Fringe Bosses on Seth Gabel's Status, Leonard Nimoy's Return, the 'Alternate Ending' and More

Fringe executive producers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman held a conference call on Wednesday to, first, thank those who write about television for their support over the years and how that, in part, helped the show earn a fifth and final season pick-up. Then they got to the business at hand: fielding burning questions coming out of the past couple of episodes and leading into the final two weeks of Season 4.

A MOST LOGICAL ENCORE? | For starters, TVLine asked the show bosses if what/whom we got a glimpse of in the 2036-set Episode 19 — coupled with what Josh Jackson said about the Season 5 storyline and what Walter is claiming in the new promo making rounds — means that the services of Leonard Nimoy will be needed come fall, to reprise his role as William Bell. Or, since Nimoy is semi-retired from on-camera work, are they writing themselves into a bit of a corner? “Once you kind of realize the extent of everything, it will probably become clear why we’re not [writing ourselves into a corner],” Wyman answered, cryptically. But that’s not to rule out a Bell comeback before the Fox series signs off for good after Season 5’s 13-episode run. As Pinkner said, “We basically erected a sign outside of Leonard’s house that says, ‘Please come back to Fringe,’ and we are hoping that by Season 5 he says yes.”

FUTURE SHOCK | The EPs stopped short of confirming buzz that Season 5 would heavily involve the year 2036 seen in Episode 19: “That future is important to our storytelling, but it’s the not the be all and end all.”

FALSE FINISH | Wyman rebuffed that which series star John Noble told reporters last month, that as a “back up” plan of sorts, a slightly different ending was filmed just in case the series did not get the Season 5 order. “We did not shoot an alternate ending,” said the EP. “We thought about it, but we did not [film it].” So do not look out for that DVD extra, folks.

ALT-DELETED? | Of course the big question raised by last Friday’s episode concerns the fate of the “red” universe and, by extension, series regular Seth Gabel, whose Lincoln Lee now only exists “over there.” Have we seen the last of him as well as [heavy sigh] badass Bolivia? Pinkner stepped carefully around that question, but did go on to note that the inter-universe bridge “is closed because of the problems that David Robert Jones is causing, so if our team can somehow dispense with Jones, there is absolutely a possibility of that door being open again.” And on the Gabel topic itself, “Seth is spectacular and awesome … but as for his standing going forward, to say anything about that would be also to reveal things that are coming ahead,” Pinkner hedged.

What burning questions do you still have about Fringe‘s fourth and fifth seasons?

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  1. kavselj says:

    So basically they said alot but told us nothing. As per usual with these kind of things :P

  2. J.R. says:

    Henry Ian Cusick as a season five regular would be epic.

    • LC says:

      Agreed, I love me some Desmond, I mean Simon.

    • Ben says:

      I think Scandal guarantees you that won’t happen, as much as I would love it to.

      • J.R. says:

        Well, Scandal isn’t officially renewed as of now and the last episode pulled a not-so-impressive 2.0 adults 18-49 rating. If renewed, who knows if it will even premiere in the fall (Fringe does). It might get picked up for midseason again with a short episode order (they ordered only 7 episodes for the first season), in which case he would be able to do both shows even if Scandal is renewed.

        • Ben says:

          Yeah, but Cusick was hired knowing he had a regular gig to go to shortly after, so I’d be surprised if him being a series regular factors into the writers plans, even if he was available.

    • Jennifer says:

      If anything goes wrong, Simon Foster will be my constant!

  3. Quincy says:

    thank the tv gods for season 5.

  4. If there’s to be no alt universe and no 2036, I pass on season 5.

  5. Clau says:

    I might be the only one, but I SO want Gabel back =~

  6. They better bring back the alt-universe, that`s what made Fringe as great as it is!

  7. John Berggren says:

    I’m so enthusiastic about the final season pickup, that I’m open to whatever they do.

  8. Amanda says:

    As much as I want to know some answers (particularly concerning the amazing Seth Gabel) I am glad they kept mum on hings, the surprise is part of the fun.

  9. Ryan says:

    It’s odd that John Noble made a mistake when he said they filmed an alternate ending. That doesn’t exactly seem like something you’d miss.

    • Jason says:

      He must not have been involved in it then

    • Emily says:

      Odd, I was under the impression that they filmed a little extra that would either be tacked on if renewed and left out if not. In that sense, it isn’t alternate footage, but extra footage. I wonder if that was the case?

    • Ben says:

      Maybe it was less a ‘mistake’ and more – two were planned, but they would only film both if they had to, based on whether or not they had news of the renewal. I think producers knew Fringe was renewed a while back, before they needed to film two endings (with the outstanding point being no of episodes before announcing it) so this might explain the discrepancy.

  10. Alex says:

    So a whole lot of non-answers….really hope we’ll see the alt verse and its fabulous people again!

    • Fringeseason5 says:

      Hated 2036, do not want that on Fringe again.Cheap 1936 B-movie copy, with Etta exatly copying all the crucial scenes of Olivia, stealing in my book.
      Disgusted with Pinkner and Wyman for how they treated Anna Torv.

      So nothing on Anna Torv??? Fringe season 5 has to be with Anna Torv central.

      Olivia Dunham has had No storyline this season, horrible writing on top, and still Anna Torv is Emmy worthy, just imagine if she would get the writing John Noble gets all the time.
      So they should focus finally on Olivia Dunham, her backstory, why she is so important to Bell and Jones.
      Do we know the name of her father??
      Right that is how much they write for Olivia Dunham.

      • STFU says:

        Shut up.

      • Clay says:

        Judging by how incoherent and in love with Anna Torv “Fringeseason5” is, I’m going to assume this is the same person that posted a comment last week on the Fringe season 5 renewal article. That comment had the same incoherent writing, dismissing Letters of Transit and accusing Etta as being an Oliva copy that the writers created to disrespect Anna Torv. We get it. You love Anna Torv. We all do. She’s the best female lead on any drama series I can think of in the recent years. But the writers know what they’re doing and they haven’t lead us astray so far. They wouldn’t just throw away a gift of an actress just like that. Even if season 5 takes place entirely in 2036, the writers would find a plausible scenario in which Anna Torv/Olivia Dunham plays a major role.

        • Pickelbarrael says:

          But they would get rid of josh Jackson/Peter bishop for 4 episodes, treat him like a plot device, make everyone hate him and the producers RARELY say anything nice about josh.

          Yep, Anna torv is treated sooooo badly /sarcasm

        • panda says:

          @ Clay

          You are absolutely right, it is the same person as last week. Just ignore this troll.

        • Kelly says:

          It is the same person, and I also suspect this is the same person who ranted on and on about Joshua Jackson being underused – she’s just changed her tactics because they get her attention.

      • Fringeseason6 says:

        Hi EGNIRF! :)
        So, I’m dying to know some backstory, too. But not Olivia’s (I know they’ll tell us what we need to know) — YOURS! How does a person get to be you? Are you a twelve year old girl? (no offense to 12 year old girls.) Are you a 37 year old basement dwelling dude? Maybe an observer child stuck underground for 40 years with no social development and years of pathological OCD? What circumstances lead to obsession with a TV character and disparagement of any and all others who may co-exist in her faux-reality? Where does the disgust for the producers of the very show that brings Olivia into our lives come from and why must it be vented every day on so many websites in the exact same way? I’m so curious. I know it’s like feeding trolls, but I’m so intrigued now that the end of Fringe makes me fear the end of your illuminating comments. Who is EGNIRG?? Maybe it could be the plot of season 6?

      • Meana b says:

        Wow, with such a negative rant about one of Fringe’s best episodes (2036) and your complete amnesia as far as Olivia’s storyline during Season 4, why do you even watch this show?!

  11. Daniel says:

    Why not hire Zachary Quinto to play a young William Bell….?

  12. Brian Jones says:

    I really think they could develop several spin-off series based on the Alt universe and also based on the revolution against the watchers in 2036. I really think there is ALOT more they can develop in the story, including additional alternate universes, by theory there could be nearly unlimited universe possibilities based on the frequency of that universe. Ideally, they could tune into another universe like changing a radio station.

  13. Drew says:

    I want to know how they’re tackling the end of the show on Fox… will it be the absolute end of the Fringe world or will the door be open for the stories to continue without us? In a world where Netflix is in the business of bringing back dead shows and the movie and comic book options are still out there, I kinda don’t want them to end the show in definite terms. Not to say I prefer a cliffhanger, because I don’t. I just want that hope of more to exist.

  14. Didn’t Nimoy at one point say that even if they went to his house and begged him to come back he wouldn’t do it?

  15. TV Gord says:

    Just because the bridge to the other side is now closed, that doesn’t mean we, as viewers, won’t get to see episodes set over there next season. :-)

  16. Jim C says:

    @Daniel…..Now THAT is a great idea. I mean Quinto is already associated with Bad Robot via
    the Star Trek franchise, so they shouldnt have much trouble finding him. Plus he was excellent as young Spock, so why not as young William Bell?

  17. says:

    I really want Robin Williams on Fringe!

  18. shannon says:

    What?! I do NOT want Robin Williams on Fringe.

  19. David says:

    Thanks so much for giving us a final season and proper send off. This is what you do to instill loyalty to fans of programming Fox/WB… Thanks!

  20. Patrick maloney says:

    Nimoy better make an appearance, I mean if he can do that voice cameo for the idiotic Big Bang Theory, the least he can do is make an appearance on this show too.

  21. adriene says:

    Really? Bolivia, still? C’mon, even the showrunners agreed that Fauxlivia was the better nickname.

    • Jennifer says:

      I think of the nickname “Fauxlivia” only for the time Olivia from “Over There” spent impersonating our Olivia “Over Here”. It was short lived, she went back, and returned to her million other nicknames…Alt-livia, BOlivia, Alt-Olivia, Liv, Red, Kim Possible! hahaha!

    • John says:

      But she’s definitely the FUN Olivia.

      I love Olivia but have to say Red is the one that brings a smile to my face.

  22. Ryan says:

    Biggest problem with the alt-universe story has been that Peter isn’t in the show as much. This season’s main problem was that Peter wasn’t in the first 4 or 5 episodes. I’m concerned having a 2036 storyline would have the same problem for Olivia.

  23. Phil Hersh says:

    Why does this website keep promoting interviews that if one did not read them wouldn’t miss anything because they answer nothing? Do you think your readers are so stupid we don’t notice this?

  24. Ryan says:

    I predict that season 5 will be set in 2036 with flashbacks to 2012-2016 that fill in the gaps. The “cases” that the team works on in 2036 – because only Etta is part of the Fringe Division – will be pieces of their past coming back to interrupt/help/hinder their fight against the Observers in 2036 and flashbacks will explain what happened 20 years ago. I’ve gotta admit, if season 5 ISN’T set in 2036, I’ll be extremely wary…In my opinion, they have nothing left to do in 2012-2016 that can’t be shown in either an entire flashback episode or flashbacks throughout the series. I’d rather they spend season 5 wrapping up the 2036 story – which would wrap up the series, in my opinion – than showing us everything that happened between 2012 and 2016 after “Letters In Transit” filled in 90% of the gaps with exposition/dialogue. The only things we really need to see are: 1) How did William Bell return?, 2) What happened to Olivia?, and 3) Why did Walter amber himself, Peter, Astrid, and Bell? And – maybe – what happened to September but the line in 4.19 about the switch from previous Observer weapons to guns seems to have answered that question for me, personally…And questions 1 and 2 both seem to be getting answered in the finale (based on trailers and spoilers from TVLine about Olivia’s death being resolved). I’m still 10000000% excited for season 5 but I won’t lie and say that I’m not hoping that the majority of the final season is set in 2036.

  25. S.Cutajar says:

    I still believe that the producers have something up in the sleeve before the grand finale of season 5 (still not sure whether it would be episode 13!!!!) Meanwhile, let’s sit back and enjoy the best sci-fi story making tv history…

  26. Bob says:

    As for Nimoy returning:

    “Dead is dead. You don’t get to come back from that, not even here…” ~ Ben, ‘Lost’, 2009

  27. JoshJacksononOnceuponatimefan says:

    Bolivia,or Fauxliva, I never cared for. She was just Blah to me. Walternate however was underused. I don’t get the HIC love. Never cared for him on Lost. Desmond was just blah and replaced Charlie. I’d be ok with just sticking with our universe.I hope we see Lincoln Lee again. I liked both versions of him.

  28. Liz says:

    how much do I love this article saying that there is “hope” for Leonard Nimoy to return for season 5, and there he was on our TV screens that following Friday?

    Sooooooo much :)

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