Comic Con 2009: Day Three Part 2

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Ironically enough, my introduction to Lost came at Comic-Con.  It was the summer before the show premiered and I had no clue what I was about to see.  There weren’t many people there; we were basically just killing time waiting for the panels we actually cared about.  And then they showed us the first half of the extraordinary pilot.  By the time Dominic Monaghan’s character Charlie spoke the central mystery of the show, “where are we?,” everyone in that room was hooked. 

Here we are heading into the sixth and final season, and this show now fills up Hall H, the 6,500 seat venue that is home to the most popular programming of the convention. A perfect balance of pure storytelling mixed with compelling character work, Lost is epic cinema for one hour a week.  Last season ended on a cliff-hanger that could potentially change the direction of the entire show, and everybody in the room was hoping for the tiniest clues and revelations as to what was in store.  Not a lot of specific information was given, but the producers put on quite a show.  This panel was mostly about entertaining the crowd, and they definitely succeeded.

When we first entered the room, we were handed an ad for something called Lost University, along with a pencil engraved with a Lost University web address.  On the back of the ad it appeared that someone had been writing on it with a pencil.  A teacher’s name and phone # were given.  I can only assume this is part of a viral campaign; something Lost does very well.  We were also given a surprisingly generic poster for the final season.  The poster was simply a white background with the Lost logo on it, and the words “the final season.”  I would have liked more.

The presentation itself began with a couple of creative videos, one showcasing Lost University, and the other a commercial for a “documentary” from the 80’s called “Mysteries of the Universe: The Dharma Initiative.”  Honestly, they were both entertaining but nothing special.  I think they were both part of the same upcoming viral campaign mentioned above, and seemed pretty generic. 

After this came the two creative geniuses behind the show, Damian Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.  They talked for awhile about the endgame of the show, and how they wanted to prove once and for all that they do have a plan.  Producing the script pages for the final scene of the final episode, they proceeded to lock these pages in a  box, each wearing one of two keys required to unlock it.  They told us that they would be going on Jimmy Kimmel Live the night of the finale and would unlock the box and read these pages at that time, confirming that they have an end-game.  It turns out this was all just a skit, with the punchline appearing at the end of the panel.  I’ll discuss the punchline later on.

Once the pages were secured away, Lindelof and Cuse decided to take this time to show various footage of fan-made videos.  Some contained footage of Lost parties and some were spoof films.  Most were pretty funny.  After this, they showed some footage “from their sponsors.”  This segment of the panel proved amongst the most compelling in terms of the future of the show.  The first commercial was for Oceanic Airlines.  It was an ad showcasing Oceanic’s flawless record.  30 years without incident.  But that would mean that Oceanic 815 never crashed.  Interesting.  Next up came a commercial that Hurley made for his new restaurant.  He stated that after winning the lottery, he’s had nothing but good luck.  Well, we all know that that isn’t true.  Finally, an America’s Most Wanted segment showing us that Kate escaped from the air marshall from the first episode and is currently on the run.  So, it looks like we have confirmation that something definitely happened when Juliet exploded that bomb.  I have no idea what’s going on, and I love it.

When this was over, they began the Question and Answer session of the panel.  As expected, the line was huge and many of the people were in costume.  After the first couple of questions, Jorge Garcia, aka Hurley, showed up to ask a question.  He was absolutely hilarious, complaining about minute details unanswered and even talking about how the cliffhanger could be seen as a copout way of cheating with the history of the show.  Lindelof and Cuse told him to “trust them,” to which he responded that they also told him to trust them when they said that Nikki and Paulo were going to be awesome.  This got a HUGE laugh from the audience. 

Finally, Jorge was interrupted by none other than Michael Emerson, aka Benjamin Linus.  This segment of the panel was absolutely fantastic.  Essentially, Garcia and Emerson did a scene together with Emerson chastising Garcia for asking more than one question.  He then proceeded to ridicule his character, his acting and his attitude on set.  He was in full-on Ben mode, and it was great. Hurley explained that Emerson was just upset because he wanted the role of Hurley.  They then showed a lost “audition tape” of Emerson essentially doing a Hurley impersonation.  Everyone in the audience loved this.  It was obvious that this was a really fun group, and that they genuinely enjoy working with each other.

The lights came back up and Emerson and Garcia were up on the stage with Lindelof and Cuse.  There was some more Q&A after this.  It was fun, but nothing very substantial was given.  They did say that every year has a theme (the flashforwards, time travel, Dharma, etc.) and that this year would continue that trend.  However, they said that they were not ready to divulge this theme.  However, they did say that the Dharma Initiative would have a much smaller part this year.  They also divulged that we would get a very important back-story to Richard Alpert, as well as reveal the details behind the food-drop.

At one point in the Q&A, somebody asked a question about Alpert, so they decided to bring him out on stage a little earlier than they were planning.  They introduced him by showing a video, supposedly back-stage, of him applying eye-liner.  He was looking in the mirror telling himself that his character wasn’t immortal, but he was.  It was kind of funny.  Anyway, he came running out to huge cheers. 

A couple more questions were asked and then it was time for the punchline with the locked-up script pages.  They showed a montage of Sawyer, and when this finished, he came running out on stage with a tazer.  He “tazed” Lindelof and stole the key from around his neck.  He then took the key from Cuse, and opened the box.  Pretending he couldn’t read the pages because he “left his glasses on the island,” Emerson took them and proceed to do a very theatrical reading of what turned out to be a supposed final scene from Heroes.  Featuring dialogue such as “don’t you see Sylar, YOU’RE the last Petrelli,” it was a great moment. 

After this came the “In Memoriam” segment of the panel where they went through everybody that died, and showed their death scenes.  Interestingly, Juliet was NOT part of this montage.  The final character in this clip package was Charlie, and it was the longest segment of the whole thing.  When this ended, Dominic Monaghan came running out on stage with the words “Am I dead?” written on his hand.

As stated above, this panel was a lot of fun.  They obviously put a lot of work into the presentation because they knew they wouldn’t be able to give us the answers we so desperately wanted.  I forgot to mention earlier that they also showed a really cheesy 80’s-style opening credit sequence that was fantastic.  For being such a dramatic show, this was a really silly, light and entertaining experience.  Unfortunately, as we are going into the final season, this will be the last Lost panel ever at Comic-Con, so I’m glad I was able to be there, bringing my experience with Lost at the Con full-circle.

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