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October 9, 2015

'Fringe' Set Visit: The Cast Talks Peter's Return, Dueling Universes & New Threats

by Laura Prudom, posted Oct 21st 2011 10:00AM
After four episodes of ghostly visitations, disembodied voices and brief cameos in reflective surfaces, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) is back from non-existence, which, ordinarily, would be cause for celebration.

Unfortunately for 'Fringe' fans, there's still the small issue of no one remembering who Peter is, which means that the tearful reunions might be a long time coming -- especially since there's no new episode this week.

Fringe cast
Last month, AOL TV traveled to Vancouver to catch up with the cast of the Fox drama (Fridays at 9PM ET) and find out what's coming up for our intrepid Fringe divisions -- on this side and the other.

After the jump, Anna Torv, John Noble, Jasika Nicole, Seth Gabel and Lance Reddick weigh in on what Peter's return will mean for the team, how the addition of Lincoln will change the character dynamics and how the working relationship between the two universes will evolve. Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Yes, Peter's really back -- but for those of you who are hoping that his reappearance will signal a return to what passes for "normal" for our team, you might want to put a pin in your optimism.

"When Peter comes back, it's not like immediately everything's back to normal," said Jasika Nicole, who plays Astrid. "I don't know when that will happen or if it will happen. The transition is really, really difficult for everybody involved."

Josh Jackson That's especially true for Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), who was finally starting to open up and admit her feelings for Peter before he disappeared from reality. Don't you just hate it when guys do that?

"You see a man come back to a life of people that he knew, but they don't know him, essentially," Torv explained when we caught up with her between takes. "I don't know what they're going to do with [Peter and Olivia's relationship]. Certainly, in this timeline, Olivia doesn't know who he is. In Peter's timeline it took them a long time to get together, so I don't know."

While the concept of "Peter Bishop" is just an abstract for Olivia,
Peter's father, Walter (John Noble), had to watch his young son die twice in this timeline, so we can't imagine that the scientist will take too kindly to a stranger appearing from the ether and claiming to be his long-lost child.

"It doesn't even occur to him that this is his son -- why would it? The boy is dead," John Noble pointed out, after coming to set on his day off just to talk with us. "So if someone walked into your life and said, 'Hi there, I'm your son,' you'd say, 'Yeah, okay -- woo!' [Gestures to indicate craziness] So don't expect it to be suddenly [as it was before]. He's never seen Peter as an adult."

In Peter's absence, a new agent has joined Fringe Division -- though Over There, he's been an integral part of the team since Season 2. Our universe's Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) is bookish and shy, while Alt-Lincoln is confident and commanding, but both seem to carry a torch for their respective Agent Dunhams.

"I think, initially, when Lincoln met Olivia in our universe, obviously the conditions were very intense, in that his partner was just killed," Gabel said. "But they immediately had a very good connection and became partners pretty quickly and found that they really saw eye to eye. I think as we go along, we'll see that relationship open up a little more, and those feelings seem to cross universes."

Olivia and LincolnStill, Gabel was adamant that Lincoln was in no way a replacement for Peter, and that he didn't want fans to worry about one of their favorite characters being usurped on the team.

"I think the role that Lincoln is taking is very different than Peter, and Lincoln's mindset is very different from Peter ... Peter's a voice that the show needs and certainly can't be replaced, and ultimately, I'm sure, the hero that will save the world as he did last season," he insisted. "I think there is definitely room for both of them to exist, and in the one episode I had last season where Josh and I got to work together on our side, I thought there was a really good relationship and chemistry, the way those two characters work together. I really hope to get to do a lot more of that this time."

Meanwhile, Gabel confirmed that, Over There, Alt-Lincoln is still pining for Bolivia, even though she has a hunky doctor boyfriend. "Obviously the timeline is a bit different now and she didn't end up having a baby, so they didn't have that moment where he said, 'I love you' and all that," he explained. "But that love is still there and Alt-Lincoln definitely still has feelings for her, which she just kind of bounces off as, 'Oh yeah, you're great, kid!' and he's like, 'Oh that hurts, it killed my heart.' But that definitely continues."

Before he disappeared, Peter did manage to impart one last morsel of wisdom to both universes, instructing them to work together to fix things, or risk destroying both worlds. So far, both sides have been heeding that warning, but the animosity is still bubbling under the surface, especially between Walter and Walternate.

"We saw what Walter thought [about the other side and Bolivia]," Noble laughed. "He's also probably incredibly jealous of Walternate, with his fancy suits; he's looking good and still stands two inches taller than Walter and he's still got a wife and he's got a lover. Walter's got none of these things ... except his food."

Fringe castLance Reddick (who plays Agent Broyles) agreed that the hatchet isn't entirely buried yet. "It's going to start getting more tense, but we're actually going to start working together more, too. There's potentially a third element that will be a danger to both universes that's going to force them to work together."

These issues start converging in Episode 8, which we happened to be on set for, but we were wisely kept away from anything too spoiler-y during filming. Still, we were assured by the cast that the episode is a game-changer. And if any show delivers on that often overused TV phrase, it's 'Fringe.'

"All the things that you're getting little pieces of culminate in this episode," Torv said. "Things like, what's Peter's role going to be? Is there a threat? Can these universes come together? Who's responsible for this? Stuff gets picked up; a lot of the balls that we threw up end up coming down."

With more grudging cooperation between the universes on the horizon, Nicole hinted that one of the characters gets to meet their alter for the first time -- at least in this timeline -- but unfortunately, it won't be Astrid. "I was very excited, but also a little jealous because I think of all the alters meeting each other, [the Astrids] would be a pretty dynamic one because the two versions are so completely different. I think that that would be like a really mind-blowing moment for each of them," she lamented.

Since the Walters and the Olivias have already met, that leaves Broyles and Lincoln. But who will it be?

"The odds of seeing the two Broyles interacting are pretty good, from my understanding, and I'm very excited about it," Reddick said.

But wait ...

"There is a chance of [the two Lincolns meeting]. There is a good chance," Gabel confirmed.

We'll hedge our bets and say both are due for a close encounter, though we're admittedly a little more intrigued by the concept of double Lincoln. (We're shallow.)

"I think that the glasses-wearing Lincoln would be probably intimidated by the other one," Gabel mused. "I think Alt-Lincoln would be at first probably dismissive of Lincoln. But there's obviously a difference in intelligence between the two, and I think Lincoln on our side has a very real intelligence when it comes to book smarts and thinking outside the box. And I think Lincoln in the alt-universe has a lot of experience when it comes to getting things done and being pragmatic and practical and also courageous and bold and self-confident. Both have a lot that they can learn from each other."

While Reddick teased that "a great character from seasons ago comes back" in an upcoming episode, Noble also told us that the genius -- and underutilized -- Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) will finally make an appearance in the other universe.

"I think Nina is one of the great buried treasures of our show. You've got an actress of the caliber of Blair Brown sitting there and waiting," Noble said. "So, you will see some movements. I think she'll start to take a very major role, that's what I've been hinted at."

As for the elusive William Bell, Torv thinks we've seen the last of him, "[at least] in the form of Leonard Nimoy." Time for another body-share, perhaps? We think Torv should start polishing her Nimoy impersonation again, just in case.

'Fringe' takes a week off this Friday, but returns with a new episode on Oct. 28 at 9PM ET on Fox. Watch the preview below:

How do you think the team will react to Peter's return, considering that no-one knows who he is? And which old favorite would you love to see return?

Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauinLA.

Vancouver travel and accommodation provided by Warner Bros.

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Really, guys, haven't you figured out yet that it's not "Bolivia," it's "Faux-Livia?"

March 02 2012 at 9:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fantmflash's comment
Havaneiss Dei

Actually, that issue was addressed in one of the episodes; Peter couldn't decide whether to use Fauxlivia or Bolivia, but Walter preferred (and has used in other episodes) "Bolivia" in reference to the alternate-universe's "Olivia."

If you think about it, that's the only way it made sense: the alternate universe wasn't a dream-state apparition, but a separate reality equally as valid as our own. Since "faux" means "false," which could be interpreted as disparaging (to say the least), assigning a more familiar type-designator to the beginning of her name seemed a logical way to distinguish one "Olivia" from the other.

Granted, "Aolivia" would have not been euphonious, and it could be argued that the "A" type-designator applied to "our" Olivia is either silent or simply "universally understood, and therefore omitted" in much the same way that we avoid calling (during the utterance of each sentence or phrase thereto conveyed) the name of each person to whom we speak.

We can therefore imagine at least the potential existence of a "Colivia" and a "Dolivia;" at what point the phonetic breaks down depends in part on the rules governing how such type-indicators are assigned (e.g.: when to skip a letter; etc.) and in part on the finiteness of universal parallellism in the context of character chronologies (or, if you prefer, in context with the situational chronological constant).

The situational chronological constant is, of course, the coordinating chronological quantum, which establishes such things as the character of time as it relates to mass (and, naturally, to gravitation), and so determines which of the potential universes within the multiverse contain matter that is existence-compatible (and, by extension, which do not).

For the purpose of our mutual understanding, the coordinating chronological quantum may be a property of black holes, themselves perhaps the cosmological of smoke, dust and shrapnel post-Big Bang remnants of the primordial pellet.

Anyway, as we have seen in the series, such compatibility of existence does not universally translate to perception; for instance: co-located physical objects (regardless whether alive, dead or unliving, natural or artificial, etc.) can safely occupy the same space if sufficiently phase-shifted relative to each other.

David Robert Jones isn't attempting to steer celestial bodies into each other, as some sort of cosmological car crash; rather, he's attempting to reduce the phase-separation that allows two (at the very least) remarkably similar universes to coexist in the same physical space.

Reasonable minds differ as to whether there is more than one universe; naturally the character of the number of other universes (small, large, infinite) is disputed. This excellent show failed principally because of abominably bad sound quality; whether a mainstream audience is too stupid to follow the story is a matter of futile speculation.

June 19 2012 at 2:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think I already know who is coming back its Nick Lane, the reason I say this is because Olivia said in the last episode that she hadn't been in contact with any other cortexafan kids, so that means that episode with him didn't happen.

And another thing I think what the Observers did changing the time line isn't going to work because they weren't supposed to, and anyway the main Observer didn't change things by saving Peter from the lake before, he changed things by distracting Walternete so he didn't see that he had created the cure for Peter, which in turn caused our Walter being already grief stricken, to go over to the other side to save the other Peter, the whole thing was the Observers fault, not Walters, what they have done is changed it again, they had already done it once when the Observer did what he did before Walter went over there for Peter, now they have done it again!

Maybe something is going to happen that causes time to snap back to the way it was because things aren't right now ether, they say that in up coming episodes Olivia starts having migraines maybe its caused by the time line trying to go back or the memory of what really happened is seeping through into her mind just like Peter did.

Another thing they might do is have there be a 3rd universe, which could be where these new shapeshifters are from, and maybe the Observers realize that by changing the time line they have made things worse, because now there is 3 universes connected to each other and their to blame, so maybe they put it back some how their selves.

I do have one question I saw these Fringe Wallpapers that say that this is the last season has anyone else seen them and is it true, or were they talking about the fall final and not the season final?

October 22 2011 at 2:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to claramj's comment
Havaneiss Dei

Ostensibly, and it looks pretty much set-in-stone, the fifth season will be the final season for FRINGE. At this point, there is no longer any life in the production apparatus, which means the series is technically dead (even though we have been promised a 13-episode fifth season to end the series).

Could FRINGE continue? Sure: as long as it is physically possible, you can pretty much make happen anything you want to have happen, if you throw enough money at it.

Fox has basically given Bad Robot their walking papers, so it's a matter of pride for Fox to make sure the show dies at the end of the fifth season -- or at least to ensure that it has no home on the Fox network. In plain language, that means it would (now and hereafter) cost more to put it back on Fox than it would to put it on any other network, anywhere.

Even with the horribly crappy sound, FRINGE cost a nut to produce; the first 3 seasons were shot on film. The 4th season used the ARRIRAW digital process, which doubtless saved a small fortune in terms of labor and general complexity. I don't know what they're using for the 5th season.

Sure, you could trim a little here and there -- maybe without sacrificing visual quality. I don't know what they spent on sound, but it couldn't have been much -- either that, or they got raped by their sound capture and/or post-production teams (and/or screwed by Fox, but that's a whole other issue).

What is meant by the estimated budgets reported on IMDB isn't exactly clear: the data presented on the page for the Pilot episode of FRINGE indicates (USD) $10 million; the episode was 82 minutes, and the show was shot on film. That's a significant amount of money, but it isn't inconceivable that the Pilot episode cost that much.

In fact, given what I know about TV production and cinematography, it's probably quite a bit better than I would have expected if I had to budget for a film process. Most other episodes don't list an estimated budget; so I wonder whether the $10M is a per-episode average for the 1st season or for the 1st 3 seasons, or for only the Pilot episode.

The main IMDB page for FRINGE lists an estimated budget of (USD) $4 million for the show; the 4th season was captured digitally, greatly reducing post-production costs -- but it's hard for me to see a net budget 60% drop unless a third of the pro's involved in the show were replaced by amateurs. That's a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one.

Of course, as the operational group learned each other's idiosyncrasies, the entire process became more efficient; scenes which required 40 takes at the beginning perhaps took 5 by the 4th season: add the switch to digital and factor-in special effects frugality, and there's close to 60% -- w/o having to become dependent on volunteers!

FRINGE doesn't fit NBC's demo and MyTV and The CW seem to be in bed with Fox. That just leaves CBS and ABC for mass-market coverage. You'll need $40M+ in ads per episode to make it. "Hard Sell."

June 19 2012 at 6:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe somebody can explain something to me. In the alt-universe, Broyles was killed helping Olivia return. But now he's still alive. So did Olivia and the team not end up going to the other side to rescue Peter-that-didn't-exist? If that's the case, then William Bell is probably still alive, no?

October 21 2011 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to kswartz26's comment

Funny you mention it -- we pointed that very fact out to John Noble on set when we asked if Bell would ever return, he said he hadn't even considered it! But you're right, and he did admit that in that case, it would make sense that Bell could still be alive. He had no news one way or the other about whether Leonard Nimoy would return, though.

October 21 2011 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the whole time line was changed so things we saw happen before (like Broyles getting broiled lol) didn't happen. It's the fact that Peter never existed so everything is changed. I wish Leonard Nimoy would come back but I believe he retired, I hear he did his last Comic Con :( I too would love to see Leonard Nivoy as WIlliam Bell again. But at some point everyone want's to retire. lol

November 03 2011 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, first of all I’d like to see Charlie return and considering how badly “Prime Suspect” is doing in the ratings the possibility of Kirk Acevedo being free to do it is looking pretty good.

I’ll wait to see what the writers have in store for us in terms of how the characters will react to Peter’s return. One thing that does puzzles me though is, if no one from either side remembers Peter how do they know they need to work together since he was the one who told them? Or, am I over thinking it? Damn quantum mechanics. :)

October 21 2011 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Grey's comment

You're not the first one to wonder about that! It's clearly a question we'll have to ask the writers.

October 21 2011 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

all right! more nina! i think that she is hot in a fringe-y way, love the red hair! need to back fill her new story background. she seems to now have been there for everyone's past and admits it. what's up with that?

October 21 2011 at 11:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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