Sandra Gonzalez
April 15, 2011 AT 12:49 PM EDT

As EW’s Jeff Jensen first revealed, Leonard Nimoy is back on Fringe this week! And in a conference call with reporters yesterday, executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman spilled the beans (while keeping plenty of beans still canned) about his sure-to-be-epic return in tonight’s episode.

“Leonard retired from acting at the end of our season finale. He was very sincere about that. But Joel and I and Akiva [Goldsman] were talking about the notion that William Bell would inhabit Olivia’s mind, and we came up with what we thought was a really cool idea,” Pinkner said. “We called Leonard, and he just started laughing and said, ‘Okay, I’m in. How do you want to use me?'”

But, Pinkner clarified, this isn’t a re-cut of already-present footage. It’s new material — and definitely a new approach. “He’s participating in the show. It’s more than just giving us license … William Bell is present in the next episode, and he’s present in way that gives new meaning to alternate reality. But it’s very much Leonard Nimoy.”

As for the rest of the hour, which finds the Bishop boys and company fighting to get Olivia out of Bell’s grasp before it’s too late, it will “hopefully [be] a very satisfying emotional journey for the characters while at the same time being certainly something you’ve never seen on Fringe before,” Pinkner said.

You in, readers?

Fringe airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET FOX


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