Tears. All over again.
There were few dry eyes in the room as "Lost's" big bosses Damon LIndelof and Carlton Cuse faced fans for the first time since the iconic TV series went off the air three years ago and answered the big questions they have never addressed:
Were they really dead the whole time?
What was the point of the whole show?
Here are the answers Damon and Carlton gave at Sunday's PaleyFest event honoring the 10th Anniversary of the "Lost" premiere. (And by the way, the original plan was to screen the "Lost" pilot, but that plan was scrapped out of consideration for the Malaysian Air tragedy. The first-season finale was aired instead.):
On whether the characters were actually dead the whole time (Since the time the plane crashed): "No, no, no. They were not dead the whole time," Cuse said definitively, adding that he believes that some footage they showed at the very end of the series lead to much of the misunderstanding among fans.
"At the end of the series finale, [an ABC exec] thought it would be good to have a buffer between when you have the end of the show and when they cut to say, a Clorox commercial," Cuse explained. "We didn't have a lot of extra footage lying around, but we had footage of the plane wreckage on the beach," which they shot when the plane needed to be moved or it would have been washed out to sea. "We thought, let's put those shots at the end of the show and it will be a little buffer and lull. And when people saw the footage of the plane with no survivors, it exacerbated the problem."
But the characters definitely survived the plane crash and really were on a very real island. At the very end of the series, though? Yep, they were all dead when they met up in heaven for the final "church" scene.
On what the finale was all about: Carlton explained: "Very early on we had decided that even though 'Lost' is a show about people on the island, really, metaphorically, it was about people who were lost and searching for meaning and purpose in their lives. And because of that, we felt the ending really had to be spiritual, and one that talks about destiny. We would have long discourses about the nature of the show, for many years, and we decided it needed to mean something to us and our belief system and the characters and how all of us are here to lift each other up in our lives." (Hence, the whole brilliant "Constant" concept. Swoon x infinity, Desmond and Penny.)
Damon added: "For us, one of the ongoing conversations with the audience and there was a very early perception, was that the island was purgatory and we were always out there saying 'It's not purgatory, this is real, we're not going to 'Sixth Sense' you.' And we felt it too that the show had to become sort of meta in this way. And so the writers said, 'Obviously, there are all these mysteries. But what if we answered a mystery that was never asked, what's the meaning of life and what happens when you die?'"
Damon added that the idea for the "Flash Sideways" world came about between the planning of seasons four and five because "We were out of flashbacks and we were done with flash forwards. So we started to think about, what if we sort of Trojan horsed in a paradoxical sideways storyline?"
This creativity came into play after ABC sold the series oversees internationally for longer than the storyline was originally plotted out by Damon and Carlton and their brilliant team of writers, so...things got more...creaitve.
Also answered was a fan question: "Who was the top dog on the show? Jack? Sawyer? Or someone else?"
Damon's answer: "In terms of the set, I can't answer the question but in terms of the show, I guess we can point to who ended up running the island."
Boom. Team Hurley!
Also, there will be at least one more frequently asked "Lost" mystery that will be resolved, someday. Damon revealed that one of the show's biggest questions--who was on the outrigger--was actually written, but the writers decided that "it was a cool answer but what's cooler is to not answer it...We will probably auction [the script] off for a great charity cause a few years from now."
"Lost" premiered on Sept. 22, 2004, and concluded its run on May 23, 2010, with what turned out to be one of the most controversial finales of all time--primarly because, as Damon confessed, the finale didn't answer any of the questions fans had expected it to. (What were the polar bears all about? etc.)
Carlton summed up their vision for the show thusly: "We felt like 'Lost' was sort of the Big Bang Theory and every question would only beget another question. But what we cared about most was the emotional journey of each character."
Some of us who watched (and obsessed) about the show cared most about that, too.