When Fringe revealed itself to be about alternate universes, a lot of questions were raised. We wanted some answers. So we went straight to executive producers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman to ask them about "over there," as they call it, the riddle of Peter Bishop's existence, how Nina Sharp and Astrid will fit into this season's journey and the Observers (yes, Observers plural).
TVGuide.com: Have we ever seen "over there" before we went to Dr. Bell's office in the season finale?
Jeff Pinkner: Yes, in the penultimate episode [of last season], Olivia traveled over there three times, I think. She was, specifically, in Broyles' office, in the bullpen with Charlie, who had a scar on his face, and on a street in Boston where we saw all kinds of vandalism and the buildings were burned out. That was "over there."
TVGuide.com: Will we always know whether we are "over here" or "over there"?
Pinkner: Have we been secretly over there when there weren't clues? No. When Olivia crosses over, she'll be aware and the audience will be aware. We're not trying to trick anybody. We play all kinds of games on this show, but we're not going to trick our audience.
TVGuide.com: Will we see "other" versions of all the main characters?
Pinkner: I think we all hope so.
Joel Wyman: I think so.
TVGuide.com: Can two versions of the same person meet?
Pinkner: For sure.
Wyman: Of course. Yes.
TVGuide.com: Does anything detrimental happen when they meet?
Pinkner: Well, they might not like each other. But it's not like one of them has to explode. This isn't a time-travel show. There are no philosophical or physical conundrums with two people meeting. Somebody has come from their house to visit somebody at their house. And they just happen to be the same person.
Wyman: It would have existential repercussions, in that the person would realize they were seeing themself. I mean, that would be mind-blowing.
TVGuide.com: Can we draw any conclusions about how those two people would relate? Would they be opposites necessarily?
Wyman: No, they're just different in that your life is determined by the choices that you make, and it's all about perception. The person on the other side has made different decisions, because of fate or whatever, so they'd be in a different place.
TVGuide.com: So it's like that Gwyneth Paltrow movie.
Wyman: Sliding Doors or Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique, yes.
TVGuide.com: So can we assume that Walter kidnapped "over there" Peter to replace a Peter who died?
Pinkner: It's certainly an assumption; we're not going to verify it.
TVGuide.com: I'm going to ask these questions like that's what happened then. Is "over there" Walter angry about "over here" Walter taking Peter?
Wyman: You could assume that, sure.
Pinkner: Assuming he liked him. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Is "over there" Walter still working with William Bell?
Pinkner: Over there Walter may have never worked with William Bell. He might have gone to medical school instead of being a scientist. But it's very possible that over there Walter is working with over there William Bell — and in the same field.
TVGuide.com: Will we meet Peter's mother this season?
Wyman: You're definitely going to get answers about Peter's mother this season. That element will be very illuminating and also a fantastic journey for Peter.
TVGuide.com: Is she alive?
Pinkner: No comment.
Wyman: Suffice it to say it's definitely impactful, and it's something that we want to have our viewers really experience the whole thing with Peter, that's the only thing I wouldn't want to allude to anything...
TVGuide.com: Blair Brown told us her character, Nina Sharp, and William Bell can never be in the same room at the same time; is that true?
Pinkner: No, but it's delightful and entertaining to hear her say it. I think that in the best possible way, Blair has a perspective on the show that isn't necessarily accurate. I can tell you that Nina Sharp and William Bell haven't been in the same room for some time, in over a year.
TVGuide.com: Does Dr. Bell control her arm?
Wyman: No. That's really interesting, but no.
Pinkner: Imagine how complicated her life would be.
Wyman: Or fun. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Was she lying when she told us what happened to her arm way back in the pilot?
Pinkner: No, she was telling the truth. There might be other truths as well, but that was the truth.
TVGuide.com: Was it actually chopped off when she was "crossing over"?
Wyman: No, she definitely lost her arm to cancer. That's accurate. One great thing about Nina is that she's like one of those great books where you turn the page and there is something new that you didn't see coming. It's always about what she chooses to share.
TVGuide.com: Are Nina and Broyles together now or was that kiss the remnants of a past relationship?
Pinkner: I think the latter, but that doesn't mean they aren't going to get together in the future.
TVGuide.com: I hear we are going to be seeing more than one Observer this season. Will they all have the same advisory capacity as the one who helped Walter remember?
Wyman: We're going to learn a lot more about them. People are fascinated by them. There will be a lot of answers about the Observers this season.
Pinkner: We're going to find out a deeper mythology of which we only started to scratch the surface.
TVGuide.com: One of them is named September. Does that mean there are 12?
Pinkner: Not necessarily. I mean, there's a January Jones, but I don't think she has 11 sisters. The Observer who we've met has been the same [entity]. We've met an Observer, whose name was blurted out by Josh Jackson on a talk show.
TVGuide.com: How will Astrid's role change going into Season 2?
Wyman: Jeff and I have discussed this a lot. We do have things for her that we'd love to incorporate this season. She's a fun character to write for.
Pinkner: We've focused a lot on Walter and Peter and Olivia, of course, but as the season went on, we learned a lot about Astrid. We have plans for Astrid; we just haven't played them yet so we can focus on other things.
What burning questions do you have for the folks at Fringe? Post them in the comments section below.