When Wetpaint Entertainment had a chance to visit the Fringe set in Vancouver, courtesy of Warner Brothers, we had a very enlightening conversation with John Noble, who plays our favorite nutty professor, Walter Bishop.
At the time of the interview, every cast member was very much alive on the show, and we took John’s answers as interpretations of a distant past that the viewer never saw on-screen. But hindsight is 20/20, and we understand now what John meant when he talks about a great shift in Walter’s son, Peter (Joshua Jackson).
Read on for clues on how the Fringe family will handle one of the greatest shockers on the sci-fi show.
Wetpaint Entertainment: Walter had a lot of anger toward Peter and William Bell at the beginning of the season. Who does he find as his biggest ally going forward?
John Noble: Going forward, Peter will go through his own transitions. I promise you, that is really exciting. Joshua is doing an amazing job. But the team re-bonds. It has to. These people have now become the rebels. They will become tense, and they will become frustrated with each other, but then they have to come back and bond together. The level of affection between the principal characters is really deep, and I think we've seen that build up over the four seasons. It's really very fundamental stuff. It's like a family. We would die for each other, literally. So that's what holds us together.
When Peter and Olivia are grieving the loss of Etta, do you know where that leaves Walter?
One of the things that we as actors have to look at is, what happens to people in the grieving state. And people respond at different levels to grieving. Some people will respond with denial, some people will respond with depression, some with anger, and some with acceptance. All of the characters have slightly different reactions to the death, and that's quite planned. So you'll see, for example, a very angry and focused Peter. Walter is, I think, having been through this situation himself with the loss of his own son — and having made such a poor decision to go and steal one from the other universe — is more circumspect about it and more accepting. So the true Walter comes through as a wiser man, and is able to show that for the others. And I know certainly the devoted fans will be astute enough to see what we're trying to do and go, "Oh, that's interesting." We always work really hard on the character stuff — to try to make the subtleties work.
You were mentioning the old Walter coming out. Is there one character more than others who brings that out in him?
No, the characters are shifting. You could say Peter might bring it out more, because Peter is also shifting in the most amazing way. I don't think Walter could ever be mean to Olivia. I think Walter just adores her. He was bad enough when she was a little girl; he's not going to do it again. And, well, poor Astrid. I'm always picking on her.
What would it take for Walter to remember Astrid's name?
Oh, probably about seven seasons.
The final season of Fringe airs Fridays at 9 P.M. ET on FOX.
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