On Saturday, July 25, at Comic-Con International in Hall H at the San Diego Convention Center, Lost will begin its long good-bye in front of 6,500 enthusiastic fans. Since even before the show’s premiere in 2004, the Lost panel has been one of the annual event’s hottest happenings, and this year looks like it will be no different. Executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof break their “radio silence” for an exclusive preview.
What does going to Comic-Con each year mean to you guys? Carlton Cuse: Comic-Con sort of has the feeling of a homecoming. The most hardcore fans of the show are the people that show up at Comic-Con so we really feel like it's our chance to kind of commune with the people who care the most about Lost. And in a lot of ways, we feel we're responsible for creating this whole sense of community and fan involvement surrounding the show so that really means a tremendous amount to us. Damon Lindelof:Lost is a TV show so it's like listening to a band that you like on CD. It's an entirely different experience to go see it live. And there is no Lost on Ice. Carlton Cuse: We're working on that! We have to learn how to ice skate first. Damon, this morning, though—we had some ice time before this interview—he did his first Double Lutz. Damon Lindelof: Just a one and a half. Carlton's being flattering but once we figure out the kinks…But, you know, all kidding aside, Comic-Con is about as close to a live [Lost] experience as you can get, and as it is with most live experiences, it's not as much about what's happening on the stage as it is in what's happening in the audience. It's just a great opportunity for the fans of the show who literally come from all over the world to be around that energy that normally they just experience in the privacy of their own home.
You know, the idea of Lost on Ice, ABC might be quite interested in that. But anyway, is this definitely your last year at Comic-Con or is some sort of “victory lap” or sorts even possible for 2010? Carlton Cuse: This is definitively it. This is like a Cher farewell concert. This is the final hurrah. We're not going back to Comic-Con after show is done and in fact, the theme for our panel this year is fan appreciation. We're going as much to celebrate the fans who made Lost everything that it is as we are to talk about the show. It's really exciting and a little bittersweet for us because this is it.
How will that “fan appreciation” manifest itself? Damon Lindelof: We're trying to be as inclusive as possible. A lot of panels are basically just the producers and directors and actors sitting up on a stage and answering questions, and while that's certainly part of our panel, we look at it more as trying to produce a show. And this year's show is going to try to take into account some content that was actually generated by fans so that they feel like they programmed the panel just as much as we did. We've got a contest out there that involves writing a title song for Lost. As you know, the only title song we've ever had is just “Waaaaaah” so the idea [for the contest was] “What if we had a conventional opening title sequence?” And the winner of that will be announced at the Con and we'll be showing and recognizing that piece there. And there are a couple of other surprises that are fan oriented or fan generated.
Didn't Jimmy Kimmel do a comedic Lost theme song for you guys at one point? Carlton Cuse: Yeah. Jimmy's done a lot of really cool viral stuff for Lost. He's a huge fan of the show and we completely appreciate all his support, but actually this theme song thing is just open to the fans and we're excited about what we're going to get. I mean, there are some Lost tribute bands that are out there already. One band called Previously on Lost record a song after every episode which has the plot summary of that episode. So there has been some really cool stuff that has been done over time on behalf of the show. But obviously we promise some surprise guests on the panel as well so that hopefully will be engaging for the fans also.
Safe to say at least one cast member is showing up? Carlton Cuse: I think it's safe to say that you'll see somebody from the cast. Damon Lindelof: It sure would suck if it were just Carlton and I.
Oh that’s not…well, maybe that's true. Damon Lindelof: It is. Look, all we can say is that it's enormously tricky because the actors don't live in L.A. and/or San Diego and they're still technically on their break when Comic-Con happens. They're not back at work so that being said, the Comic Con experience has been one that not all our actors have had yet so we might be seeing some faces that never have been down to the Con before. [Editor’s note: Previous year’s attendees: 2008 - Matthew Fox; 2007 - Harold Perrineau; 2006 - Daniel Dae Kim and Jorge Garcia; 2005 - Josh Holloway and Maggie Grace; 2004 - Matthew Fox, Dominic Monaghan and Evangeline Lilly.]
Any moment from past appearances at Comic-Con that's stuck with you guys? Damon Lindelof: I think we probably have the same one. Carlton Cuse: We did this thing last year where there was this guy who was a Hurley lookalike who asked [a] questions [from] the crowd and he was so far [away from the stage] we thought for a minute it was actually Jorge Garcia. And we were giving prizes away for questions and so we fortunately had on hand a giant tub of Dharma Ranch dressing which we gave to him as a prize for his question which was a huge really funny moment and that was really enjoyable.
And his question I imagine was, “Can I be a stunt double for Jorge?” Damon Lindelof: The funny thing was although he was clearly trying to look exactly like Hurley, he did not make any reference to it. His question was not related to Hurley in any way so he sort of had the dry deadpan delivery. But, for me I guess, I'll always remember the second panel that Carlton and I did together. We bought out these little bells, so whenever one of us started answering a question that was giving away too much information, the other one had the authority to ring the bell and that person had to stop talking immediately. To create that energy focused on this one tiny object in a room that had 3,000 people in it was pretty cool.
Are you going to answer questions about the last season? Damon Lindelof: Yes. Carlton Cuse: We'll answer some questions and we'll be evasive about some things. I mean, again, we want to find the fine line between teasing and spoiling. Damon Lindelof: Up until Comic-Con, we've been answering those questions by saying, “We're not talking about Season 6 until Comic-Con.” Now we will no longer be able to use that as an excuse so we'll at the very least have to find a new dodge.