Yesterday in Hall H at San Diego Comic Con, the Fringe panel reigned supreme. I was sadly not in attendance, but 6,000 lucky Fringe fans got to laugh, cry, reminisce and ruminate on the last four years of Fringe and its upcoming final season. The full panel is up in several places on the interwebs, as is the very cool preview for next season with a bit of new footage interspersed throughout clips from "Letters of Transit". I'll wait, go watch it!
Ok, now that is finished, let's get down to the meat of this panel, attended by producer Joel Wyman, Joshua Jackson (Peter), John Noble (Walter), Lance Reddick (Broyles), Anna Torv (Olivia), and Jasika Nikole (Astrid). These people, quite simply, love their show and love each other. It's fairly unusual to witness actors shedding tears when they discuss their favorite scenes – scenes they themselves were not in! The moderator challenged each actor to name a moment of Fringe where they enjoyed their costars' work. Jasika Nikole started up the waterworks when she related how moved she was when Walter couldn't remember Peter's phone number when he was lost in Boston, which started Anna Torv crying as well. Big, tough Lance Reddick betrayed his soft side as he legitimately could not keep himself from crying and his voice from breaking as he cited Astrid's moment with her doppelganger after her father had died, and then going home to her own loving father. Josh Jackson heavily complimented Seth Gabel's (Lincoln Lee) work in his scenes with his alternate self. John Noble tried to lighten things up a bit by talking about Peter chopping people's fingers off, which led to the grossest, vomit-inducing moments the cast had experienced on set (wayward eyeballs were ranked no. 1). They talked about a number of other moments on set as well, but the topic that kicked off the panel really lets the fans see how tight-knit they are, and how much they care about the shows and their loyal audience.
All present were also extremely well-versed in the plot intricacies, confusing though they are, and recalled very specific moments of revelation for themselves and their characters throughout the panel. A veteran of many conventions, I can tell you that it is rare to hear actors so immersed in the mythology and journey of the show. As Noble put it, the show is about the power of love and its ability to overcome, and they can see how this theme resonates with the audience. Also, I found it interesting that most of them enjoyed portraying their alter-egos (Alt-Broyles, Asperger's Astrid, and Faux-Livia, respectively) more than their original selves. As Olivia put it, Fauxlivia is just lighter and more fun!
Producer Joel Wyman played coy about the upcoming season, declining to give straight answers on whether Henry Ian Cusick's Simon would be back, why there are no female Observers, and what Olivia's been up to in the future. There was also much silliness (it wasn't all tears and speeches on the power of love!), most of it egged on by Jackson, who was clearly having the time of his life up there. He happily endured a few "Pacey's" and roared with laughter at a Mighty Ducks reference. Nikole was likewise quite talkative, declaring how much she loved Astrid and her connection with Walter. Again, it was a real treat hearing everyone wax poetic on their characters and they seemed very excited for what's in store for the final season. I must say, after watching this panel, now I really can't wait either!!
If you couldn't be at SDCC and are a huge Fringe fan (hell, even if you WERE at SDCC and couldn't get in the door for this panel – our intrepid OTF team said people were on line around 9pm Saturday night!), watching this panel is the next best thing to feeling all the warm and fuzzy Fringe love flying around Hall H. Check out Zimbio for a whole gallery of images from the panel, and of course, stick around the Fridge for more Fringe tidbits as we close in on the September 28 premiere of season five!