PaleyFest, an annual TV fan festival in Los Angeles, brings show runners and cast members together before a live audience—this year at the Dolby Theater, home of the Oscars—to talk about shows and, sometimes, spoilers.
It’s been 10 years since the pilot episode of Lost first aired, bringing a mix of drama, sci-fi and a whole lot of confounding plot twists to network TV. By the number of die-hard fans that turned up for the Lost reunion on Sunday night—some even donning their best Dharma Initiative jumpsuits—the passion for the show remains, long after smoke monsters and tropical polar bears have faded from water cooler TV chat. In fact, the Lost reunion turned out to become the fastest-selling event in PaleyFest’s 20-year history.
Actor-comedian Paul Scheer (The League) served as the event’s moderator, which seemed like an interesting choice on paper. But as soon as he began, we knew that Scheer was a serious Lost fanboy: “Yes, I have a tattered copy of The Third Policeman [which the character Desmond, reads in a hatch]. No, I don’t know how it connects exactly.” (He also asked the audience to refrain from asking questions related to the mystery of the missing Malaysian plane, which we agreed would have been in poor taste.)
?“The show may be done, but we are not done with the show,” Scheer said, before introducing the screening of the “Exodus, Part 2,” first-season finale, which prominently featured the PaleyFest panelists: Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Yunjin Kim (Sun), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Ian Somerhalder (Boone), Maggie Grace (Shannon), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), Malcolm David Kelley (Walt). Joining the actors onstage were Lost executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.
?“We debated if we should show you the real finale,” Lindelof said, priming the audience for an evening of interesting tidbits and evasive answers.
?Here are 10 of our favorite moments/lines/insights from the Lost panel:
Paul Scheer pulled no punches when he asked Lindelof and Cuse whether the Oceanic “survivors” were dead the whole time. Cuse said, “They were not dead.” He explained that they wanted to include a buffer between the close shot of Jack’s face and the commercial break, and selected footage they already had—the plane wreckage set on the beach. “That, I think, exacerbated the problem,” Cuse said.
The ending was an afterlife parable. “Lost was not purgatory,” said Lindelof.
“We’re not going to Sixth Sense you.”
While several of the actors ‘fessed up to taking some clothes from wardrobe with them, the executive producers were a little hesitant revealing souvenirs at first (with ABC executives in the audience). “Maybe the cover of a hatch fell off a truck,” said Lindelof. Added Cuse, “A package arrives…the countdown clock from the hatch…it just showed up.” Garcia also said he might have two paintings similar to the ones from Hurley’s stint in the mental institution.
Kim had originally read for Kate, eventually played by Evangeline Lilly, because the Sun character didn’t exist. “We wrote Sun based on your audition,” Lindelof said to Kim. In addition, the executive producers noted that Garcia had read for the part of Sawyer.
An audience member asked the executive producers something about decisions made on the show that they regretted later. Lindelof and Cuse pointed to the character development of Nikki and Paulo, minor characters brought to the forefront in the third season. “We heard the audience hating Nikki and Paulo, but we were already hating Nikki and Paulo ourselves,” said Lindelof.
“I had a guy tell me [that] when the plane was in the air, we were all cloned. The story of Lost was the story of our clones,” said Garcia.
While most of the cast members said that there were too many memorable moments to count (the politically correct answer), Somerhalder said, “I made out with my sister once.” He then shared the practical joke played on him by Grace, who played his sister Shannon, and the crew during that scene. He was called back for one last take on the infamous kissing scene, and Grace had “a mouthful of minced garlic…and a couple puffs of a cigar,” he said. “The crew was in on it.”
Said Lindelof: “Who ended up in charge of the island? Hurley.”
In the press line, we had to ask a requisite “desert island” question, so we asked a few of the cast members which three TV shows they’d take with them. For Garcia, he’d pick The West Wing, The Walking Dead and Battlestar Galactica (remake).
Kim, however, chose three shows she hasn’t seen yet: “Mistresses, season 5 [plugging her current show]...hoping that we go that far; The Wire...I never got to see The Wire; and House of Cards. I didn’t start with House of Cards yet because I was afraid that [the binge watching] of Breaking Bad would happen again.”
One audience member asked about the “outrigger” scene in which Sawyer and company were suddenly shot at while rowing in the ocean, before a timeshift occurrence. Who was shooting? “I have to give you some sort of satisfaction without answering your question,” said Lindelof, “which is the Lost way.” He said that scene exists on paper somewhere and maybe they’d auction it off for charity one day.
?Josh Holloway without a shirt. Hands down. Team Sawyer was out in full force.
PaleyFest 2014 runs through March 28.