Exclusive: Fringe Producers on Peter and Olivia’s First Meeting…and Their Future!
Fringe heads back to 1985 again this week (Friday, 9/8c, Fox) for more of the Bishop back story, and — if you’ve seen the promos — it turns out some of our heroes have known each other a lot longer than any of them realize. So we grabbed executive producers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman for an exclusive, spoilery chat about the heartbreaking episode, what Peter and Olivia’s fateful encounter 26 years in the past means for their future, and of course, alterna-babies.
TV Guide Magazine: First off, I hear you’re tweeting during the show tomorrow night? You’re gonna be bombarded.
Joel Wyman: We love the fans and it’s so great to be able to communicate with them.
TV Guide Magazine: How long have you been planning to reveal that Peter and Olivia met when they were kids down in Jacksonville?
Jeff Pinkner: We have known it for a long time, how and when we were going to reveal that was determined while we were writing the episode.
TV Guide Magazine: The episode also explains how Walter and his wife convinced Peter that he was their son after Walt stole him from the alternate universe, and it’s pretty devastating.
Wyman: The biggest moment in the episode when we were writing it was that moment…it is huge for Elizabeth (Orla Brady) going forward. This is the beginning of the end for her, because we know that, ultimately, she ends up killing herself when Peter was 17. This is that first lie.
TV Guide Magazine: And without spoiling anything, you also give us a massive Walternate moment that I had to actually watch twice to figure out.
Pinkner: Yeah, how cool was that?
TV Guide Magazine: Now, you seem to be calling back to old episodes lately. Last week, you invoked the ambered bus from Season 1’s “Ghost Network.” This week, we get a lot of “White Tulip” references — as well as the back story on that burnt room in the video of young Olive.
Wyman: The “White Tulip” stuff is all connected thematically because that was the episode where Walter believes in God. And that is going to come back…it’s a very big part of the season finale and where Walter is going to be.
Pinkner: We’ve always said that we plant seeds that grow and pay dividends in later seasons, so we’ll plant seeds and leave it open to discovering how.
TV Guide Magazine: Now let’s talk about Peter and Olivia. Where are you taking them from this point?
Wyman: The next couple episodes are going to be very surprising. A big unexpected obstacle is going to come between them…for a while.
TV Guide Magazine: Would this be Bolivia’s alterna-baby?
Pinkner: Nope. Really unexpected…new to you.
TV Guide Magazine: So how long will you keep Peter in the dark about Bolivia’s pregnancy?
Pinkner: Perhaps until next season.
Wyman: Yeah, we’re thinking about maybe holding it off.
TV Guide Magazine: Seriously?
Wyman: There’s a good reason for it. We can’t tell you now, but we’re trying to do something now that nobody’s ever done and we’re excited for our season finale. It’s something we’re really excited about.
Pinkner: And it’s still seven episodes off.
Wyman: And because of this, we may have to hold it off.
TV Guide Magazine: You know some folks are not happy about this baby, right?
Pinkner: Let us take your temperature on it. It seems to us that people are pissed about the baby because they think we, as writer-producers, are trying to create a situation where Peter and Bolivia will end up together, and the fans want Peter and Olivia together. Is that your read?
TV Guide Magazine: I think so. It’s the thing that could keep Peter and our Olivia apart. But I will say, there is also a faction that really sees why he’d fall for Bolivia. Even if they seem destined to be together from this week’s episode.
Pinkner: In the best story of star-crossed lovers, they don’t get together in the first act. Our intention is to have a long shelf life. The Peter-Olivia story will always be at the heart of it, but it may not always be smooth sailing.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you think there could be a shared custody between universes?
Wyman: [Laughs] I suppose if for some reason Bolivia died or was out of the picture, Peter could take the baby and Olivia could adopt it.
Pinkner: Or there could be a world where Peter is out of the picture and Olivia gets romantically engaged with Bolivia. That would be weird.
Wyman: Then they would move us to cable! [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: What about an Olivia-Lincoln pairing? He’s clearly in love with Bolivia, so it would follow that he, like Peter, would be attracted to a woman who was essentially the same
Pinkner: In theory.
Wyman: That would be a good couple.
TV Guide Magazine: I gotta ask, are we ever gonna see alternaNina?
Pinkner: Ever? Yes. Not necessarily soon, but yes. And we are going to see a different version of Nina soon, as well, but also in a way that is unexpected. There is some cool stuff coming up.