Dr. William Bell is the former lab partner of Walter Bishop and the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Massive Dynamic. Due to his connections to Olivia Dunham, Walter and Massive Dynamic he is linked to many of the series' events that had happened.

Original Timeline[]

Prime Universe[]

Background Information[]

Fringe issue 1 page 6 - William Bell

A younger Bell as seen in the comic book tie-in.

While attending Harvard in 1969, young William met Walter Bishop. Bishop at the time was a new Professor at Harvard and Bell was a student interested in his work. Bell attended Walter's MIT presentation on the possibilities of nonverbal communication by brainpower between humans; this greatly intrigued him. While entering Walter's lab to express his interest in helping him, he met Walter in the middle of an experiment aimed at proving his thesis. The experiment dealt with the transference of information between two mice. The experiment went awry, resulting in Bell getting shocked and having a strange episode due to the high amount of LSD he absorbed during the shock.

After months of working on experiments well ahead of their time, Bell and Bishop were approached by a man named Richard Bradbury who was working for a private research facility located in Alaska. The company had been monitoring the work of the two men and recruited them to come work for them. They agreed and went to Alaska. William soon discovered that scientists at the facility were performing experiments involving the heads of missing scientists.

Bishop and Bell later escape with Dr. Matheson using the teleportation device. It is from this experience that the two men become reluctant to ever work for the government again.

Later Bishop and Bell were approached by the Air Force and hired to build a machine which transports William and Bishop to Germany during World War II. The pair is picked up by the Gestapo and thrown in prison. Walter convinces the guards to let them go so that he can meet Hans Freohelich, who turns out to be Walter's father.

During Walter Bishop's time in St. Claire's, he removed parts of Walter's brain and hid them in three other people. ("Grey Matters")

In 1992, the year after his lab partner and dear friend was institutionalized, William Bell founded Massive Dynamic, the company that propelled him to the forefront of modern science and made him one of the wealthiest men alive. Bell possibly used the money and power gained through the success of his company to further preserve the ZFT manuscript and experiments. At Massive Dynamic, he had played a key role in every aspect of the business, from R&D to marketing. His personal vision continues to guide the firm's progress, and his ongoing research constantly yields new innovations and product lines. Because of this he appeared seven times in the Business Leaders Journal's list of "America's Most Inspiring Corporate Leaders". He was also a Fellow of the National Scientific Progress Council and the only two-time recipient of the Macro Genius Award.

Season One[]


Olivia meets William Bell.

During Fringe Division's early investigation of The Pattern, William Bell's location was unknown to everyone including Nina Sharp. In fact, he had been residing comfortably in the Alternate Universe for the past several months. His base of operations, or at least the spot he chose for his meeting with Olivia Dunham, was an office at the top of the World Trade Center (which in that reality was not destroyed), which he somehow transports Olivia Dunham to. ("There's More Than One of Everything")

Season Two[]


William Bell sacrificing himself.

After returning to her universe, Olivia Dunham has trouble remembering what Bell told her. After a few weeks, she remembers that he warned her of the storm in which the two universe would collide if she didn't stop Thomas Jerome Newton from being resurrected. ("Momentum Deferred")

He teams up with Olivia Dunham and Walter Bishop in the Alternate Universe. He tells Walter how his crossing over in the 1980s began to destroy this world. He later reveals that Walter himself asked him to remove his memories. Bell cannot cross over again, as his atoms would split apart and no trace of him would remain in either universe. Because of this, he sacrifices himself so the others can return home. ("Over There: Part 2")

Season Three[]


William Bell comes back from the dead.

When Olivia visited Bell on the other side, he served her a glass of tea that contained soul magnets. ("Stowaway") In his will, he gave Nina Sharp a bell that was described as a "memento of himself." Walter realized that the bell was more than its appearance in and rang it, expecting Nina to become embodied by Bell. However, it was Olivia who had a reaction to the bell's frequency. ("Os")

Broyles gives William 48 hours to find a new viable host for him and get out of Olivia's body, but William takes his time as he knows that no harm is coming to Olivia. However, not too long after, Olivia regains control of her body briefly, confused and in a trance before William takes back over. William then explains that there is something more complicated than he expected. ("Stowaway")

Olivia-and-william-bell 400x228

Bell and Olivia.

Walter and Peter journey into Olivia's consciousness and find William in order to recover Olivia before she is "lost". After Walter and Peter "die" within her mind, William aids Olivia in escaping until she is able to confront her own fears, enabling her to take back control of her body. William tells Olivia to pass on the message "I knew the dog wouldn't hunt" to Walter. He then departs from Olivia's consciousness. As Olivia wakes up, Astrid and Walter realize that William's plan to transfer his own consciousness into a computer has failed. Olivia relays William's message to Walter, who explains that the message was a phrase William would use in earlier experiments when he knew that they would not be successful, and that his reason for suggesting it was because "William hates goodbyes". ("Lysergic Acid Diethylamide")

Alternate Universe[]

As explained by William at the end of Season 2, the alternate version of William was killed as a young man in a car accident. As a result, Massive Dynamic was never formed in the parallel world; instead, there is only Bishop Dynamic. ("Over There: Part 2")

Alternate Timeline[]

Background Information[]

It is thought that years ago Bell intentionally caused a car accident and committed suicide while he had a lymphatic cancer. The truth only emerged later when he revealed that he administered Cortexiphan to slow down the growth of the cancer. ("Brave New World: Part 2")

Season Four[]

In the Alternate Timeline, William Bell was still alive. Because Peter never existed, Bell never used his body as a power source to get the Fringe Team back to the Prime Universe, a seemingly heroic act that cost him his life.


David Robert Jones, also alive due to Peter's erasure, answered to Bell, who instructed him on carrying out his endgame. Together, the two began piecing together a plot involving a new breed of creatures that would populate a third universe. The creation of this universe would spring out of the collapse of the two existing universes. The plan utilized Olivia Dunham's Cortexiphan abilities, which Bell intended to use to collapse both universes. ("Brave New World: Part 1") ("Brave New World: Part 2")


Bell's diabolical plot and his use of Olivia in it outraged Walter, who expressed how he had no compassion for Bell in 2036. ("Letters of Transit") Walter was taken aboard Bell's "ark", the SS Talos, as the Neogenesis plot was being unleashed. His plan was stopped when Walter shot Olivia in the head, knowing he'd be able to rejuvenate her because of her Cortexiphan abilities. After realizing his plan had been foiled, William rang a bell that was aboard his ship and evaporated into thin air. ("Brave New World: Part 2")


Bell regained contact with the Fringe Team. He expressed a desire to fight the Observers. He stored two beacons in his storage facility, which could only be accessed with his hand print. However, Bell betrayed the Fringe Division and led the Observers to their location, forcing Walter to amber himself, Astrid, Peter, and Bell. ("Five-Twenty-Ten")



William Bell in amber.

In 2036, Henrietta was able to track down the Fringe team. She removed Peter, Astrid, and Walter from amber. William Bell was left encased in the amber, but Walter managed to cut off his hand in order to gain access to the beacons that were so crucial to implementing his plan. Bell and Simon Foster were discovered in amber by the Observers. Foster was removed and dissected. It is unknown what became of Bell. ("Letters of Transit")

Final Timeline[]

Although not seen in the Final Timeline, William Bell would still be alive in the Observer-less world and never have occasion to be ambered, making the SS Talos his last known location during his Neogenesis plot.

Personality and Traits[]

Original Timeline[]


Dr. William Bell is the former lab partner of Walter Bishop and founder of Massive Dynamic. His name is mentioned through the first season, which shows his connections with the main characters as well as both past and present events in the series.

With the wealth of his company Massive Dynamic in excess of $50 billion, William Bell is considered one of the richest men in the world. Evidently, he also possesses great technical knowledge and experience, one example being Nina Sharp's functional robotic arm which according to Nina was built by Bell himself. He shared a laboratory with Walter Bishop, so it is likely that he also has a deep knowledge of the science of the border. Walter says that Bell was the only other person who knew what their experiments were about. ("Pilot")

Walter vehemently defends Bell in "The Road Not Taken", reminding everyone that Bell was many things, for example ambitious, selfish and temperamental, but not a fool. Nina also defends him to Broyles and insists that he is not a terrorist and not the enemy.

Bell was suspected to be involved with the ZFT. In a confession recorded video, Dr. Nicholas Boone revealed the founder of Massive Dynamic is the same man who finances the ZFT. ("Midnight") Another member of the ZFT, David Robert Jones, showed an interest in meeting with William Bell. ("There's More Than One of Everything")

Alternate Timeline[]

Without Peter there to soften Walter, Bell grows angry and bitter. He believes that the world dealt him and his best friend a bad hand, and that they should take their rightful place as "Gods" for a new world order. Walter realizes that his friend has gone mad and that Olivia is the key to his final game. In an last-ditch effort, Walter shoots and kills Olivia to prevent the collapse of the universes. William is angered by the betrayal of his friend and disappears. ("Brave New World: Part 2")


  • Dr. William Bell is one of the most enigmatic and shadowy characters in Fringe. He starts off as an anti-hero and later becomes one of the main villains of the show.
  • Voice actor Leonard Nimoy has been heard on an old VHS tape before his first appearance on the show, but was not credited. ("Bad Dreams")
  • In an imaginary tale of Walter, William Bell is talking to Nina Sharp in a display device. ("Brown Betty")
  • For three episodes, Torv has played a third role aside from Olivia and her alternate counterpart, namely that of Olivia possessed by the mind of William Bell, who has been called "Bellivia" by reviewers. She simulated a hoarse voice and mannerisms of Nimoy used for the representation of Bell. ("Os") ("Stowaway")
  • Bell was initially presented in Fringe Comics as a replacement for Walter Bishop and then as his lab partner.
  • Bell's obituary covers three columns of the newspaper. It's just four points long, but repeated three times to appear more grandiose.
  • Bell and Walter share the same first and last initials, W.B.
  • He is the only main antagonist whose ultimate fate is unknown. David Robert Jones and Thomas Jerome Newton are dead and destroyed, Walternate is still alive as of 2036, and Windmark was erased from existence by Walter's sacrifice in the series finale.

See Also[]

Prime Universe Characters
Olivia DunhamPeter BishopWalter BishopPhillip BroylesAstrid FarnsworthNina SharpLincoln LeeJohn ScottCharlie FrancisDavid Robert JonesWilliam BellRachel BlakeElla BlakeNick LaneSally ClarkHenrietta Bishop