The "Lost: Season 3" panel Saturday morning at Comic-Con International in San Diego was absolutely packed. Moderator Karen Idleson opened by asking, "Are you hungry?" Before launching into the first of the panel's "video biscuits."
"Lost Diaries" was the first clip, a preview of the mobile episodes ("mobisodes") coming this fall from Verizon. In the clip, Hurley finds a video camera that still works, and shows it to Kate and Sawyer, just in case they're killed, "or eaten or something."
Next up were a few more surprises form the "Lost" Season 2 DVD bonus materials. There was a new Dharma Initiative training video, detailing the three phases of island work: Observation, Addition and Conclusion
The third clip was a montage of the cast and crew goofing off during the Hurley/Sawyer fight scene.
The last clip was "The Whole Truth," cast members and crew talking about the Jin & Sun arc/relationship.
Idleson then introduced Executive Producer Bryan Burk, Executive Producer Carlton Cues, Executive Producer Damon Lindelof, and actors Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) and Jorge Garcia (Hurley).
Idleson started out by asking, "What's the strangest theory any of you have heard?" Kim responded, "[That] it's all taking place in the dog Vincent's mind." While the strangest Jorge heard was, "Hurley is Claire's baby, grown up."
Idleson then invited fans to come up and ask questions. The first was on the topic of the mythology of the show, and how much is being made up on the fly, how much is a secret plan, and how much the actors know. Garcia first answered for the actors. "We get a script 2-3 days before we start shooting it, and that's when we find out."
Cues explained that there's a mythology, and they've planned out the arc of season 3, but there is flexibility depending on how the characters develop. Lindelof added, that they can "..never ask specifically a mythology question without knowing the answer to it." With the characters, they have the freedom to see where it takes them, but when it comes to mythology like The Others and Dharma Initiative, Cues said, "You need to know what you're doing."
Cues revealed he listens to film scores as he writes, especially those by John Powell. However, Lindelof said, "I get really distracted when I'm hearing music and writing, so I'd love to come up with something wildly cool, but I'm relatively square when it comes to actual process."
Is there any influence on the show from viewer speculation and feedback? According to Cues, it's a thin line to walk. "You can't be influenced too much," said Cues. But fan feedback definitely has an effect on the writing of the show. At the end of Season 1, fans thought there were too many questions, so, they answered a bunch more in the Season 2 finale. Lindelof added they got responses about that finale being, "too mythologically dense," but they've taken that into consideration, because "fans are the barometer."
Fan feedback about last season's almost random schedule actually influenced the network as well, leading to the two "pods" of programming. The first six episodes that air in the fall will almost be a miniseries.
A disappointed fan asked if they were surprised that they didn't get an Emmy nod for Best Drama. Lindelof said, "We were disappointed and a little bit surprised. We're very proud of season 2. Was it a different show than season 1? Absolutely, and season 3 will be different than both." Lindelof also asked why "Battlestar Galactica" was also overlooked by the Emmy's to much applause. "I think that tells you something about what the tastes are," said Lindelof. "We don't write the show to get Emmys, we write it because it's cool and we want you guys to like it."
Asked how many days the series will cover (since the first season was 48 and the second cover 23), Cues explained, "It never came up, but by the end, we're going to cover a lot of history." The weird statue (from the second season finale), is "at least 50 years old, maybe older," and he hinted that the history of the Island may be a lot more extensive than we've dealt with. Lindelof threw out a meaty tease with the line, "You're making a basic assumption that they've been there as long as they think they've been." But he was hushed before he said more. Lindelof promised that by the end of Season 3, "you and they may have a different idea."
A question about the "underwater hatch" brought more cryptic hinting, with Lindelof not denying there was one, and Cues not confirming there is.
A theory that Bernard and Rose (from the Others) work for the Dharma Initiative was met with a resounding "no" from both Lindelof and Cues.
The next question was from a woman identifying herself as Rachel Blake. "Have you no shame?" she asked the assembled producers, "Tell us what you know about the Hanso Foundation!" She claims the training films are real, and that the Hanso Foundation is "a very real, very dangerous organization."
She also mentioned Joop, the 105-year-old Orangutan, Hugh MacIntyre and the Global Welfare Consortium, and asked what "Werner Middelwerk" was doing in Sri Lanka. She finished by asking where Alvar Hanso was. The whole time, Damon was pleading that "Lost" is only a TV show.
Things were quickly back to normal, with a fan postulating that the Island was, in fact, the Land of Oz from L. Frank Baum's famous novels. Lindelof joked that, "If you play Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' from the beginning of the pilot, just as the O is approaching the screen, it'll completely sync up." But the fan brought up the interesting item that Oz is "an invisible island in the middle of the pacific." Lindelof confirmed that there are Oz references in the show, and that it was an "interesting theory."
The actors were asked if they had their own theories. Kim explained that originally, "We both [he and Jorge] thought it was some alien ant farm, another race or higher being watching us run around and...experiment with each other." These days, Garcia lets fans come up with the theories. The oddest one uses cloning as an explanation for the dead people that have seemingly appeared on the island, like Jack's dad. Lindelof assures us, however, "you will never, ever hear the word clone on 'Lost.'"
A special feature on the Season 2 DVD is a video that has edited together every single insult Sawyer has uttered on "Lost."
The upcoming third season is going to focus more heavily on the scientific than the prior seasons. "Lost" was always conceived as dancing between the supernatural and scientific, and we'll start to see more focus on Jack's background as a spinal surgeon. We may also start to see how Locke's paralysis was cured.
Hurley's time in the mental institution, who he met there, and his interaction with Lily, is definitely going to be woven into the fabric of season 3, according to the producers.
The "Lost Diaries" mobisodes, will be available to download a week after they hit the Verizon phone network. They're hoping to do 13 episodes total and many will probably come out between the two programming pods.
According to Lindelof, Vincent is still on the island. "You'd never get to see his flashbacks if he left," said Lindelof.
Questioned about the use of the word "Namaste," a traditional greeting of blessings, by the Dharma Initiative, Cues explained, "They were good guys," their projects were for "the betterment of humanity." (It's interesting to note that he continually refers to Dharma in the past tense.)
According to Lindelof, "There are at least four, probably five seasons planned out" but there is a defiite end point that all the producers and writers have in mind. "After that, we'd have to start tap dancing." Lindelof and the other producers would prefer the show to end on their own terms, but if it came to the network wanting to keep the show on the air, they would probably all walk, rather than drag it through the dirt. Or zombies.
The literal translation of the five hieroglyphics that appeared when the timer in the Hatch was allowed to count down are the symbol for the Underworld. It's subject to interpretation, but that's the closest translation, according to the producers
Desmond will be back on the show along with some new regulars next season, and Burk confirmed that the final sequence form the second season finale was off-island.
Is the monster a cloud of nanobots? "No, it is not a cloud of nanobots."
The plot of the "Lost" videogame is under wraps, but will follow the spirit of the show.
Asked "When is Sun going to have Michael's baby?" Lindelof said, "Well, going back to the question about how each season takes a couple of days, I'll say Season 13?"
Kate will be get with somebody "soon. Very soon."
Libby's past will be filled in more with flashbacks of other characters.
Series co-creator J.J. Abrams will co-write the premiere of Season 3 and hopefully direct the 7th episode.
Another disappointed fan asked if we'd see more action in Season 3, to which Lindelof replied, "We tell the stories we want to tell at the speed that we want to tell them. 'Lost' was designed as a cult show, and somehow it became a mainstream show. You can't please all of the people all of the time."
Do Jack and Locke's rich fathers, and Libby's rich husband, have anything to do with Dharma? Lindelof could only say, "You're asking the right question, but we're certainly not going to confirm or deny it here."
Asked if there was anything we can look forward to, generally, in season three, the panel threw out a number of events:
- The series will have a vastly different feeling than the last two seasons, a lot more adventure elements.
- Kate, Jack, and Sawyer have been captured by these Other people.
- Something's going to happen halfway through the year that's hopefully going to fry everybody's brains, said one of the producers.
- Desmond, Locke and Eko, what happened to them, and how did they survive, if they survived?
- There will be new characters, exploring how they get there.
- And finally, Penny and Desmond's relationship will be explored
The show will also be "exploring the Others community." The title of the first episode is going to be, "A Tale of Two Cities."