NY Comic Con 2009: Fringe Panel

The Fringe panel at this year's New York Comic Con turned out to be a pleasant surprise, as the whole main cast turned up for the event, along with Fringe producer Jeff Pinkner. The cast were all good sports--and that's saying a lot, considering that the moderator of the panel (some young guy from TV Guide) was one of the worst I've ever seen.

In fact, I think Joshua Jackson summed up what most of us in the room were thinking when he turned to the moderator during an awkward silence that followed yet another awkward question and said, "As the crickets chirp..."

The cast in attendance were Anna Torv, who plays lead character FBI agent Olivia Dunham; John Noble and Joshua Jackson, who play father/son mad scientists Walter and Peter Bishop; Lance Reddick, Kirk Acevedo and Jasika Nicole, who play Dunham's fellow agents in the FBI; and finally Blair Brown, who plays the sinister CEO of the biotech firm which may be responsible for all the crazy stuff that's happening on Fringe.

Everyone in the cast seemed to be pretty tight with one another--especially Noble and Jackson, who seem to have "honed their bond" in real life as well as on the show. (Did I mention that this terrible moderator also had a gift for inadvertently adding sexual connotation to just about every question he asked? Here's another gem: he remarked that Lance Reddick's character had "the biggest set [piece]" on the show. Priceless.)

A few observances: Anna Torv is even more attractive in person. Jasika Nicole is a tiny, tiny, lady. The most curious of the bunch is John Noble, though. I don't know if Noble is a method actor or not, but he definitely made it seem like there was a thin line between him and his onscreen persona, Walter Bishop. Throughout the panel he seemed aloof, staring off the side of the stage, grinning at photographers, totally missing any and all questions that were tossed his way. He even spoke like Walter Bishop (only with an Australian accent).

The cast of Fringe came to New York Comic Con

Producer Jeff Pinkner talked about all the little thematic games fans may or may not be aware exist in Fringe. He revealed that every episode of the show contains a hint about what the next episode will be about, and that those "Pattern" images which bookend every commercial break do in fact have meaning. Joshua Jackson joked that he has a working diagram detailing Fringe's hints and plot threads that has grown so big it covered his dressing room wall.

However, the funniest anecdote of all was Pinkner talking about just how crazy Fox is about marketing and promoting Fringe. Fans of the show know about "The Observer," that creepy bald-headed character who bears silent witness to all the crazy events of Fringe. Pinker confirmed that if you look hard enough, The Observer can be spotted somewhere in every single Fringe episode. He then said that Fox has taken The Observer concept way, way, too far in trying to market the show: they lobbied their asses off but ultimately failed to get Michael Cerveris, the man who plays The Observer, alongside Barack Obama as he was being sworn in on Inauguration Day! Ha!

Even Joshua Jackson confessed that he'd been seeing The Observer appear in strange places: like on the sideline of the New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles divisional playoff game this year, while Jackson himself was stuck up in the nosebleeds:

"I don't mean to be a pissy actor..." Jackson said, "...But I mean REALLY Fox? You couldn't hook a guy up?"

(Jackson also gets the award for being the most sharp-witted of the cast. The best one-liners came almost exclusively from him.)

But enough about the actors, here's everything you need to know about the rest of Fringe's season:

  • The mysterious "William Bell" everyone is searching for will turn up in the next few episodes (or have we already seen him?).
  • We will learn that there are multiple "Observers," (potentially a character we've already been introduced to.)
  • Peter Bishop's mysterious past will come to light by the end of season 1.
  • The writers of Fringe started with the ending of the series and worked back from there. So Fringe does have a planned and definitive end to it.
  • Everyone on the panel will make it to that final episode, "Though they may not look like they do now," Pinkner added with a smirk.
  • Tuesday's episode (the opening of which was screened for us) is what Pinkner called "A definite game changer." It certainly looks that way. Be sure to tune in.

Finally, during the Q&A, one guy who claimed to be a neuroscience student convinced Anna Torv to wear his special "telepathy cap," which was really just a baseball cap with tin foil and tassels on it. Torv was a good sport and donned the cap, but unfortunately Mr. Neuroscience wasn't able to telepathically deduce her phone number. Good try, my man.

That about wraps the Fringe panel at the New York Comic Con. If you aren't watching this show, you should be.

Source: New York Comic Con

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