Fringe's Bosses Discuss the Two-Part Finale and Season 5

Fringe creators Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman set aside some time to talk to our universe today in a conference call with reporters that was both informative and absurdly gracious. Naturally, they talked about the oh-so-exciting renewal for a final 13-episode season and gave us details about the upcoming two-part finale, which begins this Friday. Let's hit the bullet points!

– There were rumors of two different endings to Season 4, shot in case Fringe wasn't renewed for Season 5. Well, that was apparently completely bogus. They thought about shooting alternate endings, but they didn't film anything other than the ending we'll see.

– Will we see the Red Universe again? THEY CAN'T SAY YET! They're very protective of their story. The bridge can open again, or it couldn't. We'll have to wait and see. But if you ask me, if you think it won't ever be seen again, you're bonkers!

– What about the future scenario of 2036, as seen in "Letters of Transit," will we see that again? "Yes I think it's safe to say we will," said Wyman. And that totally blew my mind, because I thought it was just a "What if?" scenario. They did not specify whether we would see the future in the finale or in Season 5, but my guess is Season 5. Either way, understanding the events that led to what we saw in 2036 will be instrumental to understanding the series.

– In "Letters of Transit" (S04E19), we saw William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) stuck in amber. We've also heard Walter exclaim, "He's alive!" in promos, leading some fans to believe he was talking about Bell. Does that mean William Bell is coming back? "We basically erected a sign outside of Leonard's house saying please come back to Fringe and we're hoping that by Season 5 he says yes," said Pinkner. But that doesn't mean Bell will definitely be back, or that they're writing themselves into a corner. Neither Pinkner nor Wyman would go into detail, but they said their reason for not being dependent on Nimoy's participation would become clear. Could they extract his consciousness again?

– It's sounding like Sam Weiss won't return to the series. He served his purpose in Season 3.

– Both gents were were pretty cagey about whether or not David Robert Jones is at the top of the bad guy food chain, or whether there's someone else operating above him.

– As for the 13-episode fifth and final season, that's a good amount of time for them to tell the story they want to tell, they're very content with that time frame.

– Both Pinkner and Wyman found out about the renewal just four hours before Fox announced it, and both of them had a hard time keeping the secret to themselves. Wyman was getting his guitar fixed and Pinkner was dropping his kids off at school. They had no idea they were getting the renewal and were in the dark along with the fans. As for that Season 5 teaser that was released along with the news? That was made before they even knew they'd be renewed. As Pinkner said, "You buy an engagement ring hoping she says 'yes.' So the trailer was made in hopes there was a renewal."


Is anyone else really excited for this two-part finale? Like, duh. Of course you are!


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Just seen this article. Worth reading even after the finale. I wonder is season 5 IS all about changing the future we saw...... That sounds like quite a ride!
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Bring it!!!
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SO. PUMPED. God part 2 cannot come fast enough!!
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The renewal is like a double edge sword, it's awesome news, but also so sad it's only got 13 more episodes ever :(
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Yes, I am always excited to see what kind of corner the Fringe universe(s) get(s) backed into each season and how the get out of it or work with it in the next season. 'Twill be VERY sad when it's no longer around.
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i was thinking about 2036. i don't think it's the future of the timeline we have been seeing and is simply a possible future. there were major continuity problems. "henry" being born one year later and the same year the show was taking place in and olivia isn't pregnant and being a girl, william bell being alive even though walter himself said AFTER the new timeline that bell was dead, the observers weren't acting even remotely like themselves, yes maybe they have been faking all this time but even when they were meeting in secret they still acted all calm and emotionless. NOTHING like the nazi like observers in 2036.



i wouldn't mind seeing more of 2026 from the last season finale but that doesn't seem the path they are taking since that was still the war between the red and blue universe and 2036 seems more like the path they are taking which is what the observers are really about and what they want..
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"You buy an engagement ring hoping she says 'yes.' So the trailer was made in hopes there was a renewal."

What a beautiful thing to say. You guys are awesome!! Thanks for giving this world a TV show like FRINGE <3
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As far as I'm concerned, they could spend the entire 5th season in 2036 and build up the "what had happened" through flashbacks. But I doubt it'll be that simple.

I expect a few more mind-blowing moments and hope that they go out on a high note (unless the ratings suddenly become ridiculously high and Fox will beg them to go on - which probably won't happen in our universe, I'm afraid).
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Hallelujah! 5 is not enough but it's better than not getting a proper closing. BRING ON THE OBSERVERS!!

I love Fringe, can't say that enough. John Noble better get an emmy this year....
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@Grifcanon - yeah they must pay the Fring division a helluva big wage - he has been on honeymoon with the bug lady for like a YEAR now!



I'm wondering if Pinker & Wyman are totally going to mindf**k us all and have DRJ turn out to be a hero that has really been fighting against / preparing for the Observer invasion this whole time! And the Fringe division will find out after they stop him that they have doomed us all.
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But for someone who is trying to save the world he surely is shady and hostile towards everyone. If he is a hero his methods are beyond stupidity.

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I was thinking the same thing!
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i think 2036 is how the story suppossed to be from the very beggining, before Semptember interrumped on walternatives work...
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I like this idea. But then theyd have to explain why and then unless they remembered...why did we watch seasons 1-3 or 4 for that matter. I dont think 13 episodes in enough for them to concentrate on the Original Timeline where September didnt interrup Walternate, unless thats how Letters of Transit comes to be...



Ohhh the Impossibilities....
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Whatever happened to the First Men/People plotline? Will that ever come around again?
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Maybe I misunderstood Tim's point, but the bridge is not necessary to show the red universe. We saw it plenty of times before the bridge was built. In fact it would be even more interesting to visit it now and see the reaction of the population about the fact that their world is no longer healing.



I was also sure the 2036 was one of the many possible future (like the one Peter saw in "The day we died" ) The observerers has of course seen all possible futures, and I never thought one was more important than the other or as September said " I don't know which one will come to pass"



However a simple war against the observers doesn't seem very interesting and would create a simple good guy- bad guy story, that seems to simplistic for Fringe. Let's hope for the best.
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yeah. shouldn't Olivia be able to pass cross back and forth if they put her in an isolation tank?

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As Walter said in LOT, "they werent all bad...one even tried to help us. They called him September...and what happened to him was...unfortunate"



I dont think the war with the observers will be simple at all. Lets hope not:)
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Any idea if they'll bring back Charlie Francis? I need me some Kirk Acevedo.
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I really think 5 seasons is excellent for them to tell their story and end it the best way that we fans expect! Because if a series lasts longer than that I think at some point it loses it's magic.. (i.e greys anatomy, house, how i met your mother) even though they're still great, but not like before. Even though fringe should last forever haha but you get my point.
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Then of course there would SO much material they could use to make a series of movies, hopefully better than The X Files ones. Don't get me wrong I love The X Files but the last movie was a travesty
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Call me bonkers if you will, but I honestly think that the most we could see of the alternate universe after this past episode is a kind of epilogue towards the end of the series, and even that's doubtful. It just seems like all the major storylines involving them have been resolved, and unless the writers have something up their sleeves (which I admit is possible), I don't see how they fit in with the story anymore. Anyway, I am getting so excited about the future of the show, seeing how the David Robert Jones story plays out and leads into the Observers story, and actually getting to see more of the 2036 story they set up in "Letters of Transit," thanks to Fox renewing the show. I think that the only way I'd be able to over-state my happiness over the renewal would be if I said I was even more happy about it than FringeFanatic. :P
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Haha! The only way that wouldn't be an overstatement is if you too got so mind-shatteringly drunk from celebrating the renewal news, there was a point in your unparalleled inebriation when you thought you had traveled to the Red universe, and upon waking in the morning, were seriously depressed when you discovered that it never actually happened.
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If "Fringe" has taught us anything, it has taught us that there is no such thing as "unparallelled inebriation". In some other universe, someone has inebriated more.... Oh, quantum physics, how we love thee.
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Tell that to my hangover.
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Awesome. All kinds of awesome.
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Placing bets now that this season will somehow end with the gang being trapped in amber. Then season five will focus on extending that 2036 storyline we've already seen.



Think about it: if Fringe HADN'T been renewed for a fifth season, the ending of the series would have technically been Peter reuniting with his daughter, which is pretty satisfying, all things considered.
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Agreed. Obviously they might need to tell what happens between now and 2015 but they might flash/fastforward it, skip it and use flashbacks or settle it with 1-2 episodes or within the last 20 minutes of the season via a timejump to 2015.

Every season of Fringe starts with some new place (universe/timeline) so it would be just consequential that Season 5 takes place in the future we saw in Letters of Transit.
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Actually the episode said the invasion and defeat of the original Fringe team doesn't happen until 2015. Of course depending on how the two part finale plays out. I think if anything these last two episodes will deal solely with stopping Jones once and for all, then when that is all said and done they could either at the end of the finale or beginning of S5 a 3 year time jump to 2015 cuz we need at least an episode or 2 showing the invasion, the birth of Henrietta, how William Bell is alive and what exactly did Walter mean to Astrid when after refusing to release Bell "Not after what he did to Olivia, Walter coming up with that small device that we were only hinted that could defeat the observers, and of course how they end up in the amber
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Could this season 5 end our current time line and present, and then netflix pick it for a spin-off starting in 2036?? i'm just thinking out loud!
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Glad there is a final season. If it's true I will miss Sam Weiss. He was a great and interesting character, but I understand if he isn't in season 5. I also hope William Bell does return. Can't wait to see what is in store for season 5.
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Really? I thought FOX released that Final Season Trailer to go along with the renewal announcement, but in actuality they released it to say "This is why we bothered to make negotiations. WHO WOULDN"T WANNA SEE THIS"?



I will have a future respect for FOX..if they come out with any new Sci-Fi series I'll be sure to give them a try. But Fringe is also a gem that only comes around every so often, and as the ratings *may* indicate, is missed by a lot of people while it's actually on air. I could see Fringe airing on FX in syndication. I think it could do well for them.



I'll also have to learn to not compare Fringe to any new sci-fi shows, because even the "average" episode of Fringe has not been met in quality by anything else I've watched in the past 4 seasons.
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For a long time, people have made comparisons between Fringe and Lost, with some good and some bad reasons. When Lost was at this point in its run (about 80%, for simplicity's sake), I had only a slight level of confidence that I would be satisfied, that the story would make sense, and that the characters would stay interesting. In the end, none of those came true.



With Fringe, on the other hand, I am 100% confident this will end in a satisfying manner. These writers have consistently done what Lost did not, and that is tell a well-rounded story. They have an end-game in mind that makes sense and doesn't rest on platitudes like "It's all there if you really think about it," and then the person saying that doesn't really think about it (at least not in a way in which they share those thoughts). This series has taken humongous risks, easily the biggest of any series in the last couple of years, and those risks, for me at least, have 100% paid off. I was devastated at the end of last week's episode (I won't spoil it, but people will know why), more so than I was with any single death in the last few years of Lost, because these writers know what they're doing.



So huge cheers and thumbs up to Fringe. You deserve a 22-episode season, and heck, you deserve 800 more episodes because I know you have that much creative ability. But I'll take my 13 episodes and savor them, as I know every single other Fringe fan will!
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Lost was a great show, and it's not all about "storytelling" you know.
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Well, to me, it is, because when I say "storytelling," I'm wrapping up compelling characters, well-thought out and well-executed plot, and rich, deep themes into one. A good storyteller manages to make all three happen without grossly damaging the others. In my eyes--and anyone is free to disagree--Lost was able to do this in its brilliant first season, a little less so in seasons two and three, but became completely unbalanced and off-kilter in seasons 4-6. Fringe, however, has spent four solid years doing all three together.
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Congrats to Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman!



You guys are responsible for one of the greatest shows I have had the privilege to watch, and I'm overjoyed you will be able to see your vision of Fringe to its fruition.



Has reality set in for everybody? I might be the only one, but at first the renewal news seemed too good to be true. Like an amazing dream I was afraid I would wake up from at any moment. But seeing that season 5 teaser and reading this article has made a 5th season tangible. It's actually happening! A 13 episode epic ride to close out my favorite show on TV. And I don't think a shortened season will be a bad thing. There will be hardly any procedural filler (although Fringe does procedural elements better than anybody), and I predict the final season will have a very serialized feel to it.



Friday can't come soon enough!



Question for my fellow fanatics in Fringe:



Initially we all thought the 2036 future timeline was, like Tim wrote, just a "what if" scenario. We thought it was only a possible future, and not "the" future. But what if its not. What if the 2036 Orwellian future we saw is "the" future of the season 4 timeline. At first I didn't think so because of William Bell being stuck in amber, but now factoring in the revelation that he might still be alive, I'm not so sure anymore.



What do you guys think?
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There are 4 possibilities for the "Observian" future:

1) It is the future of the S4-timeline.

2) The S4-timeline will be altered again and result in that future.

3) Both universes merge and what we saw is its future.

4) It's a random timeline and universe that may or may not be loosely connected to any of the universes/timelines we know.



I think 4) is the most unlikely. However, I wouldn't rule it out as the Observers' powers come from their technical devices and if the Fringe team would obtain such a device they could flee the immanent destruction of their universe by traveling to a different universe in the season finale (but they are then stuck because they forgot to bring Observer-batteries for that thing).



3) seems to be the most likely to me as it would lead to a pretty confusing Fringe-like finale where a lot happens and your brain hurts trying to understand what just happened. It also ties in with the DRJ-storyline and gives it a higher purpose. If they would "just stop" him in the finale without something big (!) happening it wouldn't be very Fringe-like. I feel DRJ was there to "catapult" (literally) into S5, so this theory appeals to me the most.



2) may happen but I don't consider it very likely as that story-telling device has been used last season and I'm not sure that it's a good idea to go through identity crisises again for the last season.



1) might be 2nd most likely. They fail stopping DRJ and the Observers are finally forced to step in to prevent the destruction of the universes and thus the future we saw happens. Or DRJ has a different agenda (with or against the Observers) and the Observers tie in on a completely unexpected level. There's lots of possibilities so this might be true, too.
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I actually thought it was the expected future of current events.

It actually really really reminds me of Dollhouse. They did a similar thing where at then end of first and second seasons they showed an episode of happens in the future.



So, we will be seeing the second part of that 2036 story sometime in season 5. It is actually a very cool storytelling device, I like it.



Go FRINGE!
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It was all Hurley's dream.



No, but seriously, I think the two futures we saw have something to do with each other. Let's not forget we saw a future at the end of Season 3, too, right before we got conjoined universes. I think there's gonna be some stuff going on there.
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Hmm I couldn't see how. The other future was in a different timeline. I'm pretty sure it's illogical to say they're both the same. However, what "altered" the timeline and extinguished Peter has been reversed in the last episode. So it MAY be a possible conclusion to say that this might be a possible future now in their timeline. But only on theory. I mean a lot will be different as the Red wouldn't attack the Blue now. Pretty much everything that took place this season would make this future look different.
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Sounds like they are as mysterious as the show. I don't want the show to end, but at least we get a final season
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YAY!!! I love Fringe and I really hope they will do a great job for season 5. Can't wait!!
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