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'Fringe': John Noble Talks Season 4, Peter's Return and Re-Establishing the Timeline (Q&A)

The actor tells THR that he expects that there will be more "theme" episodes in the coming year.

Fringe - Season 4 Premiere Noble - 2011
Fox
"Fringe"

Fringe is back for a fourth season and now, the two universes are forced to work together.

With Peter's (Josh Jackson) existence completely wiped away (or is it?), the melding of two worlds and the addition of new series regular Seth Gabel, the new year marks a dramatic change for the ambitious Fox series. One of its stars, John Noble, chatted with The Hollywood Reporter inside the Fox fall premiere party about what Season 4 will bring.

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The Hollywood Reporter: What is the biggest question that people have about the new season?

John Noble: I think we've gotten past the thing about Josh now. It's almost a question that can't be answered – what's going to happen. It's almost like saying, "Is it going to be good?" I hope so, you know? Because nobody can really say too much, except that we're certainly going to keep lifting the bar very year. We're always holding our breath and if anything doesn't work, we get very nervous and upset and we do reshoots and rewrites all the time. And that hasn't changed in four years.

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THR: Will what viewers saw in the season finale play out in Season 4?

Noble: That will be one of the major story lines of Season 4. It has to be, because we set it up. I know that I've got another episode coming in very shortly where I'll be factoring that stuff in. The audiences love that, but we had to re-establish things first. We had to re-establish what life would be like without the same old Peter -- in a different way. But now we'll get back into the business of how the universe is going to mend their ways.

THR: Are you privy to any information about future episodes with the two Walters?

Noble: No, but my guess is the two men will have to find some kind of common ground. They have to; and they have to badger and argue a lot.

THR: What is it like acting opposite yourself?

Noble: Actors have different preferences, sometimes they want somebody there, sometimes they don't. I don't need anybody there to give me facial expressions at all. It all exists within my imagination too, so I can visualize what's going on. Some actors get distracted by having another voice there. Doesn't distract me, but I just don't need it, and it takes a long time to shoot. Double the time, double the work.

THR: But when it's done successfully, it shows on-screen ..

Noble: We had a lot of stuff there with Anna [Torv], and we'll certainly be seeing some of that early in the season. What I saw of it was fantastic. It's worth the trouble.

THR: Was there one surprise that you uncovered when reading the script?

Noble: Well, there were a couple. In Season 2, when we did "Brown Betty" the musical one, that came completely out of the blue. We had this call from the studio saying, "We'll send you an MP3, can you learn that recording?" And we go, "Why?!" And they tell us that we're actually going to be singing it in the show. But it was such fun. Very funny.

THR: Will there be more special "theme" episodes?

Noble: I would expect so. Once you establish that sort of precedent, it's too fun not to. I don't know what it'll be and neither will the writers, but it is evident that around episode 19, the fans are going to wonder what's next. I think at Comic-Con, one of the showrunners said, "We're doing a whole nude episode," and all the actors were like, "What?!"

THR: When will Peter return? Will it be midway through through the season?

Noble: Earlier. And I'm not going to tell you any more.

Fringe premieres Friday at 9 p.m. on Fox.