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Major Season 4 Spoilers ahead but it's impossible to ask this question without them:

Every indication we have so far is that the Observers are from our universe. We learn that they are

us, in the far distant future,

and I assumed that meant they were from the same universe as the main Fringe universe, as opposed to some alternate one. They focus much of their attention on our universe and the timeline of events here, and we eventually learn that they

come back to our time and conquer Earth, after destroying it in their time.

However, the explanation story we get for why September was so interested in Walter and Peter's lives has a major loophole. Specifically:

September tells Peter that, in the original timeline, Peter was "important", but he (September) screwed things up by distracting Walternate from curing his illness. He further mucked things up by saving alternate Peter's life, thus allowing him to impregnate Fauxlivia. Their child, Henry, did some unspecified thing that ruined the future for the Observers. To undo this mess, the Observers designed the machine, and arranged for Peter to have it built. The machine un-saved Peter, rolling back everything that happened to him as an adult, preventing the child from being born to Fauxlivia.

But in our original universe, before any interference from anyone, Peter died. It is Alternate Peter that would have lived. Does that mean that the Observers are actually from the alternate universe, and are only interested in ours because of what Walter did?

Are over-here's Peter and Olivia allowed to have a baby (which they clearly do, Henrietta) without screwing up the future? Or is what 'Etta is doing in our near future the thing that over-there-Henry did to screw up the Observer's future? How can events in our universe affect the future of the prime universe, especially if they are no longer connected?

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    I really want to answer this, but what I have is almost pure theory right now... (And I've not really factored in some of the motivations listed in the question) – Izkata May 8 '12 at 0:41
  • I have to give the same answer as Izkata right now. All I have is my theory and I'm still working on it. – Kevin Howell May 8 '12 at 14:00
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September mentions that he comes from a possible future, but it is not explicitly stated that they come from the Prime Universe's future since they seem to operate in both.

We are one of countless possible futures for humanity

With September's changing of events cause Peter not to be saved as a boy by Walternate. But September says that he was destined to have a child with Olivia Prime. From that I assume that in the original timeline before September's interference included Walter eventually began communications with the Betaverse, possible collaboration with Walternate and a grown Peter that led to the Bridge Device, Peter crossing over and developing a relationship with Olivia without the damage to both worlds, and eventually leading to a time in the future where the Observer program is created as a pure research/historical project. Again what happens without September's involvement is complete speculation on my part but it does fit what we know from September of what should have happened and allows for the creation of the device.

As September, and the other Observers, meddle in the affairs of the Prime universe there seems to be a shift in the tone of their operation. It is possible that with each new interference that they are changing their timeline for the worse. Peter was important for the Observer's present, without my hypothetical timeline the future isn't as bright as it should be. And with the rift between universes sealed permanently the developments that would have come from the Walters of both universes collaborating would not take place, to the detriment of the Observers present.

So while certain events seem to remain fixed, the creation of the Observer Program, the details can shift so instead of a historical/scientific program, they are scouting for the ideal time in history to emigrate to.

  • That makes sense; I didn't consider what Walter would have done had Walternate succeeded, but of course he would have still made contact. – KutuluMike Jul 19 '12 at 19:53
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    One episode has three Observers discussing that September had messed up the event that would save the boy and help with their plans. It then pans out to a movie theatre which mentions "Back to the Future" but with the alternate Marty McFly. Also they mentioned at the time of the invasion that they had destroyed where they came from, but later in the last season they routinely go to the future. Seems to suggest that the alternate universes future is the one destroyed. – Simon O'Doherty Jan 30 '13 at 13:56
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Your question seems to assume that there is really a universe that is "ours." The idea, instead, that there are multitudinous universes arising simultaneously seems more likely. Our synaptic prejudice and erroneous focus on one linear time and probability line in no way precludes the likelihood of other beings—such as the Observers—who perceive more freely the true nature of reality. So, the Observers may be "part of" many universes (as we truly are as well), and asking where they (or we) are "from" only indicates a narrow understanding of their (and our) true situation.

  • I think the question assumes that universes that are separate now already will not merge again in the future. This seems reasonable, given that two different universes could not merge; there cannot be two alternative versions of history in the same universe that are both true. With this in mind, the question is asking whether the Observers' future universe descends from ours or from another one. – O. R. Mapper Nov 12 '15 at 20:22

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