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“Previously on LOST” – 9 Things We Learned at the LOST 10th Anniversary PaleyFest Panel

Thousands of die-hard Lost fans, including a few in authentic Dharma jumpsuits, packed the Dolby Theater Sunday night for a panel celebrating the show’s 10th anniversary. (No, it’s not quite 10 years, since Lost premiered on September 22, 2004, but close enough.)

On the panel were exec-producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and cast members Josh Holloway, Ian Somerhalder, Maggie Grace, Henry Ian Cusick, Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, Jorge Garcia and an all-grown-up Malcolm David Kelley. Comedian Paul Scheer moderated, and began by advising the audience that questions about the mysteriously missing real-life Flight 370 would be wildly inappropriate.

After a showing of the still terrific and tearjerking “Exodus Part 1” from Season 1, the questions got inappropriate in other ways, such as the guy in the Dharma jumpsuit (and a Matthew Fox mask) who asked Holloway to sign the suit, since it appeared to have his blood on it. An uncomfortable Holloway declined, pointing out, “You already have my DNA!”

After Holloway shared that one overzealous fan offered him a chicken dinner, another (male) fan offered just that if they answered his question. Of course, by then, “chicken dinner” had become code for “sex,” so Lindelof hesitated to give a too-thorough answer.

What was evident throughout the evening was the cast’s love for each other and the still obsessive nature of its fans as they watched the ep, cheering Holloway’s shirtlessness, chuckling at Arzt’s impending explosion and shedding tears over the emotional farewells as the raft sailed.

Among the revelations:

1. Who was the show’s alpha male? Hurley!

An audience member asked who was the island’s real alpha dog: Jack? Sawyer? Locke? Lindelof replied that that title went to the guy who ended up in charge of the island: Good ol’ Hurley. Since Jorge Garcia generated even more applause with his entrance than hotties Holloway and Somerhalder, it seems the fans would agree.

2. What did everyone steal from the set? 

Soon everyone can have a hatch in their living room.

Cusick admitted he’d stolen some of Desmond’s iconic blue shirts. Garcia said he “might” have taken the two paintings Hurley made in the mental institution, while Holloway said he’d taken a pair of Sawyer’s boots that were his anyway. Lindelof said that the hatch lid “fell off a truck” and he’d somehow ended up with it, while Cuse said that the hatch countdown clock “just arrived in a package one day.” Yunjin said she might have taken a few of Sun’s flashback and flash-forward outfits, while Somerhalder said he left with “my dignity.”

3. The raft worked… too well!

Like Bruce the mechanical shark in Jaws, the Lost raft that took Sawyer, Michael, Walt and Jin away from the island in “Exodus, Part 1” had its share of problems. The first raft sank while the second one was so unexpectedly sea-worthy, it outpaced the camera boat! Holloway joked, “We sailed that raft halfway to Kauai,” all the while not sure if the helicopter was following them or not. (We have this iconic aerial shot to confirm it was.)

4. There were pranks galore on set.

Somerhalder shared that his “most memorable moment” in making the show came after a whole day spent making out with Maggie Grace in the “Hearts and Minds” episode. He was told they had to do one more take and he went back to kiss her again when she surprised him with a mouth full of garlic and cigar smoke.

Grace said she got repaid: After she was left nearly alone on the beach during “Exodus,” the entire male cast mooned her.

5. Damon and Carlton hated Nikki and Paulo, too.

Lindelof said it was just a coincidence that the unpopularly retconned duo (played by Kiele Sanchez and Rodrigo Santoro) was killed off just as soon as audiences declared their hatred of them. While Lindelof had created the characters to satisfy fans’ interest in the little-seen background players, even he and Cuse realized that they just weren’t working.

Lindelof says they’d contemplated pretending they’d never introduced the pair before deciding to dedicate the controversial “Exposé” episode to burying them alive. He insisted they were doomed even before they learned how much fans hated them.

Holloway insisted the two actors were nice folks who were well-liked on set and “great at karaoke.”

6. Fans weren’t the only ones who wanted a Sawyer and Miles cop spin-off.

Holloway said he’d have liked to see more of Season 6’s alternate universe where Sawyer and Miles were cops, except he imagined they’d be “corrupt cops.”

7. Terry O’Quinn was kidnapped by a zealous fan.

Lindelof related that O’Quinn liked to walk the three miles to the set. One night, he got a ride from a woman, who let him ride in the back of her truck. Then he realized she wasn’t taking him to his house, but to hers. “I have to show you to my husband,” she explained.

Lindelof also shared that when J.J Abrams visited the set and saw O’Quinn sitting off by himself listening to the iPods that they’d bought for the entire cast, Abrams said, “That guy’s got a secret!”

When Lindelof asked what it was, Abrams replied, “You figure it out.”

8. Some mysteries were deliberately left unexplained

Although we got an answer for what the numbers meant, there were several things that never got an answer on Lost. An eloquent fan asked Lindelof about one from Season 5’s episode “The Little Prince,” in which someone in an outrigger is firing at Sawyer and Juliet but we never see who it is. Lindelof explained that they had a very good answer and that it was written down in a script, but they’d chosen not to reveal it.

“I have to give you some level of satisfaction without actually answering the question, the Lost way.” He said the answer might be revealed someday, possibly for charity. He also said he knew that years from their decision, someone would stand up and demand to know who was in that outrigger.

9. No, the characters were not dead the entire time!

Damon and Carlton definitively answered the question that confused many Lost fans, who believed their Season 1 assumptions that the island was really purgatory were confirmed by the finale’s closing shots of the wreckage. Carlton explained they added the plane images in an effort to provide a buffer between the wrenching final moments and, say, a Clorox commercial.

So no, it was not intended to convey that they were all dead the whole time.

“It exacerbated the problem,” Cuse admitted.

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