The series finale of Lost happened way back in 2010, and despite many a fan being less than pleased about how it ended, it’s taken seven whole years to find out what the creators had planned for its original ending.
Showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse spoke with and revealed that they initially wanted the show’s last episode to end with a fight on an erupting volcano. In the show, the evil contained on the mysterious island setting was held back by a metaphorical cork, and the producers decided that an active volcano was the best way to “visualize and dramatize the idea that the island itself is all that separates the world from hellfire and damnation.”
“We were going to have lots of seismic activity,” Cuse explained, “and ultimately, there was going to be this big fight between the forces of good and the forces of evil, which ended up in the series manifesting as Jack and The Man in Black, in the midst of magma. Magma spewing everywhere!”
Even after all these years, I’m still obsessed with Lost. I’ve been to countless Lost-related events in the past decade - many of which included panels and speeches from the show’s cast and crew - and I’ve heard pretty much every possible story about the making of the influential sci-fi series. But this is the first time I’m hearing this one, and it makes perfect sense. The showrunners even seeded the possibility of ending on a giant volcano fight back in season 3, during a scene that takes place in a Dharma Initiative classroom in which a volcano is prominently seen.
Ultimately, though, the network couldn’t justify the cost of transporting the cast and crew to a Hawaiian volcano to film the scene, especially since the Temple set (as seen in the final season) was more expensive to construct than originally anticipated. In the actual ending of the show, the fight between Jack (Matthew Fox) and the Man in Black (Terry O’Quinn) happens, but it takes place on the edge of a cliff instead of an erupting volcano.
That’s not nearly as impressive as a fight on a volcano, but Lindelof is looking on the bright side. “The other thing that happened was that we remembered Revenge of the Sith, and that big epic battle between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, in the midst of a volcanic planet. We knew whatever we did was going to look Mickey Mouse next to it.” I don’t think anyone’s looking at Revenge of the Sith as a high point of the Star Wars franchise, but point taken. Whatever TV budget they had to work with was probably pennies compared to what George Lucas was throwing around for his movie.