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LOST Theories So you think you know some secrets of the island? Maybe you can explain everything. If it's original and you can back it up, we'd love to hear it.

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Old 03-26-07, 07:38 PM   #1
bmw8901
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+ Was Lost's ending already figured out?

I was thinking last night and had a theory that might explain the way things are going with the show.

Yesterday, I read a quote from one of the producers/writers that said something along the lines of, "If I told you we had every detail planned out from the beginning, I'd be lying." That got me thinking.

First off, I know there are varying theories as to what the modus operandi of the writers is. Do they have everything planned out? Are they making it up as they go along? Do they have a rudimentary guide of the plot from the beginning to end? I have heard evidence for each of these, and I don't claim to know which it is. But let's assume that they at least had some idea of the plot of the show when it was pitched to ABC.

Here's my theory: What if the writers had an idea of the show's plot but people already figured out, and now are changing the show because it was "found out". For example, perhaps initially, the people of Lost died in the plane crash and the island and whole show was Purgatory. This would still have been an excellent show. But that theory generated a lot of buzz and got attention. Would the writers have continued with the show knowing that the secret was already out and eventually they would have to end it in that way? Or would they have changed the story to what it has evolved into today? The writers have discounted the "Purgatory Theory," but how do we know that it wasn't what they intially had in mind?

And it doesn't have to just be that theory. It could have been any theory. There have been a host of theories out there trying to explain the show i.e. aliens, dreams, hallucinations, false memories, Hurley's mind, etc. etc. From my understanding, most if not all have been discredited by the writers. What if one of those was right? And now, for the sake of "not ending the show like that," continued ratings success, etc. the writers have changed the plot.

If this is true, my only concern is that the show's ending won't be as good as it once was. For example, if the purgatory theory was true, that would have been a cool ending and everything would have wrapped up nicely - i.e. (the smoke monster, the regret for past mistakes, trying to get off the island, even unexplained phenomenon on the island.) Now, if the writers are changing the plot and it ends up as some 1970's scientific experiment gone horribly wrong, it just doesn't seem as fitting and as grand of an ending to what it once was. In addition, trying to tie up all the lose ends and please the entire audience is going to be very difficult.
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Old 03-27-07, 03:00 AM   #2
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Re: Was Lost's ending already figured out?

Welcome, bmw.


I once had in my sig something stolen from Douglas Adams. Something along the lines of "There is a theory which states that if the ultimate mystery of Lost is ever discovered it will immediately be rewritten by TPTB and replaced by something even more inexplicable. There is a further theory which states that this has already happened." And in the words of Terry Pratchett, I swiped it while no one was looking. (I only plaigarize the best )

The problem with looking to the words of TPTB for any "final answers" is that they have already debunked many of them, probably every single one which is remotely plausible, in their podcasts. Meanwhile, they have shot their credibility in the face already by violation their statement "Either by science or by pseudoscience" by having Smokey kill Eko and Locke be confirmed to have been actually paralyzed.

In the end pleasing the entire audience is going to be very difficult, I think they know that. If they have settled for pleasing that portion of the audience which enjoys a good yarn that will suffice.
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Old 03-27-07, 05:15 AM   #3
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Re: Was Lost's ending already figured out?

IIRC, very early on TPTB said that the series will follow a 5-season arc. Given that, they should have at least a skeleton of where the show is going and at what pace is needs to go to get there in that timeframe.
I for one would hate to see them extend the show beyond what they envisioned to begin with. It's like M*A*S*H, it was a great show, but it ran longer than the actual Korean War did.
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Old 03-27-07, 01:10 PM   #4
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Re: Was Lost's ending already figured out?

One of the things TPTB do quite a bit, especially in the Podcasts, is to say one thing but use tone to imply just the opposite. This sarcasm is not an endearing trait. And it has resulted in a lot of quoted statements from TPTB out there that turn out to be taken out context if you actually hear the tone in which it was said. For example, they've said Season 8 will feature zombies and Season 7 will feature clones. But the context in which this was said had to do with whether any screen time would be devoted to Kate pruning her armpit hair. What TPTB clearly meant, if you actually listen to that Podcast, is that armpit hair as the subject appealed to them about as much as the zombie and clone ideas, which they've also rejected.

This is a case where it's clearcut. But sometimes they seem to be using this sarcastic technique to be evasive. I sent a message to Greg Nations at the Fuselage a while back about contradictory claims from 815 survivors about how long the flight took. His initial answer seem to say there was nothing there and I should ignore anything from Ana Lucia, whose version of the flight was much shorter than what those in the front of the plane had been saying, because she was annoying and probably spent most of her time on the flight intoxicated. However, Nations later answered a follow-up question and a related question from someone else by admitting that the time issues we were pointing to were legitimate mysteries, a "mess" that would need to be sorted out at some point. I think his Ana Lucia answer was saying: "You fans hated this character, so we had to kill her. And just now you are noticing how important she was. Too bad." But that's really hard to tell, because I couldn't hear the tone of voice in his written response.

What was the real intent? Obfuscation.

My best guess is that they have an ending in mind and will stick with it to some extent, but will need to tweak it as time goes on. One reason for saying this is some of the commentary on the S2 DVD episode "23rd Psalm," regarding the filming of Smokey. Smokey in that scene is a cloud of Smoke with electrical stuff going on in within him. But if you slow down the replay, you can see that each "flash" is actually a still shot from Mr. Eko's life, imbedded within Smokey for a split second. In the commentary, they explain that before creating this effect, they had a top-secret meeting with the their special effects guy and said, OK, this is what the monster is. Knowing this, create the scene we want without giving away too much. That entire episode tells me that they have a specific explanation for the monster to which they've committed, at least as of that episode, even though the explanation will probably be one of the last reveals in the series. They also claim in this commentary to have had the entire Pearl, realized in "?," worked out as early as the S1 episode where Boone and Locke find the Beechcraft.

This doesn't mean everything has been worked out in this much detail this far ahead. But I do think they are committing to some plot lines that they will see through. It's certainly possible that other plot lines will deviate with time.

I think it's interesting that TPTB have looked to Victorian author Charles Dickens for inspiration, since he also wrote serially. They must be aware that Dickens sometimes changed elements of his plot as he monitored reader response. I believe the final scene of "Great Expectations" is one example of this and he had intended a much darker conclusion to what winds up being a fairly upbeat ending. Note that I'm not just pulling Dickens out of thin air. TPTB have mentioned their admiration for him and his influence is seen in borrowings such as episode title "Tale of Two Cities" and Desmond's key-holding book "Our Mutual Friend."
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Old 03-27-07, 01:47 PM   #5
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Re: Was Lost's ending already figured out?

My take on it is that the main overall arc was known from the start (i.e. purgatory, Hurley's delusion, 70s science) and probably hasn't changed.

But the minor storyline arcs will undoubtedly have evolved. For example, I doubt TPTB intended that Michael would kill (to death) two fellow Losties when they introduced him in the first episode. I doubt they knew that Kate and Sawyer would finally get down'n'dirty in a cage of polar bear poo when they sowed the seeds of the JKS triangle. I doubt they knew the precise circumstances of Locke's spinal injury when they put him in a wheelchair.

All of these things evolve as the characters do - taking into account audience reaction to certain storylines, and also the actors' input. One vital job of TPTB is to ensure that all these meandering subplots do nothing to contradict the main plot.
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Old 03-27-07, 02:02 PM   #6
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Re: Was Lost's ending already figured out?

Well put. Although I think they Cooper story has been building to this point all along and they've known what happened to Locke for a long time.

One interesting glimpse at the creative process comes from something TPTB said in their most recent Podcast. (Don't worry, not spoilerish.)
They said the fake-Henry character was originally planned for a 3 episode incarceration and escape, and Ben Linus, leader of the Others, was foreseen from before that material was written as a character would appear at the end of S2. When they liked the fake-Henry actor, they decided to merge these characters. As I've suggested above, I think they do minor rewriting like this when they see a good angle, but they're not fiddling with the larger story too much.
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Old 03-27-07, 09:53 PM   #7
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Re: Was Lost's ending already figured out?

They've done that with several characters. I remember watching the bonus material for S1 and TPTB talking about how they liked so-and-so, but they didn't have a part for them, so they made one up in order to use that actor. I think it was Sun
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Old 03-27-07, 11:07 PM   #8
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Re: Was Lost's ending already figured out?

Thanks for all of the interesting posts! So I take it that the consensus is that the major plot (of the whole show) hasn't been changed, but rather, character development, smaller story plots, etc. Anyone have a different theory?
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Old 03-28-07, 01:46 AM   #9
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Re: Was Lost's ending already figured out?

The creator of Battlestar Galactica has said pretty much the same thing-there is a definite story skeleton, but characters' stories will be modified as the arc moves along; how much or little an actor's screen time has been thus far, how their stories evolve from sitch to sitch, etc.
And alot is improvised at filming for better storytelling.
Tighe didn't lose his eye in the original script. Roslyn's cancer didn't return...
TPTB even said Jack wasn't written to survive past the pilot, but was such a strong character that played well for test audiences that his character was kept. I think it was said that Hurley was specifically written for Garcia, and Eko for AAA. Yunjin Kim auditioned for the part of Kate, and both Sun and Jin were born from this audition.
Dominic M auditioned for the part of Sawyer and Josh Holloway auditioned for the part of Jack. Ha! What a different show that might be! And Sawyer wasn't written with a southern drawl, (I think he was originally supposed to be from New York) but Holloway kept letting it slip so they told him to just go with it.

edit: And with this reply, I am now officially In Too Deep!
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Old 03-28-07, 04:18 AM   #10
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Re: Was Lost's ending already figured out?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw8901 View Post

What if the writers had an idea of the show's plot but people already figured out, and now are changing the show because it was "found out".

If this is true, my only concern is that the show's ending won't be as good as it once was.
I firmly believe that they have a grand arc in mind. That's because Lost is continuing to work towards developing it's good guys and bad guys. As I see it, there must be good guys and bad guys in the story, to lead up to a big memorable finish that reaches out and grabs you. TPTB have done a brilliant job of confusing people on this matter, precisely because that's what they're really up to. Also, it doesn't matter if a few posters figure out the ending either, because, afterall, no on except TPTB knows if they did figure it out or not, anyway. TPTB knows that.

But we do know that Purgatory cannot be the answer because where are the good guys and the bad guys? Besides that, any attempt at meaningful conflict would just make the show way too religeous. The Losties who become good ascend to heaven, and the bad Losties are carried away to hell by Smokey. No, not now, not ever.

The various brands of All-In-One's-Head theories, while impeccably researched, can never be the answer either, because TPTB won't want to be copy-cats. To make it dramatic, with antagonists and protaganists, that would have to come off looking and feeling too much like The Matrix, which was just too popular.

However, what TPTB are doing is going off in all sorts of sneaky directions to mislead the viewers, but only if they can plausibly rein them all in again under the grand arc that they have in mind. That includes blurring the line between the good guys and bad guys, too, of course. To sum up, as long as they end up with good guys and bad guys, and there's no reason to think that they won't, then they know where they're going with the show, and are sticking to the master plan. An example of this type of ending is in my story: The Grand Arc (see link below) That type of ending has got to be better than Purgatory or Head Trips.
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