Executive Producer J.H. Wyman talks discusses the fifth and final season of Fringe, debuting Friday, September 28 at 9 PM ET on Fox
The beginning of the end is near for fans of the Fox sci-fi series Fringe, which kicks off its fifth and final season Friday, September 28 at 9 PM ET with "Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11". Season 5, which consists of 13 episodes, takes us forward to the year 2036, a world run by The Observers. This world was teased in last season's 19th episode, "Letters of Transit", and as any Fringe fan knows, each season's 19th episode always puts a fun, fresh spin on the show. Executive producer/showrunner J.H. Wyman recently held a conference call, where he talked about the 19th episode tradition, and how they changed the game by having it foreshadow this season.
"Well, we knew that traditionally in the 19th episode spot of each season, we always sort of went off the beaten path and we were kind of throwing around a whole bunch of very interesting ideas on what to do last season. When we didn't really know the entire fate of what the program was going to be concretely, we thought, well, it would be terrible if we sort of ended without some form of an ending that I could either pick up by comic book or other sort of media that would finish the story for the dedicated fans. That got us thinking; well, what if we sort of treat the 19 spot as sort of like a backdoor pilot? We've always been interested in going back and forth in time and we thought it would be such an interesting idea to maybe tell the story in the future, but one way or the other, we were kind of like, 'Hmm, let's see how that goes.' So, we used that slot 19 to be sort of like a test, sort of backdoor pilot to see, 'Well, let's see how that goes.' I think when the result of it came in, it was pretty clear and to be honest, me personally I feel in love with the possibilities of telling the story in the future and married that quickly."
He also spoke about treating each of the 13 episodes as a feature film.
"One of the things that we get to do this year that I sort of found was great for telling authentic, real emotional stories is that the 13 episodes, as I said before, I'm treating them as a saga, the 13 episodes, sort of feature films. So, you'll get to track their emotional growth pattern and their relationship very carefully. So, more in store is to really get in underneath the hood and investigate those relationships."
When any show comes to a close, fans always want to know how much of the ending was planned out in advance. The showrunner talked about how certain aspects came up on the fly, and how some aspects were planned out.
"Well, it's been such a long road, twists and turns and there's so many times when you're coming into work and all of sudden like the parking attendant says, 'Hey, I thought of something. What about this?' You're like, 'Oh, my gosh. That's the greatest idea ever, man, for sure.' So, ideas come from all over and sometimes like something you thought wouldn't really be as big as it did, blows up into something else. There are certain episodes that all of a sudden just really touched people. Like (Season 2 episode) /shows/fringe/"White Tulip" came from a dream. It was a dream of mine, this image and I thought, well, why did that episode touch people? You sort of start to go and you start to figure things out. We like to be clever and say, 'Well, we knew a lot of stuff,' because we did. But, the truth is we didn't know a lot of stuff either. We did not know at the beginning on the bus that the amber was amber from the alternate universe. It was re-contextualized, but it's like it just sort of fits like a little bit of a puzzle and you go, 'Wow, that's really interesting.' So, you sort of find the things that work and the things that don't work and you kind of go from there, but it's like a living, breathing organism that you listen to. Sometimes we don't hear so well, but if you listen to it, it sort of indicates where you should go naturally. So, that idea has changed where we're going to end up to a lot and even up until the last episode. My thinking on the episode was fluctuating and vacillating between several different ideas."
With just a 13-episode order, one would assume that an off-the-wall Episode 19-style hour would be out of the question. As it turns out, J.H. Wyman teased something very special in that same vein.
"The truth is I've got something that's sort of really special planned, but I don't want to talk about it. I think it will be memorable, but it's not traditionally that, but it's the same sport. Let's just say that, but it's definitely a breadth of a difference, a step in a different direction. Is that fair?"