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What?! They Improvised?!

By ErasedSlate,

  Filed under: Lost News
  Comments: 39

So much for their radio silence after the finale! In yet another interview, Lindelof and Cuse shockingly emphasized that the journey to the end may not have been set in stone from the beginning. In revealing what we already know, they give some insight into the writing process for the show.

In this interview with Sci Fi Wire, Cuse and Lindelof revealed, “There was a big, mythic architecture which included a lot of what’s in the finale, in terms of where we end the show, that we knew way back in the beginning.” To prepare for a season, they held mini-camps for the writers before each season to map out the architecture of the upcoming season. However, they were not beholden to the blueprint. Lindelof underscores, “It’s good to have a plan, but at the same time the most important plan is making the next episode really good.”

Read the full article here, Sci Fi Wire: Dude! Lost’s creators explain they actually IMPROVISED!

  • professorstotch

    Hm…they admitted to this back a couple seasons ago. I think it was between seasons three and four that they compared Lost to taking a cab ride. They said the destination is known, but they’re going to take liberties in how they get there.

  • I shouldn’t say “they improvised”, ’cause they couldn’t have in mind every episodes or flash-storylines since the very beginning. They neither knew the show would last 6 seasons.
    Even if they did, they would have changed with some new and better ideas.

  • I don’t know why this “Did they have a plan” is such a big deal? Nothing said in this interview is new — most of it is retreaded from the NY Times Talk on May 20th, or highlights ideas from interviews during previous seasons. So what if they had a plan? So what if they didn’t? It doesn’t change what we got on the screen, does it?

  • Benjamin

    does anyone actually take this post seriously?

    • Rams

      Not me.

      • Andrew G.

        Me, neither.

        • Gerry Jackson


  • evacipated

    it´s fine if fans didn´t like the finale; it´s fine if fans complain about the ending for the rest of their lives. but it´s just annoying how ridiculously whiny sites like SciFi Wire and Io9 are about The End. for god´s sake: make retrospective analysis, highlight the way Lost changed genre-television viewing; write ideas on how it could be made into spin-offs or sequels or prequels (well, actually, scifiwire did something on that xD), but, really: this is just annoying. i hate the way the article seem to suggest that, because they´re saying they didn´t stick to a rigid scheme, the finale turned out to be the “disaster” it did.
    come on, journalists!

    • Insulted

      But some of us DO think it was a disaster. And if they are saying the writers didn’t have a plan for tying up the many of the parts of the storyline that fans have complained about, maybe they have a point.

  • Ben (Benmanben)

    I don’t care that they didn’t know the end completely.
    You don’t need to know the end to a story when it starts. Sure you should know what is going on at each moment, and what led to that, but you don’t need to know the end at the beginning.

    The end doesn’t influence the beginning, it’s the other way around.

    -Ben (Benmanben)

    • Ben (Benmanben)

      Shouldn’t we be more upset over the Lucas letter?

  • drfitz44

    Regardless if they knew or not, if they had it planned out or wrote the ending the night before shooting it- It doesn’t matter. It is still Great, and still what I consider the best show ever. Hell, even if they didn’t come up with the ending themselves and just wrote down what some strange homeless guy said- it still rocked…

  • Beena

    If you go into a bakery, and order a piece of chocolate cake that tastes fantastic, you aren’t really going to care if the pastry chef improvised in his recipe in some way. The bottom line is that what you got was absolutely wonderful.

    I will always remember this show with great fondness. Doesn’t matter much to me whether or not they had some plan: it was brilliantly done regardless.

    • rodmanrc

      I agree completely. When “The X-Files” ended, I didn’t cry. When “Friends” ended, I didn’t cry. When “Lost” ended, I welled up several times over the night, and the last 10-15 minutes I almost “lost” it completely. On a character level, I felt the show got it 100% right…for me.

      And that’s the key. It was the perfect ending for you, Beena, and it was the perfect ending for me. But it was not what EVERYBODY wanted, and I respect that. Some people appreciated the show for the characters; some people appreciated the show for the mythology; and some people, like me, appreciated it for both.

      I knew going into the final season that approaching it, as well as the series finale, with a checklist of things I wanted to see answered was pointless. I approached it the same way I approached the previous five seasons; I was just happy to be along for the ride, and wherever the show took me, I was cool with it.

      Carlton and Lindelof have long said that the show was about the characters, and that the term “Lost” was a metaphor, not for the island, but about how the people were lost in their lives. And, if you look back over the series, that is EXACTLY what “Lost” was. It was a character show with mythology built around it; it was NOT a mythology show with characters thrown in. Every time we learned something about the mythology, it’s because a character discovered it. We only learned about the hatch because Locke dug it up. At first, we only learned about the golden age of the Dharma Initiative because we saw it through young Ben’s eyes. The writers never threw mythology at us just to throw it at us.

      For example: people always wonder: what was the deal with the pallot drop? Well, we never got an answer to that question…because the castaways never got an answer to that question. Why were Zach and Emma taken by the others? Well, we never got an answer to that question…because the castaways never got an answer to that question. What was the deal with the so-called “Hurley bird?” Well, we never got an answer to that question…because the castaways never got an answer to that question. Do you see my drift? When it came to mythology, we only learned something if the characters discovered it and/or we saw it through their eyes.

      I’m sure people will be able to find examples where I’m wrong on this one, and that’s fine. But I’m happy with how the show ended. I’m happy that not every question ever raised in the show’s run was answered. I appreciate the ambiguity because it sparks my imagination.

      I feel bad for all those who felt punked by the series finale of my favorite show. I wish everyone was satisfied by it. But I won’t lose sleep over this because I loved the finale. It ended as well as it could have…for me.

  • spinflip

    They did it right. Every good storytelling needs a combination of pre-planning and improvisation along the way. Especially on television you cannot plan everything through, as you don’t know whether you will be canceled, some actor decides to leave or you stumble across someone like Michael Emerson.

    In literature authors often make changes along the way and don’t always know how a story will end. The difference is just that with a book, we always get a polished product, but such a thing isn’t possible in a television show spanning over 6 years, where you cannot change what you have already shown the audience.

    • mpress

      I’m with you, splinflip . . . if everything had been laid down in season 1, then it wouldn’t have been organic – it wouldn’t have had any authenticity. And TV is a much more collaborative effort than writing a novel, and even in that process, characters can surprise the writer. Not given Ben a greater part in the story would have been a shame; losing Mr. Eko was a shame too, but out of their control.

      Any good, real creative process is always a combination of planning and improv. That’s just the nature of the beast.

  • Silas

    Most dedicated fans listen to the official podcast and know that none of this is new.

  • evacipated

    @Silas: yeah, i also find it frustrating that the guys at scifiwire think they´re reporting something previously unkonwn!

  • Orson

    What’s new about re-iterrating this after the finale is the fact that there were no answers to most questions. The magic island was… a magic island. Therefore, when they talk about ‘mythic architecture’ being in place that they knew was there but didn’t know how they’d get there, we now realise that the architecture was very slight indeed, and that the degree of improvisation was potentially, therefore, greater than expected.

    For example: how much of the finale did they NEED to know beforehand? Well, actually, none. If they’d been making it up as they go episode by episode they still could have written the same finale that they did. Not one segment relied upon their having planned it before they started even Season 6, when we know they did a writer’s camp. It just turns out not to be the kind of show we thought it was. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for many fans it’s a disappointment.

  • Dave Thompson

    I just wanted to know what the deal was with the cabin… I could figure out everything else but the damn cabin.

    • Beena

      The cabin was originally Jacob’s. We know from the line of ash around it being broken (which Ilana found), it was compromised by Smokey. So Locke had heard Smokey when he went there with Ben. It may have been one of Smokey’s early attempts to eliminate Locke as a candidate, steering Locke off course. And if you go back and re-watch previous episodes now that we’ve seen the end, many of the answers will jump out at you. You can almost always make the distinction between Smokey, and an otherwise harmless spirit.

  • rick

    I like to think that they *know* what the island is, and all the other overly scientific answers people are yearning for. Somewhere this LOST bible exists, and one day it will be leaked. Why doesn’t light scatter just right on the island? I MUST know!

    • Henry Holland

      Hahaha. Remember when Young Ben goes chasing his mom through the jungle before meeting Richard? I love how they filmed it so that light refracted all around Sterling Beaumon’s head > we immediately hear the whispers. If you go back, that refracting light shows up before a lot of the whispers. Loved that bit.

  • thecandidate

    Of course they didn’t know what directions they were going and every detail on how to get to the end. What bugs us is that everywhere they went Darlton went out of their ways to tell us all that the ending was written at the beginning and the whole story would make sense in the end. You know what…it doesn’t make one ounce of sense now.

    • Henry Holland

      THIS x infinity. The amount of rubbish and outright lies those two have told since 2004 is astonishing. I’ve never gotten how they became kind of mini-celebrities in their own right, all over the media, in a way you’d never see with other shows. Damon in particular always bugged the crap out of me, he was the worst aspect of nerdboy-dom come to life. Oooohhhh, look how much knows about Star Wars and Steven King and all that! Oooohhhh! What bugs me the most is that they thought they were making really profound statements about Life And How We Live It and….well, no. Take away metal hatch doors and tropical polar bears and whispers and so on and this show doesn’t last beyond the first season.

      • MyDogHurley

        Are you serious? You obviously watched the show and were into it for its mythology and crazy sci fi aspects. You get on the net and post and discuss it…that sounds nerdboy-dom at its finest to me. Now i’ll be the first to admit I have plenty of nerdboy in me when it comes to Lost but for you to come into a site for a show and cry about how things didn’t get answered and then insult its creators cause you didn’t get the show you wanted sounds like a pissed off fan boy to me.

  • The_Magician

    Who cares if they improvised? I would be more concerned if they didn’t change their minds at all.

    Many of the greatest works of literature have been changed, re-written and revised.

  • i dont think they made everything up as they went along,but you can’t expect them to have 6 years mapped out and have everything there from the beginning.
    i think over all they did a great girlfriend and i watch this show all the time,and she stopped understanding it in the last episode,and i cant undertsand for the life of me why this may be.i think its because everything written up until now may have been easy to understand,but since they had soo much packed into the finale,well this season actually,i think it may have gotten a bit more complicated,and their pace this year has been quite fast opposed to other seasons where we dont get anything till the last few epi’ you think maybe they could of had a season 7?

  • MIB Pants
  • twoods

    This show was almost as good as Big Brother. Except BB uses real people. Not dead people. Yes, dead. How can anyone see otherwise. They’re dead. Always was. hahahahahaha. Oh, a magical island really exists. hahahahahahaha. Dead.

  • milo

    Do I care that they improvised? Absolutely not. Do I care that when all the episodes have aired, it really LOOKS like the writers were improvising and probably didn’t even know the answers to many of the mysteries (particularly when so much looks contradictory/plot hole)? Hell yeah.

    This earlier post really sums it up: “everywhere they went Darlton went out of their ways to tell us all that the ending was written at the beginning and the whole story would make sense in the end. You know what…it doesn’t make one ounce of sense now.”

    • Insulted

      Amen, milo. Amen.

  • RichPundit

    Damon, Carlton and many other of the pathetically “LOST” PTBs frequently and repeatedly hyped that “names mattered” causing many of us to scramble for potential answers that may actually be their promised answers. Well, let’s all be sure to remember their blackened names and the six freakin’ years of their loong con to scam us for their own greedy, personal fame and fortune … abeit more infamous than famous in most objective minds:

    Hopefully, the “LOST” PTBs all truly believe and fear HELL, so they need to enjoy their relatively short, now time b4 their earned fate!

    • bplenc

      oh honestly STFU !

      • RichPundit

        LOST Zombie, eh?

        • milo

          I wish more questions had been answered, but come on. So you watched a show for six years (a great one for the most part) and it left a bunch of things hanging – that’s really a reason to be *angry*?

          Talk about pathetic.

          • RichPundit

            HMmmmm Milo, no doubt the now obscenely enriched LOST PTBs LOVE ur … um, logic!

            “Milo says: May 30, 2010 at 2:16 pm

            … Hell yeah.

            This earlier post really sums it up: “everywhere they went Darlton went out of their ways to tell us all that the ending was written at the beginning and the whole story would make sense in the end. You know what…it doesn’t make one ounce of sense now.”

            btw, they said the LOST colour is “Green”, let’s all scramble to deduce their LOST “answer”.
            Again, even from the NeoCons:

          • milo

            Give me a yell when you’re ready to post something that’s not totally incoherent.

  • Had some problems viewing the site in Firefox on the Mac, but apart from that loved the site.