FRINGE: Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman Talk Peter's Return, William Bell, Ratings and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FRINGE: Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman Talk Peter’s Return, William Bell, Ratings and More

November 4, 2011 by  

Happy FRINGE Friday, guys! And guess what? No baseball is going to stop tonight’s episode from airing!

It’s been a few weeks since our last original episode, but as you may remember, Peter has  returned to the series in solid form — but, um, no one knew who he was.

So where do they go from here? I talked with FRINGE executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H Wyman about Peter’s return, whether William Bell is still alive, if they have something special already planned for episode 19 and what the ratings means for a potential fifth season…

Now that Peter is back, we know it’s not the reunion he was hoping for, but how is everyone else taking things?
Jeff Pinkner: I think that some of our fans were expecting-slash-hoping that Peter would return and suddenly everything would return back to their version of normal, the way things were. And, of course, that’s both emotionally and logically impossible and would have been dishonest.

Peter is returning to a world that developed without him. He died at age 8. And Walter knew that boy until he died twice at age 8, but Olivia has never met him. So for them to suddenly remember a history with him and a timeline in which he existed would have been dishonest. So, the truth of the matter is, Peter is much more of a fringe event as far as they are concerned. He’s an impossibility and yet he’s here. And watching them deal with him and him deal with them in his new circumstances, it’s sort of driving our storytelling in a way that we’re really happy with.

Given all the weird stuff they deal with on a weekly basis, is there any part of them that thinks, “Hey, maybe this guy is telling the truth?”
J.H. Wyman: Oh, yeah, I think any version of the Fringe team, when you’re dealing with this sort of phenomenon on a daily basis, they understand there’s two universes, so they’re going to be accepting of an idea that perhaps there’s something out there that they don’t know. It’s not such a crazy thing to say, “There is another version of you guys and I was a very big part of that and in your timeline it’s in this way, but the truth is, I had a lot of impact in my timeline.” They will look at him and say, “I can see how that would make logical sense.” They know about parallel extreme theory and parallel universes and all that stuff. They’re going to look at it at face value and say, “I can totally understand.”

How far are you guys into the writing process of the season?
JW: We’re writing 12 right now.

You guys personally are writing that episode or the show is up to there?
JP: As a staff.

Have you given any thought as to what you’ll do for episode 19?
JP: [Laughs] We’ve given thought to every episode.
JW: We have a couple ideas in mind.

Is it going to be able to top what you guys have done the last couple of years?
JW: I don’t know. If you look at it that way, it’s like — as long as it tickles us, we hope it tickles the fans. That’s how we’ve been looking at it: “This would be really fun for us to do this kind of episode.” And in the past episodes, it worked. People have responded. So we’re going to try and keep it real and whatever entertains us — and the ideas we have really do entertain us, so we hope the fans will feel the same way.

Speaking of your last episode 19, is William Bell still alive in this new timeline?
JP: Um, interesting question.
JW: We don’t know.
JP: He’s retired, so, yeah, he’s dead

You managed to lure Leonard Nimoy (William Bell) out of retirement once before…
JP: He’s been fairly firm about enjoying his life at the moment.

Okay, fair enough. Is there anything you guys wish you could do that you haven’t had the chance to do yet?
JP: The truth is, we’ve been incredibly fortunate. Obviously, we loved writing episodes for Leonard. Had he been more available, we would have pursued that story more, but it probably was the perfect dose. I think we’ve been really, really, incredibly fortunate, given the limitations of production and economically producing a TV show. We’ve been wildly fortunate in what we’ve wanted to do and what we’ve been able to do.

You know I don’t want to ask this question, but given the ratings, have there been any conversations with the network and the studio about when they would have an idea about a potential fifth season? Have you said to them, “Look, we need this much time to wrap up the series if this is going to be it” or anything like that?
JP: Not at all. And obviously you have to ask that question, but from the moment we moved to Friday nights, Fox has been by all account — both direct and indirect –both Fox and Warner Bros., they’ve been thrilled with the number we’re getting. We can’t control the numbers other shows are getting and what else they might put on the air. And obviously they have to be responsible for their own game plans, but we always figure out a season. Each season, as we’ve said before, is sort of like the ending of a chapter and the opening of a new one. We always know that in this business, things change quickly and you can be taken off the air at anytime. However, we’ve had absolutely no indication that it’s something we need to be wary of and we keep working our plan.
JW: With that being said, you know what, Marisa? We’re so dedicated to our fans. And we’re both huge fans of television and we would not want people to invest so much and then be left cold or ripped off. So, we understand very well where the series ends. If we get word that the worst case is going to happen, we feel confident we could leave the fans very satisfied. And maybe do a little something extra for them, whether it’s a comic book or something like that. It’s a big part of our concern, because we want to show the loyalists and the fans that we really think about that and we really care about them. And we don’t want them to come to the end of the series and go, “Wait, what?”

I mean, even if worst case scenario, you guys hadn’t gotten renewed for season 4, the season 3 finale could have technically worked as a series finale. It would have been insane, but it would have worked.
JP: Absolutely. Which we knew. We knew it would have been the conclusion to a story. It wouldn’t have been satisfying on all levels, but how many stories are? But it certainly would have appropriately ended the journey of Peter getting pulled reluctantly into this team and ultimately sacrificing himself to save all of them and the two universes.

As full circle as that would have been, aren’t you glad we did get a fourth season?

So, will you be tuning in to FRINGE tonight on Fox at 9 PM?


FRINGE: Jeff Pinkner and J. H. Wyman on Peter’s Memories and Fate Versus Choice. Plus, ‘Witness the Return’ with a New Promo!
FRINGE: Anna Torv and John Noble Tease ‘Subject 9,’ Massive Dynamic, Nina and…William Bell?!
FRINGE Spoiler Alert: Guess Whose Mother is Returning?

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7 Responses to “FRINGE: Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman Talk Peter’s Return, William Bell, Ratings and More”

  1. harry on November 4th, 2011 6:38 pm

    A comic book? No, a comic book would not satisfy any loose ends. I signed up for a television show. The FOX scheduler on twitter hasn’t exactly been ‘thrilled’ about fringe ratings so to say that fox is, seems somewhat disingenuous or misguided.

    Let’s wrap it up guys.

  2. AngelMoonGirl on November 4th, 2011 6:56 pm

    I think Fringe should have an endgame in mind. Maybe to the end of season 5 or season 6. I certainly don’t want the show over, I love it SO much, but, I’m glad TPTB know it COULD happen given the uncertainty with ratings and I really hope we do get a satisfying conclusion to the show, if god forbid it does get cancelled. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!

  3. Fedorafadares on November 4th, 2011 7:18 pm

    I love the idea of a comic book as a epilogue to Fringe. It’s such a wide-encompassing story and these guys are such creative storytellers, I’d enjoy it.

    Great interview, Marisa. Well done!

  4. Donna on November 4th, 2011 10:04 pm

    I think it’s brilliant that the producers wouldn’t want to abandon their creation, so I say yay for a comic book or novel(s) or whatever they want to do. I want Fringe to last forever and I don’t care what form it comes in.

  5. input on November 4th, 2011 10:22 pm

    Since the writers are only at episode 12, may be some input is still possible:

    For more then 3 seasons you write for Walter and Peter, they get all the big scenes , the emotional storylines, the backstory with that, Walter gets to talk about the death of his wife in a number od scenes, we all know about the Peter story and the lake etc.
    And all this time Olivia had to make do with 3 small scenes in S 1 and 2 dealing with Walter and his abuse of her, 1 scene in S1 and 1 in S2 about her stepfather, until this episode tonight 1 about her mother, none about her real father. So you have your female lead character and we still do not know a thing about her, missed opurtunity with the sister in S1 and 2.
    But we do have multiple endless scenes between Walter and Peter, and the guilt and the 2nd chances (note: victims never get a second chance), we have to feel sorry for Walter over and over again.
    What about Olivia, who lost her parents before her 14, abused by a stepfather, shot at him, killed him in this timeline, all revealed in blipses, never explored and never given a cjance to Lovia to reveal to someone how it has influenced her life. Thanks to Anna Torvs brillant acting we can see it, in each Olivia, but some more info would be very welcome.
    Are we ever going to get long confrontational scenes between Walter and Olivia (Anna and John love working together, and it showed in 4.04) and long revealing scenes about Olivia childhood, with Nina? And preferably similar scenes you write for the present Peter and Walter, because Anna Torv and Blair Brown have great chemistry and those scenes will be awesome, as tonights and 4.04 brief scenes already give a taste.

  6. input on November 4th, 2011 10:32 pm

    Type error”
    I meant to say that Olivia never gets a chance to talk about her inner feelings, how she deals with her losses, never knowing your real father, being abused, death of your mother at such a young age, shooting at your abuser.
    We can sense what it did to her because of Anna Torvs amazing acting, but I would love to see those scenes played out in present tense between Anna and Blair, not another flasback epi, but one where we see this Olivia confront Walter , or talk with Nina about her mother, father, stepfather.

  7. Shutupoliviafans on November 4th, 2011 11:56 pm

    Input aka passing aka anto aka ridiculous aka Sunday, we effin get it already! Shut up! God you Olivia fans are so annoying!