Fringe Interview: John Noble On The Series Finale, The Fringe Experience and More

Fringe John Noble

Fans of Fringe are in for a bittersweet time tonight, thanks to the series finale of the hit sci-fi show. TV Equals was on hand to speak with John Noble about what fans can expect from the series finale, his message to the fans and more.

Noble’s thank you to the fans

It goes without saying that Noble’s appreciation of Fringe fans runs deep.

“…[O]bviously this is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the support that all the people listening have given us over the last five years, which is really terribly impressive and probably the reason we’re still on the air,” he said. “So I say thank you to everyone for that and simply say I think we finished the series off as well as I could possibly have dreamed of, as I hope will be evident in the next couple of weeks.”

Noble’s favorite Walter moments

For Noble, picking his favorite Walter moment–especially since he’s played so many versions of the character–was hard. “…Gee, I don’t know,” he said. “I loved it when he was being random, which was probably the original version of him more than anyone else. I loved doing Walter then and all of the different mental states that we’ve played in during the time, but when he was being completely random and had very poor social skills.”

Other scenes he loved involved Peter [Joshua Jackson]. “I loved the scenes that he played with Peter, the connecting stuff that I played with Josh Jackson over the five years. Both of us really loved doing that work,” he said. “There were so many different aspects of Walter, the comedy and drama and emotion and so forth. He was a fully-fledged character. So it’s hard for me to say what my favorite one was, but probably—Fringe is essentially a love story and so the scenes where he had close connection with Peter, but also with Anna [Torv]’s character or Jasika [Nicole]’s character were very special to me.”

The Fringe experience

Noble talked about what it was like to go through Fringe‘s life span.

“Doing something of this nature was new to me. I’d never done anything that required a five-year commitment. To build a show that seems to have kept the imagination of the world so much was a bit otherworldly to be honest with you,” he said. “I would go to anywhere in the world really and people would stop me in the street and talk about Fringe and how much they adored it and asked questions about it. The international reach of Fringe, I think, still catches me by surprise a bit at times. Also, I was given the gift of a character that is every actor’s dream. So you combine those two factors and it’s been an incredibly memorable five years.”

What Noble will miss about working with the cast

Noble said that what he’ll miss being with Jackson, Torv and Nicole, but what’s great is that they have a “life-long bond.”

“I guess because I’m the older fellow there I kind of think of them all as my kids in a way. I have a very special love for all of those actors and I’ll miss them,” he said. “Over the five years we were given the change to develop some pretty close bonds, both with our characters and personally, and we did. I don’t really know how to explain it any other way than that. It’s something that we earned over five years. It probably wouldn’t have been there with two years, but with five years it was definitely and is definitely there. It’s probably a life-long bond, I imagine.”

What Walter will be facing in the finale

Walter is going to have some big decisions to make in the finale, especially when it comes to how to defeat the Observers. Noble said that the stakes for Walter are extremely high.

“…We know that something radical has to happen in order to beat the Observers. I think by now we’ve built up to the fact that possibly maybe Walter has to do something pretty outstanding to make this happen,” he said. “More importantly, I think, what you’ll find is the way that his relationship with Peter plays out over the next two episodes, and in particular, the finale is really quite remarkable. That’s something we had to do because we spent so much time and I know that the fans love the relationship between Peter and Walter so much and we certainly paid homage to that and brought it home, I believe, really strongly.”

Noble also added, “I would love to have had an episode with each of the characters. I do have some beautiful moments with Jasika and Anna as well. It’s good story writing in the sense that they’ve built this great big arch and they’re going to pan out. I’m not going to tell you exactly what happens, obviously, but we do get the payout. And it’s also wonderful to have Mike Cerveris back into the equation again. He’s also been—aside from the fact that he’s an amazing actor and a friend of mine; he really does add another element to our story telling.”

Filming the finale

Noble talked about what it was like to both read the finale script and later film it.

“For the first one, I was naturally, I think we were all apprehensive to see what would happen in the finale. We didn’t know until really quite late in the piece how Joel [Wyman] would finish it off. I can honestly say that it was everything that I had hoped it could possibly be,” he said. “When I read it I thought that he had done a masterly job in writing in, tied up our character lines, tied up the great story arch. I couldn’t imagine a better job, to be honest with you. So I was extremely elated when I read the final episodes.”

The last day on set wasn’t sad like you might expect. “The last day on set was really quite fun. We were all kind of buoyed up. It was one of those nights that go forever. I think we finished at 9:00 in the morning or something, but we had a lot of fun,” he said. “I can remember we all got a fit of the giggles halfway through the night, which is probably really inappropriate. All of us were doing a scene together…Tt was just hilarious. I couldn’t get my lines out, which is very unusual for me. I just kept getting it wrong and we were all laughing a lot. But it was good fun. We had a wonderful time.”

Noble also talked about the very last scene he filmed for the episode. “The last scene I did was a beautiful scene with Michael Cerveris, but backstage all the rest of the [cast] were on set as well, as we do in most scenes. You give your speech afterwards and so forth. I felt really buoyed up afterwards. I didn’t feel depressed. I thought that we’d really had a great finale. The last day was so much fun.”

The most rewarding thing about playing Walter

Noble said that the greatest thing about playing a character like Walter was delving into his different facets.

“I suppose when you start up in acting you hope to be given challenges and you always have dreams about the things you could do and couldn’t do, but normally we get pigeon holed a little bit as we go on in our careers. We often get pigeon holed as a tough guy or whatever else we get pigeon holed in,” he said. “I’ve sort of been, I guess, pigeon holed as sort of a heavy, serious, almost a baddy but not a baddy over the years of my work in television, particularly. It was wonderful to be able to play a character who had so many colors, who was able to play comedy, to play incredibly vulnerable, which he did a lot of the time, to play the love story, to play the relationship with the son, which is quite unusual, particularly—I think it’s one of the strengths that fringed the relationship between the man and his son that makes it unusual and special. That’s a gift to me, as an actor. It was like everything you could possibly hope for and not only that but to play it out over five years. So I was a very lucky actor.”

The fans and the finale

Noble said he hopes the fans feel the finale has treated the whole Fringe journey with respect.

“The finale, I believe, I think it’s the best finale I’ve ever read, just in terms of being able to tie up the five years, five years of intense work,” he said. “To be able to pull it together as the way that Joel Wyman did is quite remarkable to me. So I honestly think the fans will be—well they’ll be disappointed. There’s no question because the series is finishing, but I think they’ll be very thrilled and honored by the way that Joel has made that happen.”

The finale of Fringe airs tonight at 9/8c on FOX.