Home Action Lost – Exec producer Damon Lindelof on the show’s final season

Lost – Exec producer Damon Lindelof on the show’s final season

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Lost Season 6 - Damon Lindelof
Damon Lindelof at the 2010 Winter Press Tour © ABC

Lost premiered on September 22, 2004, telling the haunting story of the passengers on Oceanic Flight 815, who crash on a mysterious island; for the viewers it was a narrative that generated more questions than answers. Six years later, the final season is about to premiere, and fans all over the world hope some of the questions they’ve been asking for so long will finally have a resolution.

There’s so much secrecy surrounding the end of this iconic series, the members of the TV Critics Association weren’t even allowed to watch the premiere episode, which will air on February 2nd. But we did get to speak with one of the show’s creators, Damon Lindelof.

How do you feel now that the series is ending?

Lost Season 6 - Zuleikha Robinson, Nestor Carbonell and Emilie de Ravin
A last supper for Ilana (Zuleikha Robinson), Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) and Claire (Emilie de Ravin)? © ABC

Personally, I’m just feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude, and the idea that we’re getting to end something while anybody still cares and while we still love each other as opposed to everybody saying, ‘It’s about time.’ This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a show that’s still performing, for the network to allow us to end it is a tremendous gift.

Unless there’s something unexpected coming in this last season, we’ve said goodbye to Locke (Terry O’Quinn) a long time ago. Did Mr. O’Quinn know what was going on?

It’s one of those things where the actor reads the script, and they decide what they need in order to play the scene, and they know that we are completely available to answer any questions. But I do feel like the fun of the show for us as writers and producers is to send the scripts down to Hawaii and then see what we get back as opposed to trying to micromanage it.

I think if we had called Terry during the shooting of The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham, which was around the sixth episode of the season, and said, ‘Hey, Terry, we don’t want to confuse you, but the Locke that you are now playing on the island is not actually John Locke anymore,’ because thousands and thousands of years ago … he’d say, ‘Stop!’

But instead you put in the script, ‘There’s something about Locke that’s different,’ and Terry plays something about Locke that’s different. You keep it simple and you trust your actors, and it’s worked out pretty marvelously for us.

Lost Season 6 - Evangeline Lilly, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse
Evangeline Lilly, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse at the 2010 Winter Press Tour © ABC

How long is the final season?

18 hours. It’s a two-hour premiere and a two-hour finale shown over 16 consecutive weeks.

In what way does the final season refer back to the first season?

There’s an inherent process when you’re ending something to sort of be thinking about the beginning as writers, and in fact, the story of the sixth season very specifically has to go back to the beginning and examine a lot of things, and say here is where our characters started, when we first met them; and here is where they’ve come to.

If you think about a character like Sawyer (Josh Holloway), this guy was basically the sheriff of the Dharma Initiative in 1977, and if you had said that that was going to be his eventual path five years ago, it would have sounded like the most ridiculous thing, but you take him there one step at a time.

Lost Season 6 - Naveen Andrews, Evangeline Lilly and Josh Holloway
A last supper for Sayid (Naveen Andrews), Kate (Evangeline Lilly) and Sawyer (Josh Holloway)? © ABC

One thing I think we’re trying to do, all of us, the actors and the writers, in the sixth season is to show the audience the before so they have some sense of this is what they used to be and who they are now so you really get a sense of how far that person’s come.

Despite receiving critical acclaim the show hasn’t received many Emmys or honors, has that disappointed you?

It’s a miracle that the show won an Emmy in its first year, and as politic as it is to say it, how many shows get to say they won a drama Emmy, period? So the fact that we’ve gotten a couple of nominations since then is enormously gratifying. But to tell the story in a different way that would make it more accessible to people who don’t watch the show, would be such a quantum mistake and alienate the people who do watch the show, we wouldn’t be nominated for anything because it would be horrible.

Since Matthew Fox isn’t here today, has he expressed to you his thoughts on the show ending?

Matthew was in Rome with us this summer, and it was one of the first opportunities we’ve had to leave the States and talk about the show internationally, and he seemed to share the sentiment of everybody else in terms of being enormously excited that the show was ending and looking back on the ride. I don’t think I can say anything new here that he hasn’t already said on the record.

Lost Season 6 - Emilie De Ravin, Daniel Dae Kim, Josh Holloway, Evangeline Lilly, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Emerson and Jorge Garcia
Emilie De Ravin, Daniel Dae Kim, Josh Holloway, Evangeline Lilly, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, Terry O’Quinn, Michael Emerson and Jorge Garcia at the 2010 Winter Press Tour © ABC

What do you think the legacy of the show will be?

We talk about what we think the legacy of the show will be, and it will probably be two things. There will be a legacy that in the week after the finale airs people will be talking about it. It’s almost impossible to have any perspective on the 125 hours that preceded the finale. All that we can hope for is that people really feel like the experience of watching Lost was incredibly rewarding and that they’re really happy that they dedicated all that time and energy to the show.

How does it feel to beat President Obama for the premiere date, February 2nd at 8 pm (Obama did the State of the Nation speech on January 27th instead)?

What’s amazing is you realize how fickle your political affiliation is. I’m a lifelong Democrat, but when I first heard they were considering February 2nd, I was like, ‘That motherfu-ker!’

There will be more from Demon tomorrow.