Joshua Jackson Cheers Fringe's Vanishing Act – and How It Will Save the Peter/Olivia Romance by Matt Webb Mitovich
Joshua Jackson is sorry if you fretted over his fate (as well as that of Peter Bishop’s) after his Fringe alter ego literally flickered out of existence in the Season 3 finale. But he assures you it was in the name of several greater goods — including boosting the Peter/Olivia romance.
Reflecting on early this spring, at which time he first got word that Peter might cease to exist, Jackson tells TVLine, “They brought me in as part of the [creative] process at the end, because there was a lot of debate internally about whether to finish [the season] with that or not, because it is such a big thing to do. And I was very much on the pro side.”
Why would an actor vote in favor of his character disappearing? Jackson’s rationale was two-fold. “One, it was the right ending for that season’s story – it almost had to be,” he says of the story arc in which Peter confronted his destiny as the “trigger” for a doomsday machine.
Jackson’s second reason for validating Peter’s vanishing: “I was never a real huge fan of the Peter/Olivia storyline,” he concedes. “All of Fringe is on this epic scale, and that seemed kind of banal to me at the center of it.”
But now, in the wake of Peter’s season-ending act and its dire ramifications, his connection to Olivia (played by Anna Torv) “is on an epic scale as well,” Jackson notes. “This guy sacrificed himself for the woman that he loves, which made that relationship more interesting and it launched us into the off-season with this ‘Holy s—t!’ moment.”
Getting back to those fretting Fringe fans, I asked Jackson if he had words of reassurance, any sort of promise that they will get their fill of Peter (and thus him) despite a season-opening storyline that would seem to limit his presence. The gist of his missive: the show, and I, would never betray you.
“Part of the reason they ended up making the decision to go with that cliff-hanger is because there’s a belief, given how passionate our fans are, that there is a level of trust in us — and we are all keenly aware of not violating that trust,” he shares. “So as much as there was a freak-out and panic, it was done with the hope that everyone understands that we’d never [mess] with our audience, which has been so faithful to us and kept us on the air.
“It was just a case of stealing a page out of [executive producer] J.J. Abrams’ playbook,” he continues, “and keeping people on their toes with anticipation… and then hopefully satisfying their desire.”
Fox’s Fringe premieres its new season on Friday, Sept. 23, at 9/8c.