“Lost” co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse attended the San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday. A brand-new exclusive clip of Dharma footage was shown, coyly introduced as footage discovered in a Norway vault that has been restored to be shown first to the Comic-Con crowd. The video begins with the Dharma training video spokesman introducing Station Six, or The Orchid. He explains it is not a botanical research station and apologizes for the necessity to deceive family and colleagues. Holding up a rabbit marked as number 15, there is some kind of confusion and another bunny is suddenly in a cage above. There is a quick frame with text about “loves Jacob”. The spokesman screams to turn off the camera. There is a subliminal upside-down image of someone riding a bicyicle. The video starts again with a second take, and the film melts away.
Here are the highlights from the presentation:
Damon Lindelof: Thanks to the fans, we’ve been given an ending to the show. There will be three more seasons of 16 episodes each. We’re not going to be on until February of next year, that’s the bad news. But we will be running straight, no re-runs.
Carlton Cuse: Now we know for certain that there are going to be 48 episodes left. We know exactly how much time we have to fill, which is really helping us as storytellers. Three seasons of 16 episodes is also good because unlike a show like “24″ that resets every year we have all this carry-forward mythology. It’s a very hard show to write and keep fresh, so it gives us more time to do our work and keep the show good.
Q: The violence in season 3 was really amped up. Please tell me that in the end we’re not going to find out that The Others are the good guys.
Cuse: We wanted to make the season tell a complete story, the story this season was the story of The Others, with a beginning, middle and an end. We wanted a final conflict between the groups and that involved a body count. That’s just the way the story unfolded.
Lindelof: I would argue though, that were you to go back and look at season 1, that more acts of violence that our guys committed against each other than the violence committed by the others against our guys. It’s just that our guys are much prettier. When Sawyer is punching you in the face, you’re kind of like, “More please. You’re so attractive, do you want to take your shirt off and continue the beatings. When Picket or Friendly is beating you up it’s like brutal violence, not the kind of violence we subscribe to. So we promise as the show moves forward, that violence will be perpetrated by catastrophically good looking people.
Q: Where’s Michael?
Cuse: Probably most of you saw this, but it was announced yesterday at the television critic’s meeting that Harold Perrineau will be back on the show.
Lindelof: This was kind of a bummer for us because we got spoiled. That was an announcement we were hoping to make at the con…
Cuse: We’d planned to announce that to you guys here, but we hadn’t been aware that the other event was the day before Comic-Con, so the timing wasn’t really in our brains. Harold will be returning.
Lindelof: But we won’t be talking about how or when.
Q: Will there be any more flash forwards?
Cuse: The answer is yes. Going forward, the show is going to feature flashbacks and flash-forwards.
Lindelof: The question becomes how forward are we going to go? If you continue to watch the show you’re going to be pleasantly surprised and we’ll leave it at that.
Q: Will Jack and Claire find out in season 4 that they’re brother and sister?
Q: Did Ben get caught in Rousseau’s trap on purpose?
Cuse: He got caught by accident.
Lindelof: We will be revealing why Ben was heading across the island when he accidentally got caught.
Q: Will the story stay on the island?
Cuse: Going forward, you’re going to be seeing story in the past, present and future, in all three timezones. What you saw with Kate and Jack was not the end of the show.
Lindelof: We wanted to communicate to the audience that the show has never really been about getting off the island. People have been asking us all along, ‘Is there going to be an After-Lost?”, to see what their lives are like once they’re rescued. We’ve been sitting on this knowledge that there’s a whole chapter of the story that takes place off the island. But we couldn’t start telling that until we could say that the show was going to end, because if you’d seen the Kate & Jack story as just another episode instead of “one less” episode, you probably would have thrown up your hands and said, “they’re f-ing stalling!” But in the context of moving toward the end, we’re saying come with us to the end. We’re not wasting time.
Harold Perrineau comes out.
Lindelof: I know I speak for everyone on the show when I say how excited I am to have Harold come back. Harold is actually the first and only actor who’s ever left the show and part of a design to have them come back. It was excruciating to keep our mouths shut for a season.
Harold Perrineau: And for me. And they’ve had more information than I had. I’m really excited to be back in Hawaii and hanging out with friends.
Cuse: Michael’s story is one of the most compelling for us on the show. Here’s a character who will do anything for his son, and took some very extreme actions. In a series that deals a lot with the power of this island to be redemptive, and what characters need to do to redeem themselves, we feel that Michael’s foray is going to be really compelling next season.
Lindelof: We can confirm that Harold’s not coming back for a quick pop. He is coming back to the series as a regular. He has rejoined the cast. We just won’t tell you when, but it will be early in the fourth season. I think the way that we’re doing it is going to be fairly awesome.
Q: What questions are we NOT asking that we should be asking?
Lindelof: That’s kind of the Möbius loop of questions.
Cuse: Who’s in the coffin?
Lindelof: Another question I would ask is, who’s on that freighter out there, and what do they want out of the island?
Cuse: The other question I would ask which we’re not going to answer is, Kate and Jack obviously got off the island. Did anyone else get off the island?
Lindelof: What about those skeletons from season 1? What about those guys?
Q: There has been speculation that Libby possibly worked for Dharma, will we have a flashback with her in the future?
Cuse: It is our intention to get to her story, and we think you’ll be very happy when we do finish that.
Lindelof: You’re not exactly barking up the wrong tree with your speculative online questioning.
Q: Will Rousseau be getting her own flashback soon?
Cuse: Yes, we’re not sure if it will be next year or the year after.
Lindelof: Some very important things will be revealed in that story. Barring unforseen circumstances you’ll be seeing that story in the next season or two.