Sunday morning at SDCC, fans packed into the normally movie-centric Hall H to say goodbye to their beloved cult hit Fringe. Waiting to see executive producer J. H. Wyman, along with stars Josh Jackson, Anna Torv, John Noble, Lance Reddick, and Jasika Nicole (poor Blair Brown couldn’t make it due to a cold) were thousands of fans (many of whom camped over night) wearing Fringe-style fedoras, making the crowd look like something out of the show’s dystopian Observageddon.
But the panel — which kicked things off with a downright jaw-dropping trailer (is that the return of Lost‘s Henry Ian Cusick we see back in the futuristic Observageddon, brotha?) — wasn’t just an emotional rollercoaster for fans bidding the series adieu, but the stars as well. Torv, Nicole, and even Reddick broke down in tears during the panel when discussing their favorite moments from other characters on the show.
For the record, Fringe fans, Nicole’s favorite scene is when Walter is at the phone booth, and he panics when he can’t remember the number to get in touch with Peter. (Sniff sniff) Another popular favorite was the Torv-tastic scene where Olivia goes into her house and realizes that Faux-livia had taken over her life. (Sniff sniff sniff) But the tears really started to flow when Reddick had a hard time describing my own personal favorite Fringe moment — when Nicole’s alterna-Astrid (who has Asperger’s Syndrome) visited our own universe to see if its Astrid was also disowned by her father. In this scene, Astrid tells alterna-Astrid that yes, her father was also distant, but only because he didn’t know how to be there for her. Alterna-Astrid seems to be at peace with this answer, knowing that her father’s failures were not solely due to his disappointment in having a daughter with Asperger’s. At the end of the episode, we learn that our Astrid had lied — she comes home after a long day to see her loving father waiting with a home-cooked meal. After this tearful moment, Noble joked that his favorite scene was when Peter chopped a guy’s fingers off, because “I’m not going to cry.”
As for that trailer, we learned that the original Fringe team will indeed be back: Removed by Peter and Olivia’s daughter after spending 20 years frozen in amber. In 2609 AD, the Observers destroyed the planet — and as we saw last year, they traveled back in time to establish some horrific dystopian society. In the trailer, we see mention that William Bell’s (Leonard Nimoy) services might be needed to help the insurgent Fringe team save the world. The premiere, which will air on September 28, will pick up the day after we left Peter, Etta and co. in the Observageddon future, in the year 2036. (But the real question is — can they somehow sneak in Lincoln Lee?) Later in the panel, three ladies dressed as Observers asked Wyman why we haven’t seen any female Observers yet. Wyman said that there is a reason for this, and we will find out soon.
The rest of the panel was a giant love-fest, with each actor waxing poetic about the others. But Nicole did find time to poke fun at Reddick’s Comic-Con “disguise”: “When we got here, I thought I was going to do my hair different as a disguise for Comic-Con. Lance was wearing a Breaking Bad hat. He thought that was going to be his disguise. He’s like, ‘They’re going to think I’m a fan!’ Then fans swarmed him. He’s the tallest, darkest, handsomest man at Comic-Con.!
Of course, things eventually turned to sex. After Torv unfortunately began a sentence with “I’ve learned to come…” and then paused, the rest of the cast (and the crowd) exploded with laughter. But Torv was a good sport. “I’ll tell you what, that’s what we need to get Olivia to do!” (Meaning orgasm on screen, of course.) But that wasn’t the last orgasm joke we’d hear this panel. Nobel began reminiscing on his first scene, where he put on a big beard in the asylum, then turned to the camera and said, “I knew you’d come.” The actor then turned to Torv and said, “Speaking of!”
All of this sex talk reminded Nicole of the racy fan fiction that exists on the internet. “By the way, Anna and I have read some of that fan-fic out there,” she said. “You guys are scandalous!” Torv joked that they just haven’t found the time to shoot it yet.
Of course, Noble noted that it’s not sex or sci-fi that keeps Fringe fans hooked — it’s love. “What we’ve learned is about the power of love in this story. What holds things together is the power of love. Between all the characters there has developed genuine love. The love between father and son, the love between Peter and Olivia.” Noble then added that he thinks a future Fringe film is very possible.
When all was said and done, the audience in Hall H gave them all a deserving standing ovation.
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[Photo credit: Fox]