Fringe cast members basked in an outpouring of fan love during their last appearance at Comic-Con on Sunday, in recognition of the show’s fifth and final season (comprised of 13 episodes), which will begin filming next week. Unlike previous years, the cast members have been told more details about the season’s storylines and how their characters will be affected. The premiere episode will be set in 2036, and Olivia (Anna Torv) is alive, but not pregnant.
The cast has been coming to Comic-Con since the show began, and its increasing popularity was acknowledged by organizers who moved the panel from Ballroom 20 to the 6,000-seat Hall H. After the panel, co-stars Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv sat down with members of the press to talk about the show’s success and how they hope to make the final season their best yet. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
ANNA TORV: It is the first time. We’re also going into the fifth season knowing this is our last, and that’s exciting too. It’s a really luxurious position that we’re in, and I don’t think anybody is going to squander that.
How are you mentally preparing for when you go back to shooting?
TORV: We start next week, and I think my focus is just going to be doing the best job that I can, to finish the game well and end strong. I’m not thinking about goodbye. It’s the journey that you want to focus on. The end is the reward. It’s the journey you want to make count. I know this is the end, but we haven’t even started shooting this season, so I’m still in motion. I’m not reflective yet.
Are you ready to say goodbye to Fringe?
JOSHUA JACKSON: Yes, I’m ready because the opportunity we have to properly finish our show is maybe the rarest thing that can happen, in the television world. The last two years, there has been a contingency plan to end the show, and we could have put a reasonably satisfying ending to any one of those seasons, but you still would have had to jam the ending in. Now, we have 13 hours to tell a whole ending to this story, and I couldn’t be more excited about that. It’s a gift for us, who make it, and it’s a gift for the fans, hopefully, if we don’t screw it up. It’s the nice version of the story. It’s the non-Firefly, non-Millennium version of the story, where everybody who has put in the time gets the chance to walk away. Not everybody is going to like the ending because it’s an ending, and that’s the way endings are, but everybody who has put in the time is going to have the opportunity to go with it through its entire life cycle. It’s just the opportunity for us to properly say goodbye to the people who have come on the journey with us. That’s just beautiful.
TORV: Being able to put all of my heart into Olivia. It’s the first time, in a couple of years, that I’ve just had her to play with.
What science fiction topics are you excited to tackle, given everything that has already been covered?
JACKSON: The colonization idea is something we haven’t done. I think the humans as rebels is something that’s new to us. What’s most important to me is the emotional core of the show. It is what has carried us through all those left turns, alternate universes and alternate characters. What I’m most interested in tackling, at the end, is the final chapter of these characters’ story, and figuring out what the emotional dynamic is and where we want to leave it. We get to choose now where all of those characters finish.
Anna, how was it saying goodbye to Fauxlivia?
TORV: That was hard, tough and sad. I loved the alternate universe and Fauxlivia. We’ve said goodbye, but I’m still hoping she will pop back, in some incarnation. But, I don’t know.
TORV: That’s what I’m going to think about and work on. At the moment, no, I don’t. I’ve said that a lot to the guys. Some people just aren’t meant to be happy. Sometimes they are just loners, and I have a feeling Olivia is just that. In saying that, I am an advocate for Olivia and Peter. Olivia is a loner, and I wonder if she needs to go to that extreme and come back. I think that’s this season, for her.
Assuming you know what the direction will be for this season and where it will end, are you satisfied with what it could be, and do you think the audience will be satisfied?
JACKSON: Am I satisfied? Yes. Do I think the audience, as one monolithic block, will be satisfied? No. That’s never the case. Not everybody will be satisfied, and I actually think that’s good. Part of the beauty of a long-format story is that the characters become as much yours as they are mine, and you dream of them in a different way than I do. So, when we do get to an end, we are making a choice. I’m hoping that not all the characters die, so there’s a possibility that, even though the cameras stop rolling, those characters live on. There will be some hard feelings, I’m sure, at the end, but I’m still happy that we get to tell our end, for better or for worse.
If you could create the ending for the show, how would it end?
TORV: That’s something I’ll answer after. I don’t want to say because I don’t want to allude to what’s happening. This is the first time we know what we’re doing for this season, so therefore I don’t want to be imagining things that I want. I want to be totally committed to what we are doing.
What is Fringe’s greatest accomplishment?
JACKSON: [Fringe] is not unique in this because I think all good science fiction can accomplish this, particularly in the television format, but its greatest accomplishment is having human characters at the center of a huge, epic story, really having a believable heroine, and this beautiful father-son dynamic that is a very rare thing to put into a story. John [Noble, who plays Walter Bishop] created this beautiful, human, broken, tortured, funny, witty, scary character that is totally unique and instantly relatable, which is the hardest thing in the world to do. Maybe that’s our greatest accomplishment: John Noble.
To catch up on all of our Comic-Con 2012 coverage, click here.