Get ready for a hair-raising fifth and final season on Fox's Fringe that takes us into the future, which turns out to be just as freaky as the past, present and alternate Fringe worlds were, said executive producer J.H. Wyman in an exclusive interview with Blastr.
Because he wanted to reward viewers who had invested four years of their lives watching Fringe, Wyman decided to take the final 13 episodes and "make a saga. I want to give them a massive, huge feature experience where they can follow Walter's journey from episode one all the way to 13 and are really invested in it by the time it gets there. And Olivia and Peter and Etta and everybody who we've come to love," he said.
The fifth season, which premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET, follows last season's "Letters of Transit," which showed a future in the year 2036 ruled by the Observers, where Peter and Olivia's daughter Etta was a freedom fighter who freed Peter, Walter and Astrid from being trapped in amber for more than 20 years. Olivia's fate remained uncertain.
"Here's our team. Strangers in a strange land, and they're trying to put this incredible post-apocalyptic family back together. ... There are some great cases and some really unexpected [developments]," said Wyman. "Look, I just wanted the entire thing to be like shot out of a gun in episode one and not stop till 13. That's what I'm aiming for."
Early in the season, "You're going to learn a bunch of really great things and some great history, like what Peter and Olivia went through, how did they lose Etta, what became of them as a family when it was destroyed. These things were all very important to me. Here are these people that—they don't sleep so the rest of us are able to—and they've dedicated their lives to defending us and our world and they get to sit and watch everybody else enjoy what all the benefits that freedom comes with. Children and a happy life and normalcy, to some regard. But then they try to enjoy some of that and, of course, it's just ripped from them."
But how exactly do you go from that point to finding the perfect ending for a beloved series that fans have obsessed over for five years?
"At the end of the day, you can only go with what your heart says," said Wyman. "It got me back to the question of, what am I really trying to say here, and what would I want? And it came down to the following things, which is, number one, I want a resolution for everybody that they either have earned or deserved, or that they didn't expect but that we can make sense of. And number two, I want to be able to, after it's over, as a viewer, to get into my car to go to work the next morning and think about Fringe and think about what I had just witnessed and say, 'You know what? I can imagine in my mind's eye what my heroes are doing right now,'" said Wyman.
"Those are the things that I would really want as a viewer myself. I mean, the viewer has just sat and invested four years of their lives in these characters and fell in love with them. And they're sort of part of my family, because you were all there for the mistakes we made, you were all there for the great things we did. What an allegiance, and what a fantastic group that we've all built together of people that really have a common love for this program, this little show that could. So I just was really, really adamant that I was going to make sure that emotionally it was going to take you on a journey that you'll never forget."
But just because this is the final season and we're on a saga doesn't mean we're going to lose the Fringe of it all. He promised he'll also continue to kill off people in the most unusual and disgusting ways. "Oh, some great quality kills. It's kind of cool. Just some really wild, far-out type of things that you can only get from Fringe," he said. "It still has your great, freaky things. It's still Fringe. There are some things that will make your hair stand on end and some really great scientific things where you're like, 'Wow!'"
Fringe is "about the execution about the ideas and how you lay them down," said Wyman. "The show's always been about hope, and the show has always been about, at least for me, going back to 'White Tulip,' it's been really challenging to make sure that it stays really true to the ideas of hope, and it's basically talking about the things that I want to say very succinctly. Because being the last season, I find myself rewriting perfectly good scenes because I just don't want it to end. I literally want every word to be perfect."
Whether or not he's achieved perfection, Wyman quickly decided what the last moments of Fringe would entail. "I made a decision on what the last scene was going to be about probably three weeks before I started [writing season five]. I knew what the last scene was. I wrote the last bit and I knew what it was about. And once I set that as it, what I know it in my heart to be true ... that was a very freeing moment, because that to me, that's where all the value is, is in how it ends."
Here's a look at Fringe:
Fringe airs on Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.
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