LOST's ending, 10 years later, remains a common talking point among pop culture enthusiasts. The final episode (which if you somehow have not heard about by now is about to be spoiled) saw the characters form up in a flash-sideways which was essentially an alternate world where they had all come after dying. Some died on the island, some died long after their time together beyond the show's ending, but they all survived the crash and eventually met up in the afterlife. However, in having a finale which saw the characters moving on to the next stage of the afterlife together, there was one moment which plagued viewers and made them think no one survived the plane crash which the writers and producers now look back on as their one regret.
only really have one regret about the whole journey of LOST and that was at the very, very end," Cuse explained to Vulture. "Barry Jossen, he called Damon and me and he said, 'You know, I’m worried that we’re going to come out of this incredibly emotional ending of this show and then slam into a Proctor & Gamble commercial and that isn’t going to be good. Is there any way to soften that or ameliorate that? Is there any footage that exists that we could put at the end to just kind of ease the audience out of the show and into commercials?'"
It shortly after that conversation that Cuse and Damon Lindelof hatched the idea to broadcast unused footage from the show's set from its first season. The beach is empty but the plane wreckage is scattered. No footsteps, no chaos, essentially no survivors. However, this was not an indication that nobody survived the crash, it was simply the filmmakers sharing what they thought was neat footage from a nice memory.
The only thing that we had or we could find was, sometime during the first season, the winter was coming and all of the pieces of the airplane had to get moved off the beach because in Hawaii, in the winter, the North Shore of Oahu, the whole geography changes. Huge waves come in and the beaches erode away. It was an environmental hazard. So before all the pieces of the Oceanic plane were moved off the beach, a unit went out and filmed them.
"We put that footage at the end of the show and I think that the problem was that the audience was so accustomed on LOST to the idea that everything had meaning and purpose and intentionality," Cuse recalls. "So they read into that footage at the end that, you know, they were dead. That was not the intention. The intention was just to create a narrative pause. But it was too portentous. It took on another meaning. And that meaning I think, distorted our intentions and helped create that misperception."
The show's Hurley actor Jorge Garcia recalls viewers starting to question the moment. "I thought that was a nice bit to decompress at the end of it," Garcia said. "Then I found out the next day how people started interpreting it as a thing and I was like, 'Oh, okay.' And people still say it. People still talk about it the same way."2comments
"Whether you like the finale or whether you don’t like the finale, that doesn’t really bug me too much," series writer Lindelof explains. "But that idea — they were dead the whole time — it negates the whole show, it negates the whole point of the show."
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