Ten years after the emotional and divisive series finale of ABC’s Lost, MTV’s Josh Horowitz hosted a New York Comic Con panel looking back on the phenomenal sci-fi adventure series. Showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse dropped by to confirm a new piece of canon and address how the show would be different if they were making it in 2020, what aspect of working on the series they’re most nostalgic for, and much more. Check out the full panel, or just get the highlights, below.
The fan questions came fast and furious, kicking off with which aspects of the show they’re the most nostalgic about (answers: Hawaii’s gorgeous locales for Carlton and the interactions with the fans for Damon). The two writers spoke about how their characters would have cursed a lot more if they weren’t locked in by network restrictions, and how there would have been a lot less filler episodes if they could have just created 13 or 14 episodes per season instead of 24. “Desmond would have had much stronger feelings about vaccinating himself in the hatch,” Lindelof joked, taking the 2020 element literally.
One fan question posed early in the conversation wondered if the showrunners had any instances of head canon which they believed even if they couldn’t fit it into the show, with the fan giving an example of Hurley running a golf tournament on the island every year. “I just want to say officially, because I think [Carlton] and I are in the position to do this,” Lindelof said, “that we can verify her theory. In fact, Hugo is having a yearly invitational that’s called the Dharma Open and it’s invitation only. That is a thing that is, in fact, happening.”
“It starts in the fourth round, and it finishes in the first round,” Carlton joked, adding a time travel twist appropriate for the later seasons of the show.
They reminisced about hosting the official Lost podcast (which was on the forefront of the podcasting vanguard), and joked about the saddest death on the entire series – “probably the guy Sayid shot on the golf course,” Cuse said, before Lindelof seriously answered the question by saying that Charlie’s death would always be his number one. “Dominic Monaghan was in a tank giving that performance, and when we got the dailies back, we were like, ‘Oh my God,’ it was just gut-wrenching. Then we went to the set music stage and saw what [composer] Michael Giacchino had done with that sequence. We watched Charlie die 50 times, and every single time, it still hurt.”
One of my favorite sections of the conversation was sparked by a fan asking what the showrunners’ plans for the show would have been if they had stuck to their original idea of only using Michael Emerson for a few episodes, instead of realizing he was such an incredible performer that they eventually turned him into Ben Linus, the leader of the Others. “To make a television show successfully, you really have to listen to the show and the show tells you what it wants to be,” Carlton said. “And in the case of Michael Emerson, we had this idea that he would be the leader of the Others, and we also had this backup plan that if it didn’t work, he wouldn’t be the leader of the Others – he would just be a guy who escapes and then goes away…if it wasn’t him, it would have been somebody else, but it seems inconceivable now that it could have been anybody else other than Michael Emerson.”
They explained that they took seven weeks to write “The Constant,” the show’s most famous time-travel episode, when it generally only took them about ten days to write an episode. (Time travel, they confirmed, is indeed a bitch to write.) They touched on the infamous Nikki and Paolo episode, and mentioned their favorite obscure characters (“Neil Frogurt” and Oceanic 815 survivors “Scott and Steve”). But perhaps the most mind-blowing piece of trivia that I’d never heard before is that Carlton Cuse provided the inspiration for Carlton Banks, Alfonso Ribeiro’s character in the 1990s Will Smith sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. “Yes, that is true,” Cuse admitted. “Andy and Susan Borowitz, who created The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, were classmates and friends of mine at Harvard, and appropriated my name to name this character. So that is true.”
While nothing too Earth-shattering was revealed, it’s always fun for fans of the show to hear from the heads of this show, which was so far ahead of its time and remains one of the biggest highlights of the second Golden Age of Television.
Lost is currently streaming on Hulu.
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