Fringe's resident mad scientist, John Noble, promises revelations

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST
Walter (John Noble, left) and Peter (Joshua Jackson) discover a familiar-looking chip in human remains in the episode "The Transformation," airing tonight.

Now that Fox's Fringe has returned with new episodes, star John Noble promises that viewers will learn a lot more about what the heck is going on. Noble, of course, plays the hilariously demented scientist Walter Bishop, the genius who is called upon to solve paranormal mysteries by FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and his son, Peter (Joshua Jackson).

"We will tell you more, you know, about the Pattern," Noble promised in an interview last month in Hollywood. "We'll reveal more about the characters. We're going to make an amazing revelation about Olivia very shortly. About her past. That she's not what she seems. We'll find out more about Peter's dark background. These things are going to happen ... now that we've established we can do that. And we've got so many ideas, so many ideas, it's amazing."

Following is an edited version of our exclusive interview with Noble. Fringe airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Are we going to learn more about Walter, about his background?

Noble: Absolutely. ... What we can't do is make anything Walter-centric. ... Olivia drives the story, that's the fact. And so what we do, then, is we try to balance other storylines. There's certainly going to be another couple of Walter episodes coming up, ... and quite revealing, by the way, and he starts to come to grips with what he's done in the past as his mind clears and he looks back. ... That'll be pretty playful and interesting. In the meantime, it'll be more of the same, which is Walter being Walter, and doing what he does and saying what he does, which is great fun.

There were two elements that were introduced in the first 10 episodes: The Observer (Michael Cerveris) and Mr. Jones (Jared Harris), who we're not quite sure who he is, but we have an idea who he might be. What can you tell us about what viewers can expect?

Noble: I would say [about] the Observer, nothing will be revealed about his role for quite a long time. At least, I hope not. Jones will certainly be coming back, and I'm not going to tell you what's revealed, but there is some sort of a closure on Mr. Jones, and it's very powerful. It's very powerful. And that'll be revealed in the first four episodes coming back in.

OK. There is a suggestion that he has something to do with Walter.

Noble: Of course there is. Of course there is that suggestion. The suggestions that everybody makes and made will be right, you know. And I'm not talking about six degrees of separation here, but I think that there are links between these principal characters that have driven them into this place. ... People look at Broyles [Lance Reddick] and say, "What's his deal?" You know? Or Olivia: "What's her deal?" ... Peter and Walter we know are already involved in whatever, you know. It's going to become so interesting and entwined as to why these characters are put together in this time. It's going to be a great journey. ...

Walter and Peter are starting to understand each other a little.

Noble: Indeed, indeed. And they have some moments. But we don't want to rush that, either. We don't want them to suddenly become best friends. It's too soon. I mean, it's only a few weeks since they were totally estranged. ... Even though they are finding common ground, and they're finding a language, as people do, we've got to keep that [tension]. ... Joshua and I get on really well. We're really firm friends, so we could easily take that ... there too early. It has to be earned. We haven't earned that yet. ...

What sort of new scientific weirdness are we likely to see?

Noble: You're going to see a lot more genetic manipulation, there's no question about that, because that's one of the most fascinating areas that we deal with. ... We have to look at this teleportation. We have to look at the potential of time travel. ... Common knowledge would say it's not possible because the speed of light is constant. But there are those that theorize against that. So we've got to look into that area. It's tantalizing to look into this area.