Nimoy teases Fringe's finale and why it was worth un-retiring for

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

If you watched Fringe on Fox last week, you saw one doozy of a twist, although one that had been teased a couple episodes earlier. And it was a shocker!

[Spoilers ahead.]

The bad guy the Fringe team had been chasing all season long, David Robert Jones, turned out only to be the "bishop" to Leonard Nimoy's Will Bell, the real evil mastermind behind Jones, who was pulling the strings all along. Luckily, we chatted with Nimoy to find out what's in store for his character in tonight's series finale.

"You're going to see some interesting activities on the part of William Bell tomorrow night," said Nimoy. "This character has gotten himself out on a limb and is doing some very wonderfully theatrical and bizarre activity. He has become a world of his own. Take that as a hint."

But William Bell as a bad guy? We always knew he was complex, brilliant and mysterious, but eventually he seemed like a good guy.

"The character of William Bell started out to be rather ambivalent," he said. "We weren't quite sure whether to enjoy him or be afraid of him. We couldn't quite figure out what his motivation was. At the end of last season, he seemed to come around to be less dangerous. This season, I think things have taken another turn. He's in another universe and has taken on other characteristics. So there are challenges in the character itself that were attractive to me, that I could play aspects of a character that I haven't played in a long time."

Nimoy's startling return to TV and to Fringe in last week's episode had his William Bell orchestrating David Robert Jones' sacrifice for his evil plan and popping up to connect with Walter just as one of series' most beloved characters, Astrid, was shot in the chest.

In tonight's conclusion of the two-episode season finale, "Brave New World," we'll find out whether Bell's plan to crash two universes together to create a brave new universe succeeds ... assuming that Walter is correct in his hypothesis that that's what's going on.

"The character has become very exotic," said Nimoy. "'Exotic' is the best word I can come up with at the moment. He's got himself out on a limb doing some very strange and fantastic things with his powers. I think what you'll see ... is probably the culmination of a lot of wonderful ideas coming together. I'm very excited. I'm looking forward to seeing it myself. I haven't seen it in context, so I'm pretty excited about what people are going to be experiencing."

One of those exciting aspects that's certain to come into the mix involves turning humans into strange, nasty-looking creatures who presumably can survive better in this new universe.

"I'm going to have to talk to him about that. That's not a nice thing, is it?" said Nimoy with a laugh. "Well, if there's anything I can do about it, I'll see if I can change his attitude about turning people into monsters. I'll have a conversation with him very soon. I'll say, 'William, cut it out!'"

As far as his scenes with John Noble's Walter, Nimoy added: "Working with John is always a treat, and I think the relationship between William Bell and John's character has been very well written, so that we have some really delicious scenes to play with each other."

For Nimoy, the writers have "done a really wonderful job of finding ways to reinvent the story and reinvent the characters. When I was asked about coming on this season, I said I think the mystery of William Bell has kind of gone away by the end of the last season, because it was pretty clear that he was a pretty decent guy. And I said, where are we going to go now? It was explained to me that we're opening up a whole new world, a whole new can of peas, so to speak, and William Bell is being re-created as something else. That intrigued me, and I was excited to go back to work," he said.

"Fringe is a wildly imaginative show. The writers and creators of the show, the producers ... very bright and very theatrical. All the characters are fleshed out wonderfully, and the chemistry amongst the cast is terrific. I wanted to be part of this project. I enjoy the project," said Nimoy.

As for next year, now that Fringe has been renewed for a fifth and final season, Nimoy admits that he believes he's sure they WILL be having conversations soon about his involvement.

"I haven't heard anything new about William Bell or the show, except that it has been picked up for 13 episodes, which I think is wonderful. I know the company was hoping for that, that they could have a final season to close out successfully. I haven't heard anything about Bell coming back, but I'm sure I'll be getting a call. We'll talk about it. It'll depend on my schedule. It'll depend on what they have in mind for the character. There are a lot of issues that have to be dealt with, but we'll be talking," he said.

When it comes to his "retirement," Nimoy admits there's one main reason why he keeps coming back, not only to other projects like Big Bang Theory, but specifically to Fringe.

"It's a fascinating character in a great company. And it's kind of ... it's nice to get off the couch and throw the clothes on and a little makeup and go back to work every once in a while. I still enjoy it. In this case, it's ... as I said before, it's all the elements that come together at the right time in the right way, and I was happy to do it," he said.

"The journey that I've been on has been a blessed journey. ... When I was 17, I set out with the hopes of making a living as an actor. And I feel I have been blessed with the kind of opportunities I've been given. I've acted all over the United States, I've acted in countries all around the world. I've acted on stage as much as I wanted to, a couple times on Broadway, toured several times in several productions around the United States and met all kinds of wonderful people in wonderful cities. Television, film, radio, commercials, I've had a taste of it all. I'm a very, very thankful person," said Nimoy.

Here's a look at "Brave New World, Part 2":

Fringe's finale premieres tonight on Fox at 9 p.m.

How do you feel about William Bell as the bad guy?

Make Your Inbox Important

Get our newsletter and you’ll be delivered the most interesting stories, videos and interviews weekly.

Sign-up breaker
Sign out: