Comic-Con 2012: Joshua Jackson on ‘Fringe’ Season 5

At the “Fringe” panel at Comic-Con for the final season, everyone teared up and continued to tear up as they gave some of their last press interviews afterwards. Joshua Jackson maintained a strong front though, and refused to cry in a roundtable interview.

We spoke with Josh about what’s going to happen for Peter, Walter and Olivia in the fifth and final season, and why he thinks it’s not a time for tears yet.


Q: We’re going to make you cry.

Joshua Jackson: It did get a little Barbara Walters up there. Am I just an ***hole or is this more of a joyful thing?

Q: You still have 13 [episodes], so you could feel tears.

Joshua Jackson: Yeah, if you start crying before you start shooting the season, it’ll be a long year.

Q: When you learn what was revealed in the panel, like the season is set in 2036, what is important to you about Peter’s journey in season five?

Joshua Jackson: Exactly, everything which you already knew which was revealed in an hour of us not answering questions directly, yes. I’m going directly into politics after this is over. The journey itself is important so I’m really excited.

I had such a good time with Georgina Haig, who plays my daughter. So I’m actually excited to go back and have more than one scene to do with her. She’s a lovely young woman and she brings a real vitality and energy and in the way that she chose to play that character, there’s a combination of Olivia’s cold steel and Peter’s more off the cuff ability to adapt on the fly. So that, I think, will be a ton of fun. I think it’ll add an interesting wrinkle into Peter and Walter’s relationship now that Peter is a father and can share the concerns that Walter has had.

As a son, as a child, you always feel a little bit like mom, dad, lay off, I’ll be fine. I think Peter’s had a bit of that with Walter every time he’s terrified to let him go out of the house. Now being a father, I think there’ll be a whole new avenue of communication or understanding between those two guys. I think the end of the journey for Peter, I think there are two important things.

I’m not purposefully leaving myself off this list, but if we met Olivia and she was a babe in the woods, she was an innocent, she opens Pandora’s Box in the first episode and immediately wants to go back to a more innocent time, and the last four years have been her stumbling through and trying to figure that out, ultimately, her acceptance of the world as it is will be her becoming a whole human being and maybe lead her to a more happy place because I think Olivia, for all her great traits, is not particularly happy.

Getting shot twice will do that to you. That’s more Olivia’s journey, but particularly for Peter’s character, the ending of his story as I see it right now, doesn’t really involve himself so much. I think for the ending of Peter’s character, what he needs more than anything is to see Walter forgive himself for the original sin of the show, which was snatching Peter so that Walter becomes whole again. Peter’s journey as a son has been trying to make his dad whole again, and by doing that has become more of a whole human being himself. So for Peter the end of the journey is to know that his dad is all right.

Q: How much do you actually know about what happened between the season finale and everyone getting ambered?

Joshua Jackson: All of it, no. I think all of the actors have their chitty chat with [Joel] Wyman. Also because, I’m sure everybody does this, but particularly John and I geek out about this stuff all the time so I had a long conversation with Joel and we went through a lot of those things, like what would be the steps that got us into place and dealing with some of the bootstrap paradoxes that we introduced and some of the things that you just have to kind of let go or else they become a little bit impossible to resolve.

I at least feel comfortable with what the gap was, the interregnum, how about that? That’s a big word. Straight to Words with Friends after this! I think our story this year is so linear, because it’s 13, because it’s really concise, because Joel knows exactly what he wants to tell, every year of our show has had a lot of float in it as the story evolved over the course of 22 episodes, but there’s no float this year.

There’s a really specific course that the story is on. I’m not sure it becomes hugely important how we got to where we are. It does get explained in the first couple of episodes but the fact that we are there and there’s a really linear path towards the end I think is more important to season five.

Q: Is it good pressure or bad pressure, are you stepping up the game for the final season?

Joshua Jackson: My hope is we’re doing a little lab experiment, because every actor on every television show will always tell you that one of the most difficult things is when scripts come in late, you don’t know where the story’s going, it becomes difficult, particularly on a serialized show, really for ourselves map out where that character’s voice will be. 

It’s the reason I think the Peter and Walter character gained so much traction so early, because John and I made a really, really concerted effort to be like all right, regardless of the fact that we don’t know where the story’s going, we can chose what the arc of these guys is going to be in whatever story they throw at us, and I think that’s why it had traction. So this year, Joel has really brought us all in to say, “Okay, here’s where you start. Here’s where you are at the quarter way mark. Here’s where you are half way. So start thinking about it. Step up. Bring your A game. There’s no excuses about I didn’t know I was going to have a kid or else I wouldn’t have…”

So I hope that more information leads to better work all the way around so we’ll see how that goes. That being said, the amount of pressure that is lifted, maybe this is why I don’t cry because I actually feel it’s such a beautiful and unusual thing for a corporation to say, “Hey, we want to give you just one for you.”

That’s what this is. This is our year to go out, and if we’re good, to just kick ass and give a great season to the people who have stuck with our show for five years. If we’re not good, that’s on us too but to end on a grace note on a television show, I don’t need to tell you guys, you deal with this all the time, it really does not happen. So no tears for me. I’m excited.

Q: Michelle Williams said in a film panel that it might be time for a “Dawson’s Creek” reunion.

Joshua Jackson: Yeah, but she’s dead so it’s easy for her. Unless she comes back as a ghost, I don’t know how you have a reunion without one of the major players.

Q: What was your reaction when you got the script to 419?

Joshua Jackson: I’m a sci-fi geek. I thought that was awesome. To finally really delve into the Observer story I think is really cool.