos, the series of 12 videos recapping Fringe up through Season 3, teeing up Season 4 are available on the FOX Broadcasting YouTube channel and the viral user generated video titled Where is Peter Bishop is also on YouTube.
FRINGE Season Four premiere episode “Neither Here Nor There” airs Friday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.