Lost's 10th Anniversary Reunion: Inside the Unresolved Storylines, the Cast's Fondest Memories, and More

By Kaitlin Thomas

Mar 17, 2014

I returned to the magical island known PaleyFest on Sunday, this time to celebrate Lost, which premiered on ABC ten years ago this September. It's hard to believe that nearly a decade has passed since Oceanic Flight 815 crashed and introduced many of us to Josh Holloway's chiseled chin and sculpted chest, but it's true. Nine and half years have gone by since Dominic Monaghan's Charlie asked the now-familiar question, "Guys, where are we?"

Over the course of six seasons and 121 episodes, fans would feed their growing addiction to Lost by attempting to unravel the series' greatest mysteries, including "What's the meaning of life and what happens when you die?" which executive producer Damon Lindelof said during the show's PaleyFest reunion was one of Lost's biggest questions. For six seasons, fans dissected episodes scene by scene, attempting to unlock the puzzles they were convinced were hidden within. Comedian and panel moderator Paul Scheer credited the series with the birth of binge-watching, because of the way it captured viewers' attention and drew them in, often for hours at a time. I can't speak to whether or not that's actually true because I've been binge-watching TV since I left the womb (back then it required a lot more VHS tapes), but I do know that when the Lost premiered, DVRs were basically unheard of, Twitter didn't exist, George W. Bush was still president, and the actor who played Walt was a young boy. Now it's 2014 and Malcom David Kelley is a grown man, and Lost has a legacy unlike any other network series that came before or after it. 

With such a large cast, not every Lost alum could make it to the PaleyFest panel, but those who were present made it all worthwhile. Joining Scheer on stage were executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse as well as cast members Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia, Yunjin Kim, Ian Somerhalder, Maggie Grace, Henry Ian Cusick, and Malcolm David Kelley. An audience member even dressed up as Matthew Fox, complete with a cardboard mask, which just goes to show that Lost fans are some of the best fans, even if they're also sometimes a little intense.

The celebration really felt like a reunion as the cast talked about their fondest memories, the things they stole from the set, how certain characters came to life, and more. The evening kicked off with a screening of "Exodus: Part 1," though Lindelof joked that they'd debated showing the real finale. What, too soon?

On taking mementos from the set:

Several cast members admitted—somewhat reluctantly, because there were ABC executives in attendance—that they'd taken mementos from the set. Lindelof quipped that "Maybe the cover of the hatch fell off a truck, so I was like 'Oh! This fell off a truck, maybe I'll keep it and make it into a coffee table!'" Cuse admitted to having the countdown clock from the hatch, but joked that it just showed up as a package and that he didn't take it. Jorge Garcia has a few paintings that look similar to those found in the mental institution, while Yunjin Kim, Maggie Grace, and Josh Holloway all nabbed clothing. Ian Somerhalder, whose character Boone was the first casualty of the series, said he took "his dignity."

On storylines left unresolved and questions left unanswered:

It's no secret that Lost's legacy also includes some pretty pissed-off fans who were left unsatisfied when the series finale didn't tie up all the loose ends. When asked by fans about specific scenes and why there weren't resolutions to those storylines, Cuse said that "Every question begets a question," and that there "wasn't a way to answer all the questions without it feeling very didactic and boring." Lindelof also jumped in to say that in some instances, those scenes were written and still exist on the page (which they might auction off one day for charity), but at the end of the day, the writers' room decided it was better to leave them unanswered.

On their fondest memories:

"I made out with my sister once," joked Somerhalder before recalling a prank Maggie Grace and the rest of the crew played on him when, as he went in to kiss her, he discovered the hard way that she had a mouth full of minced garlic. "One of the proudest moments of my career," laughed Grace. Holloway found it difficult to choose just one memory. "It was such an amazing magical creative experience from start to finish," he said. "I feel like I've been run over by a truck."

On cable versus network television:

Both Cuse and Lindelof have made the jump to cable since Lost ended, and when asked if they thought shorter seasons would've been better for the series, Lindelof said that he was grateful the show was on network television and not cable. "Doing it any differently than we did it would have resulted in a different show," he said. He admitted, however, it would've been nice to not have to limit Sawyer to saying "son of a b*tch," because sometimes "holy f*ck" would have been a better, more appropriate response.

On character deaths and secrecy on set:

Lost was a famously secretive series, and the actors rarely ever knew anything regarding their own characters in advance. "They only knew what the characters knew," said Cuse, which is why the constant worry of being killed off loomed large over the set. After Boone's death, it was obvious that no character was safe. Daniel Dae Kim actually called the writers during the third season to say that he was thinking of buying a house, because he wanted to know if it was a good idea. Somerhalder, for his part, had no hard feelings about being killed off, and thanked Lindelof saying, "You gave me death, but you also gave me life." 

On creating roles for actors they liked:

When Kim auditioned, she actually read for the role of Kate, because Sun didn't exist. Garcia actually read for Sawyer, because Hurley wasn't a character yet either. Cuse and Lindelof eventually wrote Sun and Hurley, and tailored them for the actors they liked, noting they enjoyed Garcia on Curb Your Enthusiasm and said, "We gotta get that guy in Lost!" Pieces of the actors eventually found their way into characters, too. Lindelof recalled how Locke's wheelchair became a plot point, citing how Terry O'Quinn would walk down the beach and sit alone listening to his iPod. J.J. Abrams saw that and said, "That guy's got a secret." It was then up to Lindelof to figure out what that secret was.

On the series finale:

Cuse confirmed that everyone was not, in fact, not dead the whole time. Phew, glad we got that one sorted out and we can go back to discussing important issues, like how much we all miss Damon Lindelof's Twitter and his tweets to Fancy Feast.

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  • Marijob Sep 01, 2014

    Huge Lost fan can't count how many times I've watched even though yes I was one who thought they died at the crash so my theory was wrong I still love this show now I'm rewatching for the summer with knowing they are not dead and still keeps me on edge. Can't seem to grow tried of this show and I do miss it very much but all things must end bummer! Since ABC owns lost I wonder if they will bring it back someday with the kids returning to the island as young adults, Walt, Aaron, Desmond's son, Jin & Suns daughter the 2 kids from the crash (we don't know what happened to them besides maybe at the temple) so they could have a whole new series of course Aaron should be a doctor! But nothing will be as good as the original! Love Lost best show I've seen in a long time.

  • jellypiejollypop May 13, 2014

    I loved Lost and not only because all the characters were a joy to watch and also not only because each episode was too curious and amazing to watch for a person who loves fantasy but also because I could imagine and actually dream of surviving in a lonely island if ever in trouble with all those passengers they actually made real to my mind. I wish to find a sequel of Lost with the same cast, maybe they grow older kind but like a continuation of the first, maybe like the Island actually brings back the dead alive and time travels and all that. It was a true fantasy and amazing connection with the show and will be forever. Thank you to the creators, crew and cast of the show. Good Luck for the future!

  • smithinjapan Mar 22, 2014

    A good show never gives up all the answers unless it wants to be forgotten; it allows you to wonder, and create your own end. When you leave a question mark, you have the audience go back for clues, whether they are happy with that fact or not. I was disappointed when I saw a news article this week saying LOST decided to finally give answers, and haven't read it (in case they actually did). People keep ASKING the questions for the obvious fact they have not (or had not) been answered.

    I once went to a famous rock garden in Kyoto, Japan (Ryouanji Temple) and stared at the rocks and patterns racked around them for the better part of an hour. My ex-girlfriend's father, who took me there, asked me if the garden spoke to me, saying that many have said that the garden will tell you something if you listen. It did, but when he asked me what it said I told him that it was for me, and he smiled. I won't tell you either, but I will say that what it tells you is a mirror of who you are.

  • shocker713 Mar 17, 2014

    I've never gone to any of my high school or college reunions...but I'm pretty sure you're supposed to have the 10-year reunion 10 years after something ends, not begins.

  • B-a-n-e Mar 17, 2014

    Don't even get me started.

  • turnbilljohn Mar 17, 2014

    I kind of accepted by the last season that they probably weren't gonna give us all the answers I was still let down by the series. I think eventually the writing on the show got bad around season 5 and 6. If you look at the show as a character study only, which everyone wants us to, I still didn't find what a good chunk of the characters were going through as interesting. If they wanted people to always look at the show as a character study like everyone's saying then they should have portrayed it that way, no where near the beginning when the show was at its peak were Cuse and Lindelof telling us that we wouldn't have all the answers to the show. Kind of seems a little backhanded to me to attract viewers and I believe people have a reason to be upset with the ending and no not because its too "complex."

  • tvfreak1985 Mar 17, 2014

    what a great show. every once in a while i still think of the show and the amazing characters it had

  • KnoX Mar 17, 2014

    was not NOT dead? that's the hell of a confirmation :D

  • dimushi Mar 17, 2014

    "Lost has a legacy unlike any other network series that came before or after it."

    Yeah, because it beats the legacy The X-Files made before it and Breaking Bad after it.

  • fweak Mar 17, 2014

    Lots of great and interesting tidbits. I wish I had been there to see the reunion.
    Perhaps Cuse thought they used an alternate ending to the finale, cause everyone appeared to have been dead the whole time to me.

  • kanniballl Mar 17, 2014

    God, another one. Ironically, your avatar face-palming is very apt here.

    Jack's dead explained it all but people just didn't watch the scene or didn't bother listening. The events on the island were real, and among the most important in Jack's life.

    But eventually everyone died... either on the island or years later after escaping the island. For example, Hurley and Linus were apparently on the island for a while after the events of the finale as the island's protectors and eventually died.

    Since they were all so tied together by such important events and time has no meaning in the afterlife, they were all brought together in the "flash SIDEWAYS" world before they took the next leap to the whatever came next. So that world where they flight never happened was the afterlife prepping them for what comes next.

  • fweak Mar 17, 2014

    Ironically, talking about God is what ruined Lost.

  • GavinRollings Mar 17, 2014

    they were only dead during the final season. the flash sideways if you will. purgatory. that's what they said during this reunion. i always thought that so it made me happy to have my opinion reinforced. saying that though, ive always been on the side of, they answered most things that i wanted answered. i don't need or want every little plot point to explained.

  • Hungry_Homer111 Mar 17, 2014

    There were two cases in which we saw what happened to people after dying. The first case is when they were involved with the whispers (most notably Michael, when he explained the whispers to Hurley). The second was the flash-sideways. But no, the whole show was not about dead people on the island. If you thought that, either you misunderstood the finale (rewatch Jack's scene with his father in flash-sidways), or you must have seen a version made in some alternate reality, in which they were all dead the whole time...

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