What Leonard Nimoy's Retirement Means to Fringe

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Unless you're a giant nerd, you might not have noticed that Leonard Nimoy announced that he's retiring from acting: "I've been doing this professionally for 60 years. I love the idea of going out on a positive note." The positive note he refers to is J.J. Abrams's Star Trek, a film series that he'll have no problem detaching from -- after all, one Spock is really enough. But what of Nimoy's other Abrams enterprise, Fringe? That's where things get more complicated.

Nimoy was famously cast last season as William Bell, the Wizard behind most of the crazy science and weekly madness on Fringe. Clearly it was a role that the producers envisioned being around for the long haul -- an older adversary/misunderstood partner for John Noble's Walter Bishop to tangle with -- and one central to the very core of the series. To wit: He first season ended with a visit to William Bell's alternate reality office inside a still standing World Trade Center.

Granted, it's likely that Abrams and his fellow Fringe producers expected to be without Nimoy going forward -- news of his "retirement" has been circulating since last fall -- but that doesn't make it any less damaging to their narrative. Even though William Bell hasn't appeared on the show since December, he's still mentioned on a weekly basis with the hush tones and worried glaces that Lost characters used for Jacob in the early going.

So what will Fringe decide to do? Nimoy will supposedly make one final appearance in the season finale, leaving the series with two options: Kill him off or recast the role with another geek icon. Here's guessing Patrick Stewart should expect a phone call.

· Leonard Nimoy set to retire [Toronto Sun]



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