"Lost" producers interview

TV Arts

<some vague hints, no real spoilers>

From Michael Ausiello at TV Guide

Question: Can you give me a little tidbit on the super-secret twist
that is supposedly going to blow us away on tonight's Lost finale?—
Ausiello: I'll do you one better: I'll let Damon Lindelof and Carlton
Cuse give it to you instead! In recognition of AA's 100th, the Lost
EPs agreed to sit down and answer all of your burning questions, as
well as offer a preview of tonight's fall finale and the remaining 16
episodes, kicking off Feb. 7. It's the best anniversary gift ever! 

Damon Lindelof: Congratulations on your 100th column.
Carlton Cuse: Yes, congratulations. 

Thank you! We have limited time, so I'm going to cut right to the
chase. More than anything, AA readers wanna know if Michael and/or
Walt will appear this season.
Carlton: We have a very clear plan for this season, and I don't think
we'll get back to Michael and Walt's story this season.

With Eko gone, you no longer have any African-American men in the
Carlton: Harold Perrineau's story is not finished. He is not on the
show currently, but I think everybody is very curious to know what
happened to Michael and Walt, and we hope to get back to that story.
That character is still out there in the Lost universe.

One frustration I'm hearing is that viewers don't understand why you
would bring in new characters like Paolo (Rodrigo Santoro) and Nikki
(Kiele Sanchez) when it seems like you're already having trouble
servicing the original characters.
Damon: That's a legitimate concern, and I wouldn't say that we have
difficulty servicing the initial cast. I do think that we acknowledge
that the franchise of Lost — if there was one since we don't have
bodies on gurneys or clients coming into law firms — is the
introduction of new characters. We basically get two criticisms: One
is that we're not with our main people enough, and the other is [that
people are] sick and tired of seeing redundant flashback stories. You
can't have your cake and eat it, too. And another criticism we've been
getting since the very beginning of the show is, "How come we never
hear from, or incorporate into the story, the other passengers, the
ones who are sort of carrying logs around in the background?"
Obviously we knew it'd be tricky starting to fold Rodrigo and Kiele
into the show as if they'd been there all along. But it was an effort
on our part to sort of deal with two out of those three criticisms.
Although the inevitable, “Why aren't we spending more time with Claire
instead of spending time with people we don't know yet?" was going to
come up. We suffer the slings and arrows of criticisms at almost every
creative turn, and again, it's all in the service of the uber-story
that is Lost.

Personally, I'd be happy if the show just featured Matthew Fox,
Michael Emerson and Elizabeth Mitchell every week.
Damon: We're going to spin them off. It's going to be called "Ben &

One other complaint I'm hearing this season is that new mysteries are
being presented before old ones are solved. Can you say anything about
Carlton: We're always in this sort of balancing act. [We want] to keep
the audience engaged by the underlying mysteries of the show, but we
also want to try to answer questions and give people some
satisfaction. And I think maybe the pendulum has swung a little too
much into the “Well, we need more answers” category, and we try to be
attentive to that. I think there are some upcoming episodes — after
the break in the spring — that will answer a number of the open
questions. We certainly plan to tell the audience this year how Locke
got in the wheelchair.
Damon: We'll be getting a lot more detailed about what happened to
Locke, Eko and Desmond following the immediate aftermath of the hatch
exploding, imploding or potentially doing something else.
Carlton: We're doing a flashback story where you'll find out how Jack
got his tattoos. 
Damon: And we'll begin peeling back layers of who the Others are, how
long they've been on the island, what their origins are. That's really
the sort of uber-plot of Season 3. And here's the thing: At the end of
season 2, we downloaded a hell of a lot of mythology in those last
couple episodes. We explained why the plane crashed and whether or not
the button was the real deal. But at the same time, every time we
close one door we have to open up another or else we risk falling
victim to the Twin Peaks curse, which is that once they told you who
killed Laura Palmer, there was no reason to watch the show anymore. 
Carlton: What you might also be feeling is that kind of sense that
we're basically working on Episode 60, so that's a lot of hours to not
know, “What's the nature of this island? Where is this island?" The
overarching mysteries of Lost remain unanswered. But those questions
have to remain unanswered until the show ends. That's something we
don't know and we're not in control of when it is going to end. We
will attempt to answer some of the transitory questions, but
obviously, the big ones have to stay unanswered.

Will Adewale be back for that flashback episode you just referred to?
Damon: It might not necessarily be a flashback episode.

But you said we're going to go back and find out what happened right
after the hatch imploded or whatever.
Damon: Yes, we are. It might be a flashback, but we're not going to
tell you how that information gets relayed.
Carlton: It might be a flash-forward or a flash-sideways.
Damon: It will certainly be a flash-something.
Carlton: It could be a flash in the pan.
Damon: Look, here's the thing, Michael. We believe audiences aren't
really asking, “When are we going to get our answers?” They're asking,
"Are we going to get our answers?" And that's a very savvy question
for them to be asking, because of the nature of the television
business, it's sort of like, "Are they just stringing us along?" And
all Carlton and I can say is that we are absolutely committed to
giving you those answers. We know what the answers are, and we're
telling them in the most creatively satisfying way for us as

A reader named Denise sent in what I think is a really good question.
When the plane crashed, Ben told Goodwin that if he ran he could be at
the crash site in an hour. Now if they're on two different islands,
how could he possibly do that? Walk on water?

Carlton: That island isn't necessarily where they live. It's not
necessarily the same place where we saw those guys in the beginning of
the teaser of the season premiere this year. I think that would be a
very reasonable explanation as to how Goodwin and Ethan could run from
the Others' home camp to the crash site.

OK. Another reader, Baude, wants to know when we're going to find out
what happened to those kids who were abducted. 
Damon: I think you'll begin to get a real sense of the answer to that
question in about the second episode back after the break — a very
real sense.

Does it tie in at all to the fact that Juliet's a fertility doctor?
Damon: I think that's a reasonable connection.

Is the guy with the eye patch going to figure prominently this season?
Carlton: Oh yeah.
Damon: Prominently.

And what about the outside world?
Damon: Obviously, this is the big sort of dangler from Season 2. We
broke perspective off the island for the first time — at least that's
what we're leading everybody to believe — and, certainly, that ball is
in motion and rolling down the hill at a very fast rate. That is
pretty much what begins to dominate Season 3 once we come back from
the break. It takes a couple of episodes to get up to speed, but the
fact that the island may have been seen is pretty much the entire
story arc of the second half of the year.

Is it too soon to talk about what this season's "challah" will be?
Carlton: Yes.
Damon: We've already gone on record as saying we're going to call it
the "matzo" this year.
Carlton: Our biggest concern on the show is that we're going to run
out of Jewish bread products.
Damon: There aren't that many.

Is there going to be a sort of "challah"-type thing at the end of
tonight's episode?
Carlton: No.
Damon: It's not a game-changer. 
Carlton: But there's a good cliff-hanger.
Damon: It's a much more conventional cliff-hanger in the vein of Jack
Bauer going on a slow boat to China. 
Carlton: We believe it's a cliff-hanger that will make the audience
want to come back and watch the show when it picks up in February.
Damon: It will hopefully be good enough to incur major frustration
from the audience as to "How dare we go off the air for 13 weeks and
leave them hanging in that fashion!"
Carlton: The angrier we make them the better the cliff-hanger is, I

You guys have been quoted as saying you're going to drop a "bomb"
during the second half of the season. 
Damon: There are two bombs being dropped, one of which is a character
bomb, and that will happen within the first three episodes after the
break. And the other is a more significant story bomb, a game-changer,
as it were, and that will happen shortly after.
And here we see the producers completely misunderstand the audience. These 
two criticisms are not mutually exclusive.

Ideally, we should spend more time with the main cast telling *interesting*, 
flashback stories. Who cares how Jack got his tattoos, completely 

If they have run out of interesting flashback stories then they should quit 
and let
someone else run the show.
How do you know that story to be irrelevant until you've seen it?
Why not just quit doing flash back stories? Why not have a few episodes set 
completely in the present on the island(s) so we can move forward with the 
plot? Is there some sort of law that states Lost has to have a flash back 
every episode?