We have learned that the Observers are just highly evolved humans. If that's the case, what's their motive for invading our present (their past)?

The most obvious answer would be to ship some resource to the future, but I don't believe this was even hinted at in the series.

As a bonus question, had the invasion succeeded, wouldn't this create a paradox? After all, this would alter the course of humanity, preventing the "breakthrough" in 2167 which eventually spawns the Observers themselves.

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    To your final question, the Observers would just need to make sure to invent their own technology and send themselves back in time force a consistant timeline.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 1:27

3 Answers 3


Because the condition of the planet in their time is seriously unsustainable, Walter answered it in first episodes of the final season.

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    This is explained pretty well in the series. They had destroyed their world (pollution, lost natural resources, etc) and needed someplace to go to. You can see this in the final few episodes when Windmark goes into the future to report and out the window the view is filled with smog.
    – BBlake
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 12:51
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    Which makes it all the more saddening that, with such supposed high intellect, they built carbon monoxide machines specifically because our time wasn't polluted enough for them...
    – Izkata
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 13:13
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    This is rather surprising. You'd figure with their intellect they'd be able to clean up their planet. Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 19:53
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    Yes they would, this is another weak side of Fringe also..
    – Digerkam
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 21:11

It is mentioned in the series that in their future they destroyed their world. However season 2/3, it becomes evident that their world is the alternate universe, not the primary one.

So they manufactured their creation in the primary universe earlier then expected to prevent it from happening again.

  • I never got the impression that their universe was the alternate one... when was that implied?
    – Izkata
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 0:26
  • In one episode September is telling other observers that he caused Walternate to miss the cure for his son, which is a critical point in the observers being created. During the conversation they pan back to a movie theater showing back to the future with Eric Stoltz, who was originally cast as Marty McFly. In the flashback episode they don't manifest in the primary universe until Walter goes through the ice. Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 7:18
  • They were observing "important moments", not necessarily in their creation. And that one scientist at Massive Dynamic did find evidence of them in the prime universe centuries old...
    – Izkata
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 10:55
  • In the conversation they mention about the incident being crucial to their plans. As for the other bit, they are time travellers. :) Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 11:09

My theory is that one can travel back in time once only as obviously events have worked out that a subject is alive and present and able to do so. After that,one is rewriting events and any further attempts at going back in time would create a prohibirive paradox preventing any further attempts. How the baldies get past that one is intriguing.

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