INTERVIEW Joshua Jackson Says Goodbye To Peter Bishop In Fringe Series Finale
The two-hour Fringe finale airs tonight on Fox in the US at 8pm EST and at the same time on Sky 1 at 1:10 am GMT. SFX – literally – just got off the phone with Joshua Jackson, who plays Peter Bishop, who talked to press about what fans can expect from the explosive finale, what he takes away from his five years as a Bishop and what he thinks will be Fringe’s legacy in sci-fi TV history.
What will you miss most about working on Fringe?
“The thing you end up missing the most actually is not what gets put on screen. The hardest thing to walk away from over a long form TV show is the camaraderie of the company, both the crew and the group of actors. Creatively, I feel like the show came to a natural and satisfactory ending. I hope that people will be satisfied with the way we put the story to bed tonight and instead of stretching the show out too long, or have it cut off in an aborted way. I feel like we got to tell the ending of the story so for that I’m really satisfied.”
What is Peter’s place in the end game in the last two hours?
“The first of the two hours [“Liberty”] really deals with Olivia’s story, almost exclusively. It gives us, in a very Fringe-y way, final insight into where she is or has been this season. Nobody other than Olivia really has much a role in that story. In the finale [“An Enemy of Fate”], as much as Walter is called to make a sacrifice, and the gang in general is trying to implement Walter and Donald’s plan, I feel like at least in the script it read pretty fairly spread across all players. Ultimately, Peter’s role has always been to be the dutiful son, husband and father. It plays out in a really specific way. Everybody is pretty engaged in the finale.”
What do you take away from your experience building Peter over five seasons?
“As an actor, I don’t know what the take away is only one month removed. The thing most satisfying to me is the work that John (Noble) and I did, and ultimately with Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman, to keep the father and son relationship as honest and dynamic as we could in the center this very large, crazy sci-fi story. It was always a point of focus for me. I loved having the chance to be on a serialised TV show, and my piece of it which was as a prodigal son who starts off doing everything to get out of this work, and then is drawn in through the love of his father, falls in love with a woman. Over the course of the seasons, he completely reverses his desire to become a really dedicated son, a solid boyfriend then husband and then crazily protective father. I think it was an interesting journey. Walter and Peter’s story mirroring each so distinctly in the fifth season is interesting. For me, as an audience member always most engaged by serialised storytelling I take away how much fun it is to play a serialised story.”
Do you think Fringe will have the shelf life of a Firefly or Star Trek ten years from now?
“This is a topic you and I can talk about for a couple of hours but a brief version of my answer is that I feel like Fringe, and it’s after life, is a test case for the new way that television works. With Firefly and Star Trek…part of what made that audience so passionate was scarcity. It was hard for the community of those shows to find them, talk about them, and disseminate them. Firefly was long before the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and fan forums. Fringe started its afterlife while it was on the air. The community of the show is currently strong and vibrant. I think it will live on in that community. Maybe as a movie, a lot of fan fiction, maybe a filmed addendum to the show or televised or a podcast, but I think Fringe is the test case for how modern cult shows will live on after they go off the air.”