[07/22/06 - 12:00 AM]
Live at the San Diego Comic-Con: "Lost"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

10:30 am: It's day two and as one would expect, the "Lost" panel is packed to the gills. My 2007 Comic-Con suggestion: Febreze stations every 90 feet.

10:32 am: The moderator - sorry the name got drowned out - says she's got some "video biscuits" for us to see before the panel starts. Am I late to the party on this term? Anyway, they turn out to be fairly cool. There's a sample of the upcoming mobisodes - basically Hurley finds a video camera with some power left and uses it to annoy Sawyer - and a few bits from the season two DVD - a documentary on the Hurley/Sawyer fight from last season, one on the Jin/Sun-centric episode "The Whole Truth" and a new-for-the-DVD "orientation" clip featuring Dr. Marvin Candle (Francois Chau).

10:49 am: Hooray, time for real people! Bryan Burk, Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof, Daniel Dae Kim and Jorge Garcia file in to thunderous applause.

10:53 am: Burky reminds us that the pilot for "Lost" premiered here in San Diego two years ago.

10:55 am: The moderator asks what's the strangest "theory" about the show they've heard, Carlton responds one is that it all takes place in the dog Vincent's mind. Damon jokes, "It is also the correct theory." Jorge says he heard one that Hurley is Claire's baby all grown up, pausing to add "I started that theory."

10:57 am: We then jump to audience questions. Shockingly, "The Question That Everyone Asks" is first up: "How much [of 'Lost'] do you make up on the fly and how much is a secret plan?" Carlton responds: "We have an endpoint for the show, we have an overarching mythology for the show... but within that there's a lot of room for improvisation and we feed back a lot of what the actors do, or what sort of relationships develop... by reacting to what we see onscreen." Damon adds, "The rule of thumb is we never ask a question on the show - especially a mythology question - without knowing the answer to it."

11:01 am: A fan asks what music Damon and Carlton listen to while they write. Carlton says mostly film scores - citing John Powell - while Damon confesses music distracts him while he writes.

11:03 am: Carlton on how fan feedback via the internet influences the show: "After season one there was a lot of fan feedback about how we didn't answer enough questions so when we set out to write the finale for season two, that was very much in our mind to answer more questions." He also notes that fan feedback was the key influence for the show's new split season format for the coming year.

11:05 am: When prompted to estimate how many "days" the entire series will encompass, Damon notes that "you're making the basic assumption that they've been there as long as they think they've been there." My head just exploded.

11:09 am: Carlton drops the first new season hints: "We're definitely having more romance this year, something that we tried to do last year but... we didn't quite get to work on it." He then jokes that it's no coincidence that Daniel and Jorge are sitting next to each other.

11:11 am: And then we hit a 10 on the Richter scale on random weirdness. Basically, a woman calling herself Rachael Blake starts going off on a long rant that the Hanson Foundation is real and that the producers are "Lost" are in collusion with them. At the end of it - before being carted off by security that is - she gives a plug for www.hansoexposed.com. Make of it what you will.

11:15 am: A less crazy fan asks about the influences of the "Oz" books on the show, i.e. Henry Gale being named after Dorothy's uncle. "There are going to be and have been other 'Oz' references in the show which are either incredibly meaningful or don't mean anything at all."

11:17 am: Damon says there will be an amazing featurette on the season two DVD that edits together every single insult Sawyer has used.

11:22 am: Damon on a question about ABC's promotion last season leaning more toward "Desperate Housewives" - "It's not their fault that 'Desperate Housewives' sucks." (I should note here he's joking.)

11:24 am: Carlton on when we'll finally learn how Locke was paralyzed: "We're not going to tell you exactly when but yes we are going to explain it eventually."

11:25 am: Damon hints that they'll be "a little more scientific" this year.

11:28 am: As for the 13 "Lost" mobisodes, Damon says that in addition to Verizon, they should also be available on Sprint phones as well as streamed online, albeit a week or so after they're on the phones. Carlton adds that the hope is they'll be "broadcast" during the December-January hiatus to give viewers some new content to tide them over.

11:35 am: Damon on the show's longevity: "We have at least four, probably five, awesome seasons planned out and at that point... we would have to start tap dancing and that's something we don't want to do. Two years from now will we be in a climate where ABC or Touchstone says 'OK, we'll let you end it' and what is the give and return, we don't know. But obviously that is our preference as storytellers, Ultimately it has to be us to put our foot down and say, 'Fine, you can do more episodes of 'Lost,' but we're not going to have anything to do with it.' And it's hard for us to do that because we don't want to [hurt] the writers, the crew or the fans." Carlton piggybacks his sentiment: "It's the unfortunate dilemma of network television. We wish we could announce like J.K. Rowling that there will be seven 'Harry Potter' books and you sort of have that definitive sense of when it is going to come to a conclusion. And we struggle all the time with all the mythology, with not knowing how long it's going to play out and yet the network invests a lot of money into the show and it's their business too and their absolute right to make money off this endeavor, that's what they're in business to do." Damon sums it up best: "The reality of ending it on our own terms is unrealistic. So we have to sort of think around corners a little bit."

11:39 am: A fan asks Damon what exactly the hieroglyphics (from the hatch countdown) mean: "Each character means something separate but those five hieroglyphics together are the symbol for 'underworld' in Egyptian."

11:40 am: Someone asks Hurley for a hug. I totally did not expect it to take this long for someone to ask. It's a con staple.

11:43 am: Burky is asked about the new cast members this season. "We're still in the middle of casting so it's all unofficial right now." Carlton then confirms that Desmond will be back this season.

11:45 am: Burky on the "Lost" video game, which is being done by the UbiSoft Montreal team: "It's definitely going to be a whole new story. It's going to fall obviously in the world of 'Lost' but [from a storytelling standpoint] it's going to be a whole new experience." He goes on to add that they're being purposely secretive at this point for obvious reasons.

11:47 am: Damon confirms that Kate will officially "make her selection," referring to her love triangle with Jack and Sawyer, in the first six episodes.

11:48 am: As for last season's new additions, Carlton says that there are still things left to be told, particularly about Libby (i.e. we'll probably see her again in flashback). And as for Ana-Lucia, Damon says "despite great cynicism among some people, we really had planned that out as a one season arc."

11:50 am: Carlton says J.J. will co-write the third season premiere as well as plans to direct episode seven, which will be the first new episode of the February wave of episodes.

11:52 am: Damon on a fan's disappointment with season two: "You can't keep all the people happy all the time... There's a very vociferous group of people who hate the flashbacks, who hate all things Dharma Initiative, [etc.] but the minute we begin to listen to any one group you piss off another so while we are unhappy that you are disappointed... you are here, in this room."

11:57 am: More season three tease from Damon: "It's going to be vastly different feeling than the two seasons that proceeded it but at the same time we are sort of re-embracing the things we love about the show. I think there's going to be a lot more adventure elements in season three. Obviously it's very exciting for us that Kate, Jack and Sawyer have all been captured by these other people. So finally we have an opportunity to learn about these people, where they came from, why they captured Kate, Jack and Sawyer but more importantly, this idea that we're telling an adventure story, a captivity story. That's really going to be a big piece of at least the first six episodes, the sort of mini-series event. And then something's going to happen about midway through the year that will hopefully fry everyone's brains. And if it doesn't we'll once again get cries of jumping the shark but as we always say once we stop trying to jump the shark our show is going to become incredibly boring. We've got a lot of factors coming back - Desmond, Locke and Echo - what happened to them down there and how did they survive, did they survive?"

12:01 pm: Overtime! Carlton offers his own tease: "Last season we did something we haven't done for the first 49 hours of the show - we took you to the outside world and that was very significant in sort of laying the seeds for a whole new element that is going to come into the show."

12:03 pm: Lastly, Damon gives away the title of the first new episode: "A Tale of Two Cities."

  [july 2006]  


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