For five seasons “Fringe” has tackled alternate universes, different timelines and stories in the past, present and future.
But when it came time to wrap things up, showrunner J.H. Wyman’s priority wasn’t on answering every little question the show had raised. Instead, he focused on closure for the lead characters.
“Hopefully people understand you can’t answer everything,” Wyman says. “Not everything is important. At the end of the day, I think people are impassioned about the show because of the characters. Nobody’s watching the show to see how a piece of science tech works. It’s intriguing and definitely part of the DNA (of ‘Fringe’), but I think I’d get a lot more complaints if it wasn’t focused on the main characters and what they’re going through.”
That’s not to say the final hours of “Fringe” won’t answer some series-long questions.
“The criteria we laid out were the things that need to be answered are connected thematically to what I wanted to say (in the final season),” Wyman says. “I know people are very interested in the Observers.”
With only 13 episodes to achieve this, Wyman dove right into the development of the show’s last season.
“I locked myself in my room for about four days and came up with a structure for how I wanted to tell the story,” he says. “We brought it into the writers, talked to the actors and told them the entire journey. I wanted this season to be one continued experience: these three odysseys — 13 stories — about one story.
“I knew where the story was going to go, but there are certain specifics with the episode that didn’t become clear to me until I was figuring it out during the breaking of the season and writing.”
While many mythology-based shows have had notoriously controversial endings, Wyman insists that was not his goal with “Fringe.”
“I’m not interested in pulling tricks where there’s an entire fourth universe and it was in the mind of an autistic child,” he says. “I really respect ‘St. Elsewhere,’ and I’m not making fun of it — I think it’s one of the greatest shows on television — and it was so genius because nobody had done it before.
“This is not for us. I think I would have personally been upset if I was watching the show and all of the sudden they did this controversial thing just for being controversial. I’m not here to stoke the embers of discontent.”
In fact, Wyman notes “everybody was in sync” with how “Fringe” ends.
“They heard it, loved it and felt this is it,” he says. “I know I can speak confidently on behalf of all the writers, the creative executives and the people involved in the show at Fox and Warner Bros. that this was the right thing to do.”
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