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'Lost' producers drop hints about next season

Comic-Con -- Viewers watching the start of the next season of "Lost" will not initially know when or where the action is set. Producers will shake up the flashback/flashforward formula. The anonymous other Lost survivors on the Zodiac raft with Daniel Faraday will probably not survive.

Annnnd…that’s about it.

The Comic-Con "Lost" panel was very entertaining, despite being, as is necessary, light on spoilers. Executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse know better than anybody on the TV side how to play with the event’s panel format. There are videos screened for the occasion, surprise guests (Matthew Fox) and humorous prizes for fans asking questions.

Still, there were some tantalizing details for Losties.

On the flashbacks/flashforwards: "We have something new this year," Cuse says, "we’re going to mix it up."

But the shows will still transition to ... somewhere/sometime ... presumably.

They don't want the person who does the "whooshing" sound not to be employed, Lindelof jokes.

"The flash forwards were a bit limiting [last season] because we could only focus on the Oceanic Six, because we didn’t want to reveal other things -- like Desmond getting off the island," Lindelof says. "When season five starts, you won’t know when or where you are, and the way we tell stories will be different too."

Hmm ... what could the flashes be? Simply a combination of forwards and backwards? Showing daydreams? Night terrors? Hallucinations caused by ingesting Dharma Initiative shrooms?

Back to the fan questions: Is the seemingly immortal Richard Alpert the inspiration for the four-toed statue?

"You’re going to see him barefoot in the very near future – and that’s a pun – in the very near future," Lindelof says.

Other bits: When Desmond turned the key and everything turned purple at the end of season two, did the island jump? No, say the producers. Will Daniel Faraday and the random others Oceanic survivors on the Zodiac raft survive last season's finale? Faraday did, but as for the others ... "there's a monsoon coming," Cuse says.

Oh, and the dog, Vincent? "It’s safe to say that Vincent is going to make it to the very end of the show."