Fringe Season 4
Credit: Liane Hentscher/Fox
Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv)
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Fringe‘s fourth season is a reset. Yes, that term is often overused among TV bosses, but last year, the show literally made their main character disappear. I think it’s a warranted declaration in this case.

Today, executive producers J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner hopped on the phone for an extremely geek-tastic chat with reporters to explain how this new frontier of Fringe storytelling would affect the show and our beloved characters (in both worlds). Oh, and they talked a bit about that tiny question of Peter’s return. [Minor spoilers ahead.]

Having seen Joshua Jackson doing promotion this summer, there’s no need for a spoiler alert on news that Peter will be back. But how he returns is what the Fringe bosses seemed most excited about. “Just because he doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that those three years we’ve invested all didn’t happen. It did happen. And it will all unfold itself for you to understand what context I’m speaking,” says Wyman. Pinkner adds: “The show constantly tries to recontectualize your perception of this story…. The idea that Peter is gone — and, ultimately, he’s not permanently gone — is an opportunity to recontectualize the story and what we’ve seen again. It’s something we love to play with.”

And, as expected, his return will not be problem-free. Pinkner says the consequences of his return will “give us an engine for the greater part of the season.”

Another driving force this season will be the opportunity to see further parallels and differences in the two worlds via the characters. When the season returns, some episodes will feature cases in which both worlds must work together. The storytelling device, says Wyman, better enables them to tell the story of “how are these universes going to work together to heal their joint damage now that they have a means to do so … This offered us a good opportunity to … watch how the two Olivias are looking at problems very differently. It goes back to our major theme: Our experiences are who we are.”

Other teasy bits from the conversation:

+ Lincoln Lee’s story is very important this season. “He brings us a certain thematic element that we really needed to tell this year. A lot of the things his character will be going through will help us tell our story,” Wyman says. “One of the themes we’re really interested in getting into this year is the impact we have on each other’s lives. We’re defined by the connections we make, and who we know, and who knows us, and how we define other people.”

+ There will be returning faces this season, but per the show’s tradition, they’ll be back in “a completely different context.”

+ The opening titles this year are orange and stand for the universe without Peter. “It’s a different chapter,” Wyman says.

+ Liked “L.S.D.” and “Brown Betty”? Yup. There’s another one “that’s off the beaten track,” says Wyman.

+ Walternate is still up to no good. “Despite all promises to the contrary — he is still a bad guy, manipulating things behind the scenes. So that’s another story we’re going to be delving into,” Wyman explains.

+ Case teases — This is all we got: “time travel,” “out-of-control biology” and “humans who mess with the rules of nature.” Make of that what you will!

The new season of Fringe begins Friday!

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Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv)
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