Hats off to Warner Bros. TV: Fans of Fringe who packed Hall H (capacity: roughly 6,500) at Comic-Con Sunday were given grey fedoras to wear. We live-bogged the panel for the Fox drama that will air its fifth and final season beginning Sept. 28.
10:06 a.m. An exclusive reel is presented. “They came without warning. They took our world. They enslaved our citizens. To save our future we must look at our past.” Okay this looks good. Wait, that’s Walter being released from amber! “We finally ruined” our world, he says. And is that Peter and Olivia’s daughter, Henrietta? Chills. Here comes Leonard Nimoy, more explosions, and this; “Rise up. Strike back.” Says Peter, “I think it’s time we cause a few fringe patterns of our own.” Promises Walter, “I know how to rid the world of the observers.” Clip over. Now the panel: Exec producer Joel Wyman, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Anna Torv, Jasika Nicole.
10: 11 a.m. Lights go up. Fans are holding up white cards with white tulips printed on them. Nice. Where’s Blair Brown? She’s got a cold and couldn’t travel. Wyman shoots a video of the crowd saying ‘We miss you Blair.’ He’s gonna tweet it to her. And it turns out that nifty trailer that was just shown was a sales tool to get a season 5 pickup from Fox. Production hasn’t even started yet!
10:15 a.m. Wyman said he’s had ideas since season one about how he wanted the series to end, “but those change because people bring things to the pie that you don’t expect. I had two and a half versions of what I should do at the end and I decided about a month ago.” He did tell the cast how it will end. “In past years we haven’t,” Wyman admits. “We want to write the scripts early to make sure everything is absolutely perfect. If I’m doing that, I wanted to make sure the actors had enough time to bring their ideas and to know where they are going for the final season. I want to make sure they had enough advance warning.” Adds Jackson, “We all want the show to end well, so we want the chance to do our best job.”
10:17 a.m. Wyman said they decided to have an Observer book written that is told through the prism of September’s perception. “We are trying to give you guys back so much because without you, we would not be here. This is the little show how that could.”
10:18 a.m: Nicole talks about how Astrid connects with fans. “Fortunately the relationship that John and I have in real life translated on camera, so this beautiful connection evolved in the storytelling. Astrid’s first big episode was realized because of her relationship with the doctor. It was a lovely way to explore this burgeoning relationship. You saw how much heart she had. I could get killed off in my first show. And I didn’t die! I made it to the fifth season!” Reddick talks about how fans are surprised to see him smile in real life. Nicole joked about how Reddick tried to disguise himself at Comic-Con by donning a Breaking Bad hat. It didn’t work. “He’s the tallest handsomest man at Comic-Con,” she says.
10:22 a.m. Jackson said he’d like to aspire to Peter’s nobility in real life. Torv says the biggest lesson she’ll learn from her character is “to come.” Um, sexual innuendo much, Torv? That didn’t come out the way she wanted, and the crowd starts to giggle, as does the cast. “I feel that’s what Olivia needs to learn to do,” Torv quips.
10:29 a.m. Will Olivia and Peter get their happy ever after? Jackson says, “these two will get the final chapter of their story.” Gee thanks, buddy. “The fun part of it is, and not to just be producer-y, but the fun part is the process of discovery. We aren’t trying to tease you, but it’s fun to watch it week to week. The characters don’t end when the show ends.”
10:31 a.m. Favorite scenes time. For Nicole, it’s when Walter is in the phone booth and he can’t remember the phone number to reach Peter. Then she starts to cry remembering the scene when Olivia walks into her home and sees how her doppelganger has taken over her life. Now Torv is crying! Torv then tears up more, as does Reddick, when recalling Astrid scenes. Oh man, it’s a weep-fest. Noble takes the baton. “I, too, am sensitive,” he deadpans. “I love it when Peter chops that man’s fingers off. I’m not going to cry.” Jackson then apologizes that he doesn’t have tears for the crowd. “I’m going to go with Seth Gable and when he was doing his doppelganger stuff. The ways that contrasted his two selves was really thought out and performed. So I’ll go with Lincoln and alt-Lincoln.”
10:39 a.m. Another clip, made specifically for Comic-Con. “We wanted to do it for you because it feels like you all have a brick in the building,” Wyman says. “From all of us and all the people in Vancouver and all the people at Fox who stuck with us … thanks to you because you really own the show with us.” It’s a recap of the show’s last four years, like when Olivia met William Bell, and when she burst through that car window. There’s that kiss between Peter and Olivia, and Peter saying “I’m not from here am I?” There is Martha Plimpton asking about a civilian consultant. Next comes the introduction of the Observer, and Olivia telling Peter she’s pregnant. Such a phenomenal show!
10:46 a.m. Fan question time. Someone refers to Jackson as Pacey; poor guy will never outlive Dawson’s Creek. Wyman won’t say for sure whether Henry Ian Cusick will come back for season 5 (though he showed up in that opening clip). An Australian dude says he camped out last night to see the panel. He asks whether Fringe will live on in other formats. “If this season goes off as we think it will, I would think a film is very possible down the track,” says Noble. “Of course it will be shot on this, in our trailer,” adds Jackson, holding up his FlipCam.
10:56 a.m. A fan asks for favorite Walter-isms. “I think vagenda still has to be topped. The vagenda line,” Jackson said. Reddick said it’s from the pilot when Walter says “I think I just pissed myself.” Nicole loves it when he calls Astrid names that don’t begin with A, like Claire. One fan then asks why there are no female observers, while two women standing behind her who are wearing the fedoras strike the observer pose and gaze to the stage. “The answer to your question will become apparent this year,” Wyman says.
11:04 a.m. The cast takes a bow. “Thank you so much!” yells Jackson.