Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse Revisit 'Lost,' 10 Years Later

Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse
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Ten years after Lost ended, showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had to go back — in a manner of speaking, at least.

The brains behind ABC's genre-defining island drama reunited for a special virtual New York Comic Con Metaverse panel this weekend, getting together more than a decade after the Lost series finale to answer fan questions about the show, and look ahead toward its inevitable future — a future that won't involve them, Lindelof and Cuse insist.

"We see no reason to do it," said Cuse during the panel. "It doesn't feel like there's anything we have left to say that's worth saying."

"We put so much emotional energy into ending this show," added Lindelof. "In the middle of the third season, which is when we finally got word that [ABC would end it], but even leading up to that moment, everyone in the world thought it would be impossible [to an end a show as successful as Lost]. Now, through the lens of 2020 hindsight in the year 2020 when shows regularly end or are finite or are limited series, but in 2004, when Lost started and in 2007 when we announced it was going to end and it was still very highly rated, everyone said to us that they would never let us end this thing. For us to put as much emotional energy into getting the ending, and then all of the creative energy into seasons four, five and six of doing the ending as best as we could, on our terms, it really does feel that to turn around even 20 years later and say, 'Well, that wasn't the ending. It was just an ending.' It feels wrong on every level, but that's because it was our ending."

"Enough time has passed for an entire generation of people who grew up watching Lost to now say, 'Hey, I'm a writer. I have a take on this thing,'" he continued. "I would love to see a new generation of storytellers take on The X-Files or even Twin Peaks. The shows I love feel iconic because they were made by David Lynch or Chris Carter, but I think stories can be told by anyone, and anyone can take control of a story and make it their own vision. That would be quite exciting."

Watch the panel here:

Beyond reaffirming their decision to stick to their ending, Lindelof and Cuse surveyed several other corners of the Lost universe still shrouded in mystery. For example: the whispers heard throughout the island, long associated with the Others, eventually revealed as ghosts of those who died on the island and couldn't move on. Is it possible that the whispers were still related to the Others, despite this ghostly connection? Are the ghosts of the island in league with the Others somehow? Who would even ask Lindelof and Cuse about such a nerdy theory all these years later?

Full fourth-wall-breaking disclosure moment: it's me, The Hollywood Reporter reporter Josh Wigler. I'm the one who asked about this nerdy theory all these years later. Cut me some slack; Lost is my all-time favorite show and I had to shoot the shot! And because Lindelof and Cuse are nothing if not game to entertain some nerdiness, they actually offered up an answer.

"Josh," said Cuse, speaking to me Josh Wigler via moderator Josh Horowitz (or so I choose to believe), "if you want that to be true, it can be true for you."

"Eighty percent of that question was discussed in the room," added Lindelof. "The X-factor that was not a part of Josh's question was the Monster itself, and the idea that the Monster was a quasi-ghost in the sense that it could take the form of the dead in how it was reflected by the individuals it was trying to ensnare, assault, intimidate and recruit. Jack saw his dad, Eko saw Yemi, Shannon saw Walt who was not a ghost… [there was] the fact that Ben Linus could control the Monster and the Monster was in some way responsible for the whispers as well. Sometimes the whispers were the Monster, and sometimes they were the actual ghosts of the island, and sometimes they were a horrific story problem we were trying to weasel our way out of."

Other Lost subjects broached during the panel: exactly why they remain so cagey about the infamous outrigger mystery all these years later, stories behind the "Exposé" episode in which Kiele Sanchez and Rodrigo Santoro's Nikki and Paulo died, and much more. If you're still enamored with Lost after all this time, do yourself a favor: watch the panel, and then set aside another hour of your time — because, much like John Locke and the Swan Station orientation video, you're going to want to watch the panel again.