Fringe Showrunner Steps Down Plus Major Spoilers Revealed

Wow, I’m pretty sure I need a strawberry milkshake to help the recovery process from all of this world-shifting Fringe news. The spoiler news will come down further in the post, with a warning. So first, the showrunner news. Don’t panic. Jeff Pinkner, showrunner of Fringe Season 1, co-showrunner with Joel Wyman (aka J.H. Wyman) since Season 2, is stepping down as co-showrunner and executive producer. Joel Wyman, however, is not leaving. So right off the bat we’re at the it’s-not-as-bad-as-all-that stage.

TVGuide broke the news about Pinkner, stating that sources told them the move was amicable, and that he was leaving to pursue other opportunities. As most fans know, Fringe was co-created by J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Super 8, Lost) and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Transformers, Star Trek, Hawaii Five-0). J.J. Abrams has issued this statement:

“We’re so excited to begin work on a fifth season of Fringe and to be able to deliver the 13 final episodes to our passionate and devoted fans,” Fringe co-creator/executive producer J.J. Abrams said in a statement. “For four years, J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner have worked tirelessly as a team to keep all the worlds in order on Fringe. We’re thankful for the invaluable contributions Jeff has made to the show and of course wish him well and look forward to working together in the future. J.H. Wyman‘s importance to Fringe cannot be overstated, however, and I’m thrilled that he will continue as showrunner for the concluding chapters of our story. We can’t wait for our fans to see what we have in store for them in the wild conclusion of Fringe.”

Deep breath. Okay?

Now, ready for the giant spoiler? It was reportedly spilled by John Noble to TVLine during the Critic’s Choice Awards on Monday. There are two parts to this spoiler. The first part of the spoiler isn’t really a major surprise but it’s potentially stressful, so don’t panic when you read it. Maybe have a spoonful of butterscotch pudding and then read part two, because both will make you feel better.

HERE COMES THE SPOILER, PART ONE: Remember “Letters of Transit,” the weird-as-always episode 19 from last season? Remember when it took place? According to Mr. Noble, in Season 5, “as far as I know, we’re just jumping ahead [to 2036].” Yes, many suspected that would happen, but still. Although my mantra is “trust the writers,” especially on Fringe considering the exceptional work they’ve done for four seasons, the main character of the show was absent in that episode. Oh wait, what was that? Trust the writers? But… but…

SPOILER, PART TWO: Yes, trust the writers, because of course Olivia is coming back, according to Noble, and yes she’s being played by Anna Torv. WHEW. Now for the details:

We won’t be losing current day scenes entirely, as there will be flashbacks – of course – and even some “found footage” scenes that will have come from our present day and in the time between now and 2036. The rest of the time we’ll be seeing un-ambered Walter, Peter, Astrid, and Olivia, as well as Peter and Olivia’s grown daughter Etta (Georgina Haig) as they battle the Evil Observers in 2036.

Noble says that he’s looking forward to tying up the loose ends and emotional connections, and that:

Walter is the man who started this, so there has to be resolution. There has to be redemption… We  also have to see the final maturing of the relationship between Peter and Olivia, because it has been so difficult for them and we want them so much to be with each other.

This is exciting! I’ve wrapped my head around this and am completely looking forward to it! Although we’ll likely hear more about the season during the Fringe panel on the last day of Comic-Con, July 15, we won’t be seeing the Season 5 premiere until September 28. Imagine all of the theories that are going to crop up between now and then!

Fringe Season 5, starring Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, and Jasika Nicole, premieres Friday, September 28 at 9/8c on Fox.

Erin Willard
Written by Erin Willard

Erin is the Editor In Chief and West Coast Correspondent for