Lost, Damon Lindelof

Mario Perez/ABC,Malcolm Ali/WireImage.com

So...whoa. Now you've seen it. (And if you haven't, you shouldn't be reading this!) Lost's mind-blowing season ender in which the rattlesnake popped out of the mailbox, the series  turned upside-freaking-down and the producers bitchslapped us into a whole new off-the-island era.

Holy. Freaking. Wow. Could that just have been the best episode ever of the entire series? I, for one, have never been more into Lost than as of this moment (a terrifying thought) and loved every single nanosecond of it.

Kate and Jack got off the island, but leaving was a "mistake." Say whaaaa...?! Jack desperately wants to go back. Say double whaaaa...?! Kate lives in the 310 (LA's West side) and drives a Volvo? Bonkers!! And we have to wait till February to find out what happens next? Well, that's just cruel.

Thankfully, in an attempt to quell our postfinale jonesing for answers (I'm shaking like Jack in the pharmacy), my favorite TV mastermind to date (don't tell Trump) took time out of his busy schedule to tackle some of the fans' biggest Q's in a round of False, True or Hell No, I Won't Tell You and, more importantly, give the official word on why he killed Charlie

But first, the reason this interview will prove to be a very rare thing in the coming months, as the Lost bosses enter what they're calling "complete and utter radio silence"...

Damon, first, I want you to know that last week, I hated me. I hated people who do what I do, because it honestly broke my heart that the huge "flash forward" twist of the finale was spoiled on a Website. I know you were trying extremely hard to protect that.
It was unfortunate. I think there will always be people who want to turn to the last page of the book, but I feel that those people are almost universally disappointed with what they read there, because if it's cool, they don't understand the context, and if it sucks, they feel like they've saved themselves time. But no one skips to the end of life. You have to live it, and it's just disappointing to me that people don't respect the integrity of the show enough to let it unfold naturally. There is a fine line between intriguing the audience with what's to come and giving them the whole shebang. And I feel the line was crossed with the finale this year, and it's really disappointing. Which is why, if we're going to talk about these things, I would at least like to come to you, because I know you'll handle it responsibly and not cross that line.

How are you dealing with the Spoilergate aftermath?
Well, with regard to season four, Carlton and I are going into complete and utter radio silence. I know a lot of people are going to be frustrated, but I think if things had gone a little differently in terms of the finale getting spoiled, we might have been a little more open to talking about it. But now we're all bitter. [Laughs.] No, honestly, the reason for the silence is we don’t want to tell the audience what to think about where the show is going to be next year. The way the finale concluded and what happens next is open to interpretation. I think it had a real imaginative quality to it that hopefully engaged the audience's imagination the way the show did when they first saw the pilot.

Does that mean you’re not going to answer all my probing questions about the fate of our Losties now?
You can ask, but I can’t guarantee anything.

Fair enough. How about a harmless little game of False, True or Hell No, I Won't Tell You?
Let’s do it...

Lost returns in February.
True.

Lost stays on Wednesday nights.
Is there an I Don't Know category?

The finale's twist, the flash forward, is something that you'd planned all along, from the very beginning.
Oh, absolutely.

The show will flash forward and flash back from this point onward.
Hell no, I won't tell you.

You are shooting in Hawaii next season.
Yes. Mostly.

Kate is pregnant.
Hell no, I won't tell you.

The role of Jacob has been cast.
False.

False? Okay, interesting. People were having all sorts of interpretations of what he looked like.
You do see a guy, but...I'm still sticking to my false.

The monster can reanimate the dead.
Hell no, I won't tell you.

The Others are in danger of extinction.
True.

The island's mysteries can be explained strictly by science.
Strictly by science?

Strictly.
Hell no, I won't tell you.

The love triangle will eventually be resolved in an unambiguous manner.
True.

Michael is still out in the ocean somewhere.
Hell no, I won't tell you.

Tom is gay.
I'll leave that open to interpretation.

Ben is a good father.
True. [Laughs] These are just my opinions, by the way.

Alex is actually Ben's biological daughter.
False.

The big set for season four is called the Ruins.
False.

You're a bastard for killing Charlie.
True.

Can we talk about that? 'Cause we fans need to know why you did it.
Yes, of course. Dominic, Carlton and I, and all the writers, really felt that when Charlie threw his Virgin Mary statues into the water last year, that was the end of his addiction arc. We weren't interested in revisiting it and having him bounce between being drunk and being sober, so we began to really struggle with the idea of what was Charlie to play now. How was he going to evolve as a character?

At the very same time, we were starting to think about what the effect of the second season finale was going to be, with Desmond turning the fail-safe key. And we didn't want to kill off Desmond, but because this fail-safe key existed as sort of a last resort, we wanted there to be really severe ramifications for Desmond turning it. We didn't want him to get a free pass. And we felt that it would be cool if it involved time travel in some way. But instead of doing sort of a traditional time travel and creating paradoxes and all that stuff, we just did [the episode] "Flashes Before Your Eyes." When that experience ended, we wanted him to be able to see the future, and we thought it would be cool if [his visions] always kind of related to Charlie and Charlie’s death, as opposed to seeing 50 different things. That way, he would struggle all season with the idea of whether or not Charlie's death was inevitable.

Why Charlie? 
We felt that would be a really interesting story for Desmond, but the way it would affect Charlie excited us even more. We thought it would make Charlie enormously heroic. He is a character who I think the audience has really liked, and he has, during the course of the show, demonstrated real heroism. Like when he killed Ethan for example. At the end of season two, we realized that if there was any character on the show who would sacrifice their life so that everyone else could be rescued, that would be Charlie. What we hadn’t decided though, was whether or not Charlie was actually going to die.

So, when did you actually decide to kill him?
Over the course of the year, we began to execute the story, and it was really working. I mean we just loved writing for Charlie. He had this whole new thing to play, and we loved how Dominic was working with Ian [Cusick]. Even with Hurley's more light-hearted story, Charlie's impending death gave it real gravitas. It was just a great storyline, and we were thinking, Is there a way for us to have our cake and eat it too? Can we continue prophesying Charlie's death but not actually have him die, just have him willing to die? But we kind of got to the point—I guess it was during the writing of "The Brig"—where we were all just talking in the writers room and we realized it's a cheat if he lives. It wouldn’t be fair, because we've made such a big story point out of it that Charlie now has to die. If he is going to accept his death, then he has to die. Otherwise, it's like, why did we do this story at all? We can't just let him off the hook. He has to die.

How did you break the news to Dominic?
You know, obviously, we started talking to him before we wrote "Flashes Before Your Eyes," just so he would know what was coming. We told him that as soon as we knew definitively what Charlie's fate was going to be, he'd be the first to know. And when we made the final decision, we called him and had a very reasonable conversation. He was completely understanding and appreciative and accepting.

On a personal level, was it a difficult decision letting him go?
Enormously. When you reflect back on the pilot, it was really Jack, Kate and Charlie's story. They're the three people you experience the crash with. They're the original sort of three amigos who go tromping out into the jungle. I think Dominic is, along with Jorge, really the heart of the show. And the idea of how would the show feel with Charlie not being in it anymore, that was a very dark tunnel to be looking down and it continues to be. But I think the reality is, after 72 hours of Lost, we have the idea of communicating to the audience that it's not just the Shannons and Boones and Paulos and Ekos and Ana Lucias who are vulnerable. Everybody is vulnerable. Not everybody's going to make it to the end of this journey. I think that was an important story point to make.

Are you expecting a fan backlash over this?
I hope so. I mean that honestly. I think that if people are like "we're glad you did it," that means we didn't do a good job of emotionally bonding the audience to Charlie and making them feel like his sacrifice is really tragic and heartbreaking. But Dom's work has been phenomenal, and in the last two episodes, he raised the bar even higher. And that's not just a producer trying to be generous to an actor who has now left the show. I think the proof is in the proverbial pudding. I really hope that all summer long, I am derided by people for doing this, because it'll mean that it meant something.

You heard what the man said, so comment away below. And also tell me how you think it's possible we're going to wait till February to see what happens next! Who wants to hibernate?

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