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Fringe‘s Executive Producers on Building the World of Fringe: Part II

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Hot on the heels of an amazing season three premiere comes part II of the interview with Fringe‘s executive producers, Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman, who were kind enough to speak to some of us members of the press a couple of days ago.

And, as always, there are spoilers ahead!

One theme that comes up again and again in interviews with Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman is the fact that they had so much liberty creating a whole new world. While they had to set it within certain parameters and rules, which, once set, they can’t break, choosing these parameters and rules was up to the Fringe team – and it seems like they enjoyed every minute of it.

Of course having a storyline that involves an alternate universe also allows for even more fun. Jeff Pinkner explains how one of the things they love about this concept is that is gives them an opportunity to build their own world, into which they have put a lot of time and attention. Again, both executive producers commended the attention and dedication of the Fringe production team, as well as the people  in Vancouver with whom they had to work.

While working within the framework of an extraordinary concept, i.e. that of alternate universes, the production team asked itself about life in its most mundane forms, like that of daily routines. Of course, it also gives way to posing one of the most intriguing questions: what if? As Pinkner reminds us, one of the most obvious ‘what if’ Fringe has asked is what if the White House had been hit instead of the Twin Towers?

The perfectionist mindset of the Fringe production team gives way to “a level of attention and details [that] shocks and delights even [the executive producers]” – which of course bodes very well for us fans.

Another great aspect of having alternate universes is, of course, working with two versions of the same characters. Pinkner tells us that we are going to be spending a lot of time with a very different version of Broyles – one who “is still married and how he is consequently a different person.” We also are going to get to see the adult version of an Olivia who wasn’t, essentially, abused as a child (through the trials of Walter and William). These trials have shaped her worldview, a view that Bolivia doesn’t share. It’s going to be all the more interesting to see how Olivia is going to react to Scarlie, who in our universe was her close friend and whose loss was a burden to her for the longest time.

Pinkner seemed very excited about the endless possibilities with regards to storytelling: “So for our characters and for us, as storytellers, exploring these characters [will] hopefully [make] people in the audience think, ‘Oh, what if I instead of breaking up with that guy back in college I had married him?  What would my life be like right now?’ It seems to us like Facebook is so much an opportunity for people to explore the choices they made and reconnect with people from their past and imagine how their life would be different or ‘What happened to this person?’ It’s such a subconscious theme in our world these days that we get to play it actively through our show.”

It is a very intriguing concept, all the more that all of the main characters are now going to be aware of doppelgangers of themselves on the other side. “So it’s not just going to be Olivia and Bolivia,” Wyman told us, “and that’s going to be neat because that’s something that we want to investigate. Imagine seeing a version of yourself that’s just a little better.”

And methinks these are definitely going to be themes I am going to be exploring in reviews of season three episodes as well as on The Fringe Report.

Of course the one set of characters that is going to be most intriguing is that of Olivia and Bolivia. Pinkner explained to us that, as clearly seen in the season two finale of Fringe, Bolivia is “charged with the notion that people from our side have invaded their world, have damaged their world, that we are the enemy and Walter’s lying. We are monsters in human skin. She’s now going to spend time living with our characters, living with Walter, living with peter, living with Broyles and just exploring our world. Of course, it’s going to affect her worldview. Of course it is – and that’s one of the things we’re really interested in. At the same time, she’s an agent with a mission and she’s very loyal, dedicated to the life she’s living and to the people she works for.”

“And therein lies the conflict. On the one hand, we love these characters that we met on the other side. Lincoln Lee, played by Seth Gabel, is just delightful. We’re so thrilled to have Kirk Acevedo back. Lance Reddick is really playing two versions of Broyles. We had a conversation with him yesterday. It was odd because it really felt like we were talking about a character, and not about a performer playing two different characters. It’s a unique situation where we have actors creating different characterizations of characters that they’ve already created.”

“Walternate is so different from Walter, and yet so understandable. His son was taken; it changed his worldview very much, but we get to see from the backend of the telescope how events changed these characters.”

“Olivia is going to spend time interacting with all of these characters and that’s going to change her worldview as well.”

Of course, this fits perfectly with the theme of perception that Fringe has assiduously been picking apart since its first season. It’s going to be very interesting to follow the conversations in various fan forums, and see how far this philosophical question is going to be taken.

Another question which has been both assiduously picked apart by the Fringe production team and discussed at ends by the fans is that of family, which, what with Peter now knowing the truth, is bound to reach another level of understanding. Stayed tuned for part III of the interview with Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman discussing Walter, Walternate, Peter, and the family drama that has been underlying Fringe ever since its pilot episode.

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