When the television show "Fringe" first premiered in 2008, I had the privilege to interview Robert Chiappetta and Glen Whitman, who were the "science guys" and introduced many of the big science fiction concepts used in the show. It has been such a thrill for me to see their names appear in the credits for the show as story editors, executive story editors, consultants and for seven of the episodes, as writers. With season five being the final season of the show, I relished my last chance to get the scoop from the guys who have been with the show since the beginning.
"Everyone that we work with has really embraced the idea of making Fringe a great sci-fi drama," said Chiappetta. "While we have always drawn inspiration from 'Star Trek' and 'The Twilight Zone,' many of the ideas used in the show (such as cloning) scientists are doing right now."
"On the surface, Fringe is a sci-fi show, but the heart of the show is about relationships," said Whitman. "We get to work with incredible creative and brilliant people and it’s really a team effort to contribute to the vision and I think we’ve helped them polish the product."
Fans of the show saw a sneak peak of what is in store for season five during the season four episode, "Letters of Transit," that showed the Fringe team twenty-five years in the future. It is the year 2036 and "the Observers" are in power.
MAJOR SPOILER FROM SEPT. 28 PREMIERE EPISODE BELOW:
"Viewers will discover that 'the Observers' are not alien beings but are the evolution of humans in the future," said Whitman. "How much can we control what will happen to us in the future and are we capable of change?"
The stage has been set for an epic battle between 'the Observers' (humans of the future) and 'the natives' (humans of the present).
"We are doing lots of shout-outs to former episodes and we are letting fringe science out of the bottle to fight 'the Observers' and take back the planet,” said Whitman. "Time travel has been touched on in some level in each season but this season, we’ll face it more directly."
"We are using lots of big, fun science concepts from physics and cosmology," said Chiappetta. "We use science as a starting point and then we were able to play with the concepts and push the boundaries."
One of the things that I love the most about the show is the constantly evolving father-son relationship of Dr. Walter Bishop (portrayed by John Noble) and Peter Bishop (portrayed by Joshua Jackson).
"Walter essentially broke the universe trying to save Peter," said Chiappetta. "Over the last couple of years, Peter has been trying to put the pieces back together."
"Family has always been a strong theme throughout the series and this season we are looking at the reunion of a family," said Whitman. "The sacrifices people make and how a family weathers crisis, pain and loss."
The themes of this season spill out from the characters on the screen and echo the sentiments that I hear from Chiappetta and Whitman.
"That is what is nice about knowing the show, we’ve been able to be part of how these storylines have grown and changed from the beginning of the show," said Chiappetta.
"We are happy that we get to wrap up the show and want to do it in way that is satisfying for us and the fans," said Whitman. "We are entertainers but we want to inspire people to want to learn more about the science concepts used on the show; I would love it if twenty years from now some cutting edge scientist would say that he or she wanted to become a scientist by watching 'Fringe.'"