Fringe - Comic-Con Report
by Keith McDuffee, posted Jul 28th 2008 5:18PM
By the time the Fringe panel started, I wasn't the only one who was exhausted. This was one of the final television panels of the day, with the exception, I believe, of MythBusters -- a panel I regret having to miss but, since I literally hadn't eaten anything but two Clif Bars all day, I had no choice. Otherwise you would have heard about the guy who passed out in Room 6B.
Since I'd already seen the Fringe pilot, I considered not attending the panel. I think a lot of people felt the same way, as Ballroom 20 wasn't even full for it. I'm glad I did attend, however, because it was interesting to hear what people wanted to ask of J. J. Abrams.
In attendance: J. J. Abrams, Bryan Burke, Jeff Pinkner, Roberto Orci, Anna Torv, Josh Jackson and John Noble.
Things kicked off with a view of the trailer for the series. Several times over the previous few days, the network was screening the pilot in its entirety. I already caught the pilot once before, and Kristin reported on it as well, so I didn't think there was much sense in going to see it again.
What Abrams wanted to accomplish with this show was something where there really weren't concrete rules to follow, such as the complex mythology of Lost or Alias. Shows like The Twilight Zone and The X-Files were ones that inspired him to write Fringe. You can hop into this show at any point and not be lost in what's happening, as there won't be much in the way of a continuous storyline that one needs to follow, though there will be "something" there.
Abrams went on to credit the excellent writing staff he has (besides himself), a member of the X-Files writing team and one of Joss Whedon's brothers (who also co-wrote Dr. Horrible).
One of the attendees brought up the presence of viral marketing for the show, to which Abrams really didn't have much to say other than saying Orci was "the conspiracy theorist of the group." They played with that one a few times during the panel.
Another question brought to the panelists was whether or not the leaked Fringe pilot was accidental or a clever marketing ploy to drum up interest in the show. Abrams very seriously said that the leaked pilot was definitely not intentional.
Now, let me say something about the moderator, TV Week's Joe Adalian. While any of the other moderators throughout the 'Con were introduced quickly by name and perhaps one "claim to fame," Adalian was brought on with a reading of his resume -- something I couldn't help but assume he'd requested or demanded himself. Then, at this point of the questioning, he decides to ask the group some of the strangest and unfunniest questions. I'm not even going to get into them, because then I'd be wasting your time as well.
Anyway, some other highlights:
- On a possible Fringe comic book: Abrams: Yes.
- Just as was done in Alias, with the fly-throughs of the letters of locations to build into clues to a larger puzzle, the "glitches" in-between scenes of Fringe will contain clues to a bigger puzzle, and this time Abrams says he'll do something with it. He was careful to say that this is only something considered "for fun" and will not be required to enjoy or understand the show.
- Abrams was asked how much of the show he has "fleshed out" before leaving for a new project, which got a lot of laughs. He answered that he has what he calls an "internal ending" to the show -- an overall direction he wants to take the show, though not necessarily a way the show will come to an end. He doesn't have a set amount of years he sees the show being able to run and just lets it take its course, though on that internal ending course he has set.
- When asked what the group thought of internet feedback, Pinkner said he found such feedback not only helpful, but necessary.
- They will be "diving into the mythology (of the show) early," which kinda confused me, as wouldn't that mean there's a plot to follow and one might become lost not following along the whole way?
- SPOILER: Valley's character will come back in some form later in the series.
- An attendee asked Abrams why Greg Grunberg wasn't in the pilot, as he seems to be in so many other of his shows. Abrams said that he isn't planned to appear, though he was initially supposed to be in the Star Trek movie but wasn't able to.
- A Cloverfield sequel may or may not happen, but it has come up. He has an idea for something related to Cloverfield in a movie, though doesn't want to call it a sequel.
- Finally Abrams was asked about the lack of Star Trek movie presence at Comic-Con, and he was very bummed about not having anything to give people. The movie has about 1300 VFX scenes, with only about 70 completed, none really of which could make up a trailer yet.