In December, I interviewed “Lost” executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof over lunch on the Disney-ABC lot in Burbank, Calif. In a week or so, I’ll be using that interview to write a feature for the print version of the Tribune (I’ll post that “Lost” feature here too).
But with the anticipation of the “Lost” Season 6 premiere building — the start of the final season is only two weeks away on Feb. 2 — I thought I’d start posting the full transcript of the interview. It’s looong. Check back here for additional installments (there should be two more installments over the next week or so).
Yes, what follows is only about a third of the interview. I know! But given that Lindelof and Cuse were kind enough to give me an hour of their time, I’m going to share everything they said with my fellow island fanatics. Casual fans might not want to read the whole thing; if that’s the case, there are a few choice excepts here. All my other “Lost” coverage is here.
This interview contains no spoilers for Season 6. I didn’t (and still don’t) want to know any specifics about the season to come.
I was interested in finding out how Cuse and Lindelof approached Season 6 and how they feel about the fans’ expectations for the last season. This section of the transcript also contains the first set of ‘Star Wars references, and there are several “Battlestar Galactica” and “Sopranos” references too. Also, giraffes.
In the next exciting installment: Time travel!!! Later: Ewoks!!!
Here’s Part 1 — enjoy!
Ryan: Even as a hardcore “Battlestar Galactica” fan, I was taken aback at how impassioned people were about the last set of episodes of that show. And I was really unprepared for how harsh people could get over the smallest things and what they meant, and over what and wasn’t dealt with in those final set of episodes. It was as if everyone had a different checklist in their mind of what had to happen.
In approaching this last season, do you have the sense that it’s going to be like that? Or did you just not think about the intensity of the fan reaction?
Lindelof: I’m sure we both have similar yet vastly verbose responses to that because we talk a lot about it and been talking a lot about the ending of the show for a long time. But I think that there is a disproportionate focus on a finale and there always has been. And this happens on a micro level, where the critically and fan-hated season, Season 3, also happens to have the greatest finale probably of the series. And the taste left in your mouth in the wake of the finale is really all that matters.
If the entire series is going to be judged based on our ability to execute the dive, you can’t do your job. Part of it is — despite what people think or say, so much of it has been talked about and planned for years now that you’re just kind of executing the plan to the best of your ability. You’re changing the plan when it’s not working, but otherwise, you’re kind of married to the inevitable — the stuff that we want to do.
Cuse: We also spent a lot of time talking about how we don’t want the last season of the show to be didactic. It’s very dangerous to basically create a checklist of answers and then start trying to tick them off, because we want to make sure we’re telling engaging stories. For us really, while the mythology is important, for us it’s a story about these characters. And so most of our focus has been on, how are we going to resolve the character stories?
We really feel we are very committed to this notion of not stripping the show of its essential mystery. I mean, mystery exists in life and we kind of always go back to the midi-chlorians example [in the ‘Star Wars’ prequel films]. Your understanding the Force was not aided by knowing that there were little particles swimming around in the bloodstreams of Jedi.
There are sort of fundamental elements of mystery and magic to the show that are unexplainable, and any attempt to explain them would actually harm the show, and in our opinion, the legacy of the show. So we’re trying to find the right blend of answering questions, but also leaving the things that should be mysterious mysterious.