Admit it. If you watched Fringe, your heart was broken just a little when Lincoln Lee vanished after being written out of the series with the other alternate-universe characters at the end of last season. But if you're a fan of Seth Gabel, the guy who played Lincoln, you'll have plenty of opportunities to catch up with him in the next month.
These days Gabel is one busy guy who will play Vertigo on The CW's Arrow, Oliver's "deadliest adversary to date," mined from the original Green Arrow comic. And if that's not enough Gabel for you, he also plays the conflicted hero of the military thriller Allegiance, a movie that opens up today in New York.
"Vertigo's an adaptation of Count Vertigo from the comic book series," said Gabel in an exclusive interview with Blastr. "In this, it's a much darker depiction of the character. I play a street thug drug kingpin who sells a drug called Vertigo on the streets of Starling City and has people hooked. At the same time, he's hooked on acquiring more money and power and essentially taking over the streets."
So is Vertigo, who has the superpower to disorient and unbalance his victims, going to be Arrow's deadliest bad guy this season?
"Yeah, I think it's possible. I think the Count really welcomed the challenge of having this adversary, and he's heard so much about the Arrow that when they finally come face to face, he's definitely ready for it and has a few tricks up his sleeve," said Gabel.
"He's working on building a street empire. You heard that the Arrow faces his most worthy adversary. For the Count, it's the exact same situation, where he's facing his most worthy adversary. So when the two meet, for me as the villain, it feels as if star-crossed lovers because it's so exciting having the opportunity to battle with someone who's perhaps equal in my ability," he said.
While Gabel hadn't seen Arrow before he got the role, he did know the show's co-creator and executive producer Greg Berlanti through his work on Dirty Sexy Money. The producer called and told him there was "a Joker-type character coming on the show and would I be interested in playing it?" he said.
"At first I was a little intimidated by the idea of taking on anything similar to what Heath Ledger had created in Dark Knight, because that was such an iconic role. But then I saw the script and took some time with it and realized that I could create something that was authentic to myself. And once I realized I could do that, then I made it my goal to really go out there and have a blast with that kind of a character and pull out all the stops and just have a good time playing a villain who has no remorse," said Gabel.
While it's not the first villain Gabel has played, the others were the "psycho of the week" on shows such as CSI and Law & Order.
"But this was a little more fun because I could actually get away with it," he said. "What I created for the villain character to make him feel justified in what he was doing was that he just loved money and power so much that whatever it took to get those things was completely justifiable in his realm of ethics," he said.
Vertigo will appear on Arrow in January, and Gabel said we may just be seeing more of the dastardly villain. "We're going to be talking about it a little more, about if and when it might continue," he said.
"I've never done anything that was in a comic book world before, so it was really exciting to go from a sci-fi universe of a show to more of a comic book fantasy where it's about the darkness of the streets and people with special abilities. It was really cool. It was really cool to be a part of," said Gabel.
As for his work involving that sci-fi universe, aka Fringe, Gabel admits he was disappointed when he was written out of the series.
"Oh, of course I was bummed. But I was pleased that Lincoln was going to find happiness and I kind of felt that he in some way was destined to be with the Olivia character, either on our side or theirs. When he finally went over, I knew that good was happening and all was right in the Fringe universes," he said.
As for the series finally coming to an end after five seasons, he's grateful that Fringe got a final season.
"I'm just so relieved that the show has had this opportunity to go out in such a way that will satisfy its audience, who has kept it on the air for much longer than is statistically probable. And I think the show will go down in history as a real anomaly in a great way that suggests the power of an audience and a loyal fan base," said Gabel.
However, he admits he hasn't watched Fringe this season ... yet.
"I've actually been waiting. I've been waiting so that I can watch them all at once, because it's very hard for me to wait week after week, which I think a lot of people relate to. I found out it's called 'binge-watching.'"
Binge-watching aside, Gabel's other big project has absolutely nothing to do with sci-fi. He plays Danny Sefton, a National Guard lieutenant, in Allegiance, which is based on director Mike Connors' personal experiences while serving in the military, a movie that was written, directed, produced and financed almost entirely by veterans. The film stars Bow Wow, Gabel, Aidan Quinn and Malik Yoba. Allegiance is available on VOD and premieres in theaters in New York today and in L.A. on Jan. 4, 2013.
Are you happy to see Seth Gabel back in action?