Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse may not have answered any major questions at Saturday (July 26)morning’s Comic-Con panel that packed the cavernous Hall H, but the Lost masterminds certainly gave out a lot of funny presents.
The series showrunners hit the stage carrying a mysterious box filled with goodies and announced that anybody who asked a question would receive a gift, if not a straight-forward answer. They even made an effort to tailor the freebies to the question.
What follows is as complete a reproduction of the Q&A as I could produce.
Question: When the hatch exploded, did that also cause the island to relocate?
Answer: "The island did not travel when the hatch exploded, but something else happened." (Lindelof)
Gift: An Oceanic bottle of water
Question: Are Jin and Locke dead or will we see them again?
Answer: "Jin will still be on the show in some form. You’ve not seen the last of either of those characters… Dead is a relative term, really. In the timelines of those characters, there is a lot of story yet to be told, so the show will still have both of those characters on the show." (Cuse)
Gift: A Jin-related panda bear
Question: I heard on the local news that you only have two seasons left and the show won’t be back until January. Is that true?
Answer: Well duh.
Gift: A Lost calendar
Question: Out of all the episodes, which ones do you love the most? Which season best?
Answer: Cuse says "The Constant," while Lindelof references the first season finale. Both hedged and said they liked the first season and that they really liked the fourth season. (Lindelof added, "Hopefully when we get asked this question again, we’ll say Seasons Five and Six")
Gift: I sortta dropped the ball on this one. Some sort of bar and t-shirt.
Question: [After complaining briefly about the Sun-Jin timeshifting episode] Was the promo image of the characters on the island and then reflected in the city supposed to have deeper meaning?
Answer: "I think you may be reading a little too much into it. I mean, last year we were telling the story of the Oceanic Six, we knew that Jack and Kate had gotten off the island and I think the advertising campaign meant to be reflective of that." (Cuse)
Gift: "For slapping us around, a Heroes DVD." (Damon)
Question: Can you see that we’ll have a Rousseau flashback episode this season?
Answer: "We will say this: You will see definitively this year, Rousseau’s story, but to use the word flashback would be disingenuous." (Lindelof) "We’re steering away from the word flashback and embracing a whole new word. There will still still be flashbacks and flash-forwards on the show, but we’re going to do something different this year. We’re going to mix it up." (Cuse)
Gift: "I Am Lost" luggage tags. ("Classy," Lindelof added "At least it’s something.")
Question: Are you planning on shooting under the new SAG contract?
Answer: "We’re completely on board to start shooting the show in three weeks." (Lindelof, after explaining to the questioner that there *is* no new SAG contract, adding "Whatever contract the actors are under, that’s what they’ll be working under.")
Gift: A photograph of Nikki and Paolo
Question: How much does the rest of the writing staff know about how the show will end?
Answer: "The other writers do actually know quite a bit. They don’t know everything, but look, we’re basically putting together the last two seasons of the puzzle, so a lot of the planning involves things that are going to happen… We have an incredibly fantastic writing staff and we work collaboratively. We break stories in the room, with them, so they’re very much part of the creative process." (Cuse)
Gift: A life-jacket signed by all the writers.
Question: Last year Michael was a special guest. Do you have anyone sulking around backstage to meet us?
Answer: They said no.
Gift: Signed box set for the Lost Season 3 ("All the cast are in this box set," added Carlton)
Question: Have you guys ever read or seen the movie Lost Horizon?
Carlton: "Yes, but it’s not like a touchstone movie or book…" (Cuse)
Gift: Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Question: What happened to Vincent? And will he be back?
Answer: "We knew one of the questions was going to come ‘What’s happened to the Island after the flash? What happened to all the people that we care about? What happened Sawyer? What happened to Juliet? How’s Locke going to end up in the coffin?’ No, no. It’s Vincent. It’s ‘What happened to the dog?” Vincent made it and will appear in Season Five. I think it’s safe to say Vincent’s gonna make it to the end of the show, not to ruin the surprise for you." (Damon)
Gift: Polar bear
Question: Will Jack and Kate be together at the end?
Answer: "We can’t tell you." (Cuse) and "Certainly we cannot tell you the answer to that question, but obviously we’re very invested in that relationship" (Lindelof).
Gift: A Jack doll, which served as a segue into… The arrival of Matthew Fox. OMG. Or something.
Question: Will Kate ever see Sawyer again?
Answer: Yes, Kate will see Sawyer again.
Gift: Poster signed by lots of the stars
Question: What’s going to happen to the survivors on the Zodiac boat without an island?
Answer: "Are you referring to the Zodiac boat with Faraday and the five people who have never spoken a line on the show before?" Lindelof asked. "Things are looking good for Faraday."
Gift: A tie worn by Faraday on the show ("For those of you wondering why Faraday is wearing a tie on an island, stay tuned." – Lindelof)
Question: How are you going to limit yourselves on the flash-forwards?
Answer: "This year, once again when season five starts, you’re not going to know where and when you are" (Lindelof) and "There will be storytelling both on and off the island in different periods of time" (Cuse)
Gift: Hanso Foundation hat
Question (from Comic-Con favorite Bob Stencil): Just between me and you, how does the show end?
Answer: "It ends well, we hope" (Lindelof)
Gift: A six-pack of Dharma Beer
Question (from a guy who looked an awful lot like Hurley): What did Charlotte explain to Juliet? And how did Faraday know about the secondary protocol?
Answer: "It has to do with his notebook and written in that notebook are all sorts of things that already happened or are about to happen and it will figure very prominently into Season Five" (Lindelof on the Faraday question) and "The scene that we never wanted to write was Charlotte explaining to Juliet that there is a station that makes massive amounts of poison gas that could wipe out the entire population of island and they were going to neutralize it as a precautionary issue" (Lindelof, again).
Gift: A large tub of Dharma Ranch Dressing ("It never goes bad" – Lindelof)
Question: Do you ever write yourself into a corner or do you have it have it all played out?
Answer: "We have the big landmarks planned out, but we try to write ourselves into corners every day. That’s what’s really thrilling, is we’ll say ‘Well what if we put the characters in this particular predicament? How would would get them out?’ What we try to avoid doing is filming that without knowing the answers" (Cuse). And, "We force the show to evolve and sometimes we do really scary stuff that we shouldn’t do, but then if you blow up the hatch, then you can’t do anymore stories in the hatch. We feel like the audience is going to get frustrated if we don’t move it forward, move it forward, move it forward" (Lindelof).
Gift: A dry-erase board eraser signed by Cuselof.
Question: How old is Richard Alpert and how many toes does he have?
Answer."He is quite old. Obviously we have hinted before that aging on the island is a different process and people heal, we’ve seen that as well. Obviously we’ve seen Richard Alpert in some different time periods and he looks the same as well. That is hopefully and engaging mystery that will keep you watching the show through this season and you will actually learn a lot more about Richard Alpert’s history" (Cuse) But that’s only the answer to the first question. As for the second, Lindelof adds, "You’re going to see him barefoot in the very near future and that’s pun intended. The very near future."
Gift: "I asked a Richard Alpert question and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" t-shirt.
A final question regarding the relationship of the Jeremy Benthem name to the series was interrupted by a protracted set-up to another Dharma Initiative video.
Frankly, I’m perfectly happy to let Ryan McGee of Zap2it’s Guide to Lost handle the nature of the video when it becomes available on the Internet in the near future. That’s really more of his bag. Me? I learned that Dr. Marvin Kendall’s name is really Pierre Chang and that he has a wife/girlfriend and a child. I learned he came from Ann Arbor and that he works with Einstein Field Equations. These may have been facts that Lost-ier fans than I already knew. I mean, I’ve never missed an episode of Lost, but I know that makes me a slacker.
The final quote of the video — "Time is not just of the essence. It is the essence. Perhaps you’ll be able to find a way to save us, to change the past…" — seemed important, though.