It's a sad day for devoted Fringe fans everywhere. Hours before the two-hour series finale airs on FOX, Michael Cerveris sat down for an in-depth discussion about the final episode and his part in the compelling science fiction drama as the original Observer named September.
Although the show's writers had planned to include his character as an important component of the Fringe mythology, Cerveris had no idea just how vital September's role would be. "Yeah, it's been kind of astounding. It's true that in the very beginning I understood it as just being a one-off. Almost before I started working actually, they had already started to feel differently," he explained. "Both [executive producers] Jeff Pinkner and J.J. [Abrams] – they saw September as having a crucial role to play, a role that was going to continue to play out throughout the series as long as it lasted. But you never know when people say that – no matter how well-intentioned, how much they believe it themselves – you never know if that's how things are actually gonna play out. I certainly never could have imagined that the fate of universes and the existence of humanity was going to be in September's, Donald's hands at the conclusion."
This season has strengthened the meaning of scenes and storylines in previous seasons, such as the Season 1 glance between September and the boy we now know as Michael, which foreshadowed the events of this season. Cerveris recalled shooting that early scene and discussed his process at the time, with no way of knowing it would pay off in such a big way years later. "No one said a word to me about what the significance was going to be. I'm sure at that time they didn't know this was what it was going to lead to. But that's a perfect example of what happened a lot of times during the series, like when I had the line, 'It must be very difficult, being a father,'" noted the actor. "So these moments like that – where I sensed that there was something significant, the writers certainly intended for there to be a significance, but nobody had made a decision about what exactly the significance was – I really enjoyed sort of trying to find those moments and fill them with meaning yet openness so it could go any one of a bunch of different directions but whenever you looked back to that moment you'd go, 'Wow, that makes perfect sense now.' And I think sometimes the writers see things that I had done that other actors did too, and they would be kind of inspired by the twist that somebody put on a line, and in looking back, they would go, 'Oh actually, because he did it that way, we can now make it mean this other thing that we didn't even know he meant at the time.' So it was partly them responding to what we did and partly us responding to what is sort of dormant in the script."
On the eve of the series finale, Cerveris promised a gratifying conclusion. "Obviously you can't please everybody, but I think the devoted Fringe fans – and the casual Fringe watchers – are gonna be profoundly satisfied with the way things play out," he teased. "It's packed with action and suspense and just full of emotional resonance, and it functions as a great thriller and suspense story and also gives plenty of time for all of the big, huge philosophical questions about life and what's important and what you're willing to sacrifice for and who you care about and what you're willing to sacrifice for them on a personal level and as part of a community and a world. It's satisfying on every one of those levels. Everything that you think you know is going to happen then you find out that's not what's going to happen and it carries on up almost to the last frames of the series. It's one really satisfying surprise and heartbreak and joy after another."
For the full interview, visit Entertainment Weekly!
As an original viewer of Fringe, I'll miss the show, but I'm glad it got the opportunity to end on its own terms. What are you expecting to happen in tonight's series finale?