I put out feelers on Twitter to see if the world wanted a "Fringe" Comic-Con live-blog and there was some indication that even if "the world" didn't care, many people were eager for a full report on the Saturday (July 24) afternoon panel in Ballroom 20.
A fair warning: I'm a regular "Fringe" viewer, never missed an episode. But I'm not an obsessive "Fringe" viewer. I don't plan on making any mistakes, but if it happens, lemme know and I'll fix my gaffes.
Live-blog, with spoilers, after the break...
3:26 p.m. "V" ran long. Apparently sometimes Comic-Con organizers are willing to let panels go a few minutes extra to make the fans happy. Other times? Not so much.
3:28 p.m. Ummm... Random fan comes and sits on the stage and is led off by security. Whee?
3:31 p.m. The panel begins with an elaborate clip reel. We're going to be moderated by Ken Tucker, who I saw moderate a "Fringe" PaleyFest panel last year. He's a fanatical fan, so I'm sure he'll have good questions.
3:32 p.m. Tucker begins with some "Fringe" geekery about removing the three-pronged doohickeys from our upper palates. Not much laughter.
3:34 p.m. We've got executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman, the lovely Anna Torv, the always popular Joshua "Pacey" Jackson, John Noble, Lance "Lt. Daniels" Reddick, Blair Brown and the under-used Jasika Nicole.
3:35 p.m. What themes are coming this season? Pinkner says that we're going to spend a lot of time dealing with the two universes, how characters evolved differently in different universes based on different choices. Wyman says that people are interested in possibilities and choices, bringing us to the themes of duality and duplicity. The producers ask the audience if we want to see sex, specifically between Peter and Olivia. Folks squeal.
3:35 p.m. Tucker asks, "Is Peter about to embark on the most exhilarating threesome he's ever had?" Jackson ponders and asks if there's such a thing as a non-exhilarating threesome. Then he calls this whole line of questioning a bit sketchy.
3:39 p.m. Torv was very exciting when she learned that she was going to get to play both Olivia and Alt-Olivia. The performance clicked for her when she realized she had to find the things that made the characters similar rather that different. "It's so subtle, the differences," she says. Torv says that Our Olivia wants to be the best, while Alt-Olivia (Fauxlivia, if you prefer) just wants to win.
3:41 p.m. Apparently some fans think that Sam, Kevin Corrigan's character, is in Olivia's head. "I think he's absolutely real," Olivia disagrees.
3:42 p.m. Is Walternate evil? Noble says that he researched Walter so totally that he was just able to go back to his work on the way Walter used to be before his Peter decision. "They're really just choices. That's been an ongoing theme," Noble says. Everybody's got their talking points down. Choices. Decisions.
3:44 p.m. Why did Walter ask Bell to remove his memories? Well, Noble points out, we don't really know that Bell was telling the truth. "Bell's not God. He doesn't get it all right. But it was a pretty powerful thing for him to say," Noble says. Noble doesn't trust Bell. Pinkner says that another theme this year involves the use of science for good or for evil. Is it acceptable to play God, just because you have the power.
3:46 p.m. Reddick says that Alt-Broyles has enormous respect for Walternate, but he isn't sure how loyal he is or how that relationship will play out. As for Our Broyles, will he be able to detect that his team as "a mole"? Reddick hedges.
3:47 p.m. Tucker recently rewatched "Altered States." He's particularly excited by the number of nude scenes Blair Brown had, calling it "Very enjoyable." Ick. "Her arm is there, so I'm actually over there," Brown cracks regarding the other version of Nina. Brown cracks that Nicole's Astrid is her love child with Broyles, adding that there's also a history that Nina had with Peter. "But we have two, three, four more years to deal with that."
3:49 p.m. Tucker gushes over Alt-Astrid's sparkly eyes. For Nicole's part, she's amazed by how different Astrid is from Alt-Astrid. Alt-Astrid is more of a loner, more driven by logic than emotion. Nicole has an autistic sister and she drew some things from her sister in the creation of Alt-Astrid. She promises that Alt-Astrid will have a bigger role in the early episodes of Season Three.
3:52 p.m. Nicole says that she just got to see Astrid's apartment. "Now I know what color her walls are, so watch out!" she laughs.
3:53 p.m. What will the balance be between mythology episodes and stand-alones. Wyman says they know that fans love mythology episodes, but the network needs stand-alones. They've come up with something they call myth-alones. He references "White Tulip" as an episode that has the mix that they want for future episodes. That was a fan favorite and people clap. That was the Peter Weller episode, if you've somehow forgotten. "Narrative we realized that this is the right balance. We're going to to have hard mythology episodes, but we're going to have mythalones as well," Wyman says.
3:56 p.m. What impact will Leonard Nimoy's retirement have on the show? Pinkner notes that Nimoy has retired twice and come out of retirement once already for him, comparing the "Star Trek" star to Brett Favre. "We really wanted to give him a swan song role," say Pinkner, who adds that they've finished the story they have for Nimoy, but that if Nimoy wanted to unretire again, they'd have another story for him.
3:56 p.m. "It gives me the opportunity to be just an audience member for the other side," Jackson says on not getting to play an Alternate Peter. It lets him look at the alternate world and see what's missing. "Peter," he cracks. He says he's looking forward to just be a sci fi fan watching the show, rather than internalizing it through his own performance.
3:59 p.m. Jackson says that toward the end of the season, he got to revert to the rebellious, tie-cutting Peter of the pilot, but that in the finale he decided to choose to be the Peter he'd become over two seasons, the Peter who had connections. Once again, it's about making choices.
4:01 p.m. First question asks if it's hard for them to be as fantastic as they are, especially when they shoot out-of-sequence. Jackson makes a joke and nobody bothers to answer the question. They're also giving out "Fringe" t-shirts to questioners who can answer trivia questions.
4:01 p.m. Jackson asks what the picture was on the cover of the alternate universe's ZFT book. Noble jumps up and pats himself on the chest, because Walternate is on the back of the book. "Say, 'It's Walternate,'" he coaches the confused fan. The questioner's name is "Jill Risk," which Jackson thinks should be a comic book character name.
4:03 p.m. Confusing question about how Walternate would have handled if his Peter had died. Would he have gone to the Other Side? Noble is impressed with the question and his answer, again, has to do with choices and whatnot. Nicole asks the questioner what disgusting thing Walter put in the ice cream? Cough syrup!
4:05 p.m. Do the actors enjoy playing two characters? Torv finds it exhausting, but she loves it. The questioner asked all five actors, but only Torv answers. And only barely. The questioner is asked something about why Gene -- the cow -- had polka dots. The questioner is flummoxed, but Jackson fills his mouth with water and makes a bubbling sound that the questioner correctly identifies as a bong. AWESOME moment.
4:07 p.m. A questioner calls John devastatingly attractive. She asks if the rest of the cast takes advantage of Noble's status as a vocal coach. It's Reddick's turn to come up with a trivia question. He can't come up with anything. Everybody laughs, which makes Reddick flustered. It's hilarious to see Reddick flustered, since that's so totally at odds with his screen images. He ends up asking a good question, even if I don't understand. The answer is "Russia."
4:10 p.m. What piece of backstory do the actors want to see explored in Season Three? Reddick wants to see Alt-Broyles' relationship with his wife. Again, it was a question for all of the actors, answered by only one actor.
4:11 p.m. "The First People." Apparently that's referenced in the alt-credits from the Peter episode. The producers say that it's important for some reason, but they remain coy. The last question from the panel is about one of the two pot strains crossed by Walter in "Brown Betty." Somebody in the audience answers and Pinkner declares, "You get a t-shirt." And the panel ends with Jackson cracking, "And a five-to-15-year jail sentence."
And that's all... Time for "The Vampire Diaries."