|This series had its genesis when I began photographing Vancouver area location shoots in the summer of 2010 to get over a long post-Olympics funk. Film and TV productions like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Fringe, Supernatural and Once Upon a Time and our own Continuum and Primeval: New World showcase our city in similar fashion and sometimes put a celebrity actor or two in the frame. You can find more on my daily blog yvrshoots.com|
After five seasons — four of them filmed in Vancouver — American TV series Fringe wrapped filming this morning at The Bridge Studios. Almost all of its fifth and final season takes place in the dystopian future of 2036 with our amber-preserved Fringe family leading the resistance against Observer overlords. Local and visiting fans spotted Anna Torv’s Olivia Dunham, Joshua Jackson’s Peter Bishop, John Noble’s Dr. Walter Bishop and other members of the former Fringe Division all over Vancouver this summer, fall and winter — from Stanley Park to UBC to Pacific Central Station to the Burrard Bridge to Victory Square to the West End to the Olympic Village to Hasting West to Robson Street to the Vancouver Art Gallery to Granville Street to Hornby Street to Gastown to Chinatown to Coal Harbour to the Vancouver Public Libary to the Cambie Bridge to Oceanic Plaza.
Each a public location where people were welcome to watch. That’s one of the reasons why Fringe will be so missed in this city.
Fringe’s fifth season opened in Stanley Park with a utopian scene of Joshua Jackson’s Peter Bishop and Anna Torv’s Olivia Dunham (aka POlivia) out for a family picnic with their daughter Etta in 2016. A family picnic that was interrupted by Observageddon, the Observer invasion from the future, and the abduction of little Etta.
That same day, Fringe crew went from utopian to dystopian, filming scenes of the Observer-ruled world twenty-odd years later when Loyalist soldiers and collaberating citizens dressed in 1940s garb help keep a desperate population in order. Amber-preserved POlivia reunited with Georgina Haig’s grownup Etta as well as Walter and Jasika Nicole’s Astrid and the original Fringe team joined the Resistance.
But Walter was captured by Michael Kopsa’s Captain Windmark, the final season’s Big Bad, and his mind wiped of his plan to defeat the Observers. In the second episode, the Fringe team broke into Walter’s old lab on the Observer-occupied Harvard University campus, played by the University of British Columbia, hoping to find information to reconstruct Walter’s plan.
After infiltrating Pacific Central Station dressed as a New Jersey Monorail station to retrieve part of Walter’s plan in the fourth episode, the group met up with Lance Reddick’s 20-years-older Philip Broyles under the Burrard Bridge. It proved an emotional respite before the Observers cornered the Fringe team in an abandoned building played by the Terminal City Ironworks complex in east Vancouver. There Captain Windmark shot Etta. She had a chance to say goodbye to the parents she’d known for a mere handful of episodes before blowing up herself and the building.
Dead Etta became a poster girl for the Resistance and drove her father Peter to torture an Observer and carve out the Observer tech to put in his own head in the fifth episode.
Unbeknownst to Olivia and Walter, Peter used the Observer tech in his head to track and anticipate moves by Captain Windmark’s lieutenants on West Hastings and then kill them in the seventh episode. Meanwhile, Olivia, Walter and Astrid approached Blair Brown’s silver-haired, wheel chair-bound Nina Sharp for help at the Ministry of Science played by the Olympic Village.
Peter targeted Captain Windmark himself in the eighth episode filmed on Robson Street near B.C. Place, inside CBC Vancouver and on the roof of the Vancouver Art Gallery in a rainstorm. Under a scrim, Anna Torv’s Olivia convinced Joshua Jackson’s Peter to remove the Observer tech in his head before he lost love.
Tonight’s Fringe is the ninth episode of the final season with Peter himself and Walter on a bad acid trip to recover his memory. I’m looking forward to a scene of Walter filmed opposite the Guiness Tower on West Hastings in a prop yellow NYC taxicab.
And the tenth episode airing next Friday is an epic one with five downtown shoots in one day and most of the main cast on set to the delight of fans who’d travelled from as far as Australia, Toronto, Seattle and Portland to see filming.
More fans flew in from around the world (one from as far away as Russia) to watch filming of the three-part sereis finale, with the eleventh episode on location in Gastown, Chinatown and the West End. And the twelfth episode on location in Coal Harbour and at the Vancouver Public Library.
Ahead of the filming of the 100th and final episode, Warner Bros. TV hosted a gala 100th episode party at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel decorated with white tulips and attended by Fringe creator JJ Abrams, showrunners Joel Wyman and Jeff Pinker, cast and Vancouver crew.
And then after a day to recover, Fringe cast and crew started work on the last episode of Fringe ever. Directed by showrunner Joel Wyman, the final episode proved to be much tougher to find with only one day of public shoots downtown. A week ago Wednesday, the main unit filmed Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and other cast in underground parking at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and then in and around Oceanic Plaza in front of dozens of local and international fans until 2:00 a.m. I was at the False Creek Energy Centre where a second splinter unit had set up lights under the Cambie Bridge to film finale scenes also directed by Wyman.
Unfortunately this week’s shoots were all private as Fringe crew either blew up stuff overnight on Port Metro Vancouver land near the old BC Sugar building or worked in studio. But that means the secret of how Fringe ends remains largely intact.
The 2-hour Fringe series finale airs on Friday, January 18th, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on FOX in the U.S. and Citytv in Canada.