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Chief Justice Michael Stailey • Location: Santa Monica, CA
• Member since: May 2002
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Getting LOST with Season Four
July 27th, 2007 6:58AM

In what was probably the most attended presentation of the day (and I got there an hour early), showrunners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof overcame microphone problems to tease, tantilize, and taunt the assembled masses as what we can expect to see in Season Four, which doesn't premiere until February 2008. Employing what they referred to as "failsafe bells," each of them had the opportunity to ring the other out, if they begin to give away too much information. Of course, it quickly became a running gag throughout the hour.

The hour kicked off with a video preview of Lost: The Videogame from Canadian-based Ubisoft. The tagline is "Survive the island and find your way home." While still in rough form, it will give players the same type of show experience, complete with mystery, intrigue, flashbacks, and more. The animation is reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto and the character designs are very faithful to the cast. Funny thing is, they had yet to record the actor's voices, so every one of the overdubs had French Canadian accents. The game will hit store shelves in Februrary, just in time for the new season.

With that out of the way, the boys dove right into audience Q&A, prefacing the session with Damon saying that "fan brutality" has helped significantly shape the direction of the show. Carlton added that if some fan comment doesn't wake Damon in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, he's not happy.

Topics that came up in discussion...

How has the end date changed the show?

Damon: It's "incredibly liberating" giving them an opportunity to put into place all the key plot points that have long been mapped out, but put on hold while they tap danced around other issues. Both added that the new 16 episode season format gives them much needed time to do their best work. We really owe you guys thanks for this gift, because we can now start to put things in motion that will reward fans for coming along for the ride. And just so you know, the Kate/Jack flash-forward is not the end of the story.

What was the thought behind the increased violence in Season 3?

Carlton: It was a final summation of the storyline between the Losties and The Others.
Damon: If you go back and look, the Losties perpetrated more violence against each other in Season 1 than anyone did to them in Season 3.

How much control do the various writing teams have in shaping the overall story?

Carlton: It's really a collaborative writing process. The storylines are broken down into beats, but the 8 member writing team has the opportunity to fill in some of the details.
Damon: Each writer has their own favorite characters, and their respective histories spring forth from those major plot points.

Where's Michael?

Surprise guest Harold Perrineau arrives on stage to thunderous applause. While his return to series regular status for Season Four was spoiled on Wednesday at the Television Critics Association presentation in Los Angeles, Damon and Carlton wanted to make it known that Michael's story is a signification piece of the puzzle in the series overall story. His is the most compelling of all the redemption stories, They wouldn't give any details as to how, when, or why Michael will be returning, but did promise it would happen sometime in the early part of the season... and be quite shocking.

Will we see more flash-forwards?

Carlton: Yes.
Damon: But how forward, and about whom is anyone's guess

Will Jack and Claire learn they are brother and sister?

Damon and Carlton: No comment

Will we learn more about the Dharma Initiative?

Carlton: Yes, and sooner than you may think... like within the hour. (Hmm...)

Will ABC re-run Season 3 in anticipation of Season 4?

No, but Season 3 will be arrive on DVD, December 11.

In Season 2, was Ben caught in Russo's trap by accident or by design?

Carlton: By accident, but there's more to that story which will be revealed in Season 4

Will we be treated to another "Lost Experience"?

Not during this hiatus. Mobisodes are in development, but they just didn't have time to create worthwhile content between Seasons 3 and 4. This stuff needs to be in canon, and not throwaway, which require a great deal of thought and effort. The new schedule allows them time to create new off-network content, which we'll see after Season 4.

Will Richard's story be told this season?

Carlton: Nestor has a new series on CBS with Jimmy Smits, which might limit their ability to use him this season. Time will tell.

What questions aren't we asking you that we should be?

Carlton: Who's in the coffin? Who else besides Jack and Kate got off the island?
Damon: Who's on the freighter? Who are the skeletons they found in Season One?

Will Libby's story ever be told?

Carlton: We intend to finish her story this season, and her ties to Dharma might surprise you.

Will we ever get a Russo flashback?

Damon: Her story will be told, but it may be spread out between this season and next. Other elements need to fall into place first.

Will the shooting schedule remain the same and the network just hold back episodes?

Carlton: No. We are only shooting 16 episodes a season. The added time will be used to create stories.
Damon: Shooting begins in late August, at which point 14 of the 16 scripts will have already been written. So if something goes south, were kinda flying without a net. The problem this year is going to be spoilers. Our job is to keep the secrets safe for those who want to enjoy the ride.
Carlton: You guys have done an amazing job of self-policing and keeping spoilers away from people who don't want to know them. We hope that continues this season. It's much more fun if you take things as they come.

What is the monster really? We know it's name is Cerebus.

Carlton: Cerebus is one of its names.
Damon: The maps do show C.V.s or Cerebus Vents
Carlton: Some things on the island will forever remain a mystery. That's just life. No everything has an explanation. But we do want to definitively explain the monster before the series concludes.

Special Clip:

Just before arriving in San Diego, Damon and Carlton received a package from Norway. Apparently this 8mm film was discovered in an abandoned building scheduled for demolition and the people who found it knew it had to get into the hands of the LOST producers. The film itself was horribly damaged. They restored as much as they could, but still don't know what it means.

Much like the other Dharma films found on the island, this raw footage features the mystery Asian-American man, here referred to as Dr. Edgar Hallowax. Much of it is raw behind-the-scenes footage for the creation of a training film for Station 6: The Orchid. This is not a bio-station, but something else entirely. In his arms is a large lop-eared rabbit with the number 15 painted on the side. However, during the first take, a duplicate of this rabbit appears out of thin air on a shelving unit behind him, knocking things to the floor. Everyone in the room panics as alarm bells sound and the camera is shut off. When they return, everything is reset and the training film begins once again, this time Hallowax is apologizing to the station employees for having to deceive their families, making reference to the "Cashmere Effect," at which point the film deteriorates and ends.

Speculation amongst those sitting around me centered on rips in the space-time continuum, where the same person/animal could exists in the same place at the same time, traveling from one time stream to the next. Could this explain John's statement in the Season 3 finale, "It's not supposed to happen like this." Could he have died at the hands of Ben and the John we saw return been from another time? How does this relate to Desmonds time altering abilities? Check out the various LOST fan sites for more speculation between now and February.

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