Matthew Fox

As Lost nears the start of its fifth and penultimate season, Matthew Fox is greeting it with a mix of reverence — and a readiness to leave island life behind, literally and figuratively.

"Personally, it's a relief," he told Details, as he reflected on the ABC drama's nearing conclusion. "I owe this show a great amount, and I think it's exceptionally good...[but] I am looking forward to the freedom that comes with not working on one project professionally." Lost's fifth season kicks off Jan. 21 on ABC (8 pm/ET).

Fox, who plays Dr. Jack Shepard, opened up about what he envisions in his Lost-free future — both personally and professionally — starting with his plans to move from Hawaii to the mainland when the show ends. "My major motivation is to be closer to family," he said. "My brother is there, my mother is there. We're hoping to break ground [for a house] in March, and it will be completed right around the time we're finishing the last season of Lost in March 2010."

The actor's new home will plant him far from the spotlight in rural Oregon, but close enough to Portland and Seattle to find city life easily with his wife and two children. "I really miss that kind of wide-open space," he explained, "and there's a big part of me that wants the kids to live in that mountain air."

While Fox envisions a secluded home life, he's also candid about what he wants in his very public working life. "I don't have control over what will come my way, but if the opportunities I get excited by keep coming, I'm going to continue working in this business." Lost co-executive producer Damon Lindelof was more specific: "[Fox] has the potential to be a leading man, but I think he's interested in those quirky transformative roles," he said. "Three, four years from now I can see him getting a Supporting Actor nomination."

Yet, Lost isn't over just yet, and Jack still has some serious challenges to face. "When it's all said and done, you'll be able to look at the six seasons of Lost and see a pretty amazing character arc," Fox said. "Jack has been evolving, and not necessarily into a good place.  We started the show with him being this hero who had no concept of what that required, sort of trying to live up to the expectations...and then finding the way to redeem himself."

Where Jack's arc will ultimately end, however, will likely remain a mystery until the series' final moments. "This show started with a plane crash on an island in the South Pacific, and it's going to have a very global and epic ending."

What's your vision for Fox after Lost's sixth season?