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.
AIRED ON 5/23/2010
Season 6 : Episode 17