It's Fringe's last stand.
Just three days into shooting the fifth and final season, Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv, Lance Reddick and showrunner J.H. Wyman waxed poetic over the final season, which sees the series jump ahead to 2036, where the Observers have taken over the Earth and the only people able to save the world is the former Fringe Division team members we've grown to know and love over the last four seasons.
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The Fox sci-fi series will say farewell in a 13-episode love letter to the fans who have stuck with the series through the low ratings, the dual universes and even the move to the so-called "death slot" Fridays. Though Fringe is ending, Jackson says it's not bittersweet for him. "All shows end," he told reporters at Fox's Television Critics Association fall TV previews Monday. "I'd rather have the ability to end well... I'm really looking forward to the process of putting this to bed together knowing that it's going to be the end so we can enjoy that ride off into the sunset." Added Torv, "You are then able to do it properly and do it right."
Even executive producer J.J. Abrams expressed his sentiments in a pre-taped video. "Fringe is a show that I'm enormously proud to be associated with," he said. "Fox has been unbelievable, going far beyond any expectations allowing the show to be on the air... Fringe has always been true to its name; a little more of an outside-the-box series... [Wyman] has come up with some remarkable stuff, and I think this is going to be far and away the best season yet."
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The final season will head to 2036, which was featured in the fourth season's 19th episode, usually reserved for some of their more "off the beaten path" story lines, Wyman noted, saying they wanted "Letters of Transit" to act as a backdoor pilot of sorts. "We had talked about this being a possibility," he said of the final season taking place in the future. "We wanted to see how people would react to it and if they would engage with it."
The main goal of the fifth season, Wyman said, is to pay off the relationships that have shaped the series over the last four years. "We've always said the show is this great family drama that is masquerading as this science fiction show," he said. "For me, [Season 5] is a metaphor for how difficult it is to have a family in this day in age." (Peter and Olivia will certainly face that problem when they're reunited with their now 25-year-old daughter after being stuck in amber for the last 20 years.)
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Wyman's personal goal for the final season was to make sure the fans who invested time in the mythology of the series would get closure through a-ha moments. "Another part of the challenge was to bring back things that you've forgotten about, some things maybe you haven't forgotten about, recontextualize them and make the series make sense, and that was a very big part of what I was after," he said. "There's going to be a lot of those [moments] and one specifically that's going to be very impactful, I hope."
Wyman echoed his earlier statements to TVGuide.com, stating that he believes the series needs to have a sense of closure, but also "a feeling of hopefulness," he said. "I truly believe that the show has a natural end... I want to see [fans] get what they deserve to get... I want to feel like what they get has been earned."
Fringe premieres Friday, Sept. 28 at 9/8c on Fox.