Question: Lost, Lost, Lost. Anything Lost, please!
Answer: You've come to the right place, Carrie. Back by popular demand, this week's Ask Ausiello is essentially one big Lostapalooza, starring executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. Not only is the duo answering all of our burning Season 2 questions, but they're also offering up tantalizing clues and spoilers about the final four episodes. Or, I should say, three. Conspicuously missing from the following Q&A is any discussion of tonight's explosive May-sweeps kickoff. For the dirt on that, you'll have to check out my Ausiello Report blog immediately following tonight's telecast. Trust me when I say you don't want to miss it — the episode or the blog posting. And because I don't believe in discriminating against non-Lost fans, if you scroll past the Lindelof and Cuse interview you'll find scoop on 24, Gilmore Girls, Big Love, Rescue Me, CSI, The O.C., Everwood and Prison Break. For everyone else, it's time to get Lost. (That play on words never gets old. Never!)
Ausiello: Aside from why the plane crashed, what other questions will be answered in these last four episodes?
Carlton Cuse: Well, obviously, the resolution of the Michael-Walt story. We're going to answer the question of where Michael has been and resolve the story of him and Walt. That's been hanging over us since the finale of last year.
Damon Lindelof: By the way, we want to preface all of these answers by saying that we feel we are giving definitive answers to some of these mysteries, but often times it blows up in our faces because fans don't feel like we entirely answered that mystery.
Ausiello: Will Malcolm David Kelley's growth spurt be addressed when he returns?
Damon: Did you see him on My Name Is Earl?
Ausiello: Yeah, he looked about the same.
Damon: There's no growth spurt.
Ausiello: But eventually he's going to grow.
Damon: That's something we'll be dealing with in the third season. But in terms of these four episodes, it wasn't an issue. He looks like the same kid who was abducted off the raft [in May 2005], which was a month ago [in Lost time].
Ausiello: What about the Dharma Initiative? Will we get more answers?
Damon: We will learn more about them.
Carlton: Answers in the sense of more information about it. But we'd have to write a 300-page book to give you all the answers about the Dharma Initiative.
Damon: And, obviously, as you already mentioned in Ask Ausiello, Desmond is coming back [in the May 24 finale]. And obviously he ran away before we had a chance to sit him down and ask him a lot of questions about his experience in the hatch. He'll shed some more light on his experience on the island in the three years prior to when Locke came down into that hatch.
Ausiello: Might he have something to do with why the plane went down?
Damon: I saw that you speculated exactly that in no uncertain terms in Wednesday's Ask Ausiello, and, you know, we're not commenting on it.
[OMG! Damon Lindelof reads Ask Ausiello!!!!]
Ausiello: Will the episode titled "?" explain what the... I think you know where I'm going with this....
Carlton: It would be a fair inference to say the question-mark episode is about finding out what that question mark on that map means.
Damon: That episode is a great opportunity for us to finally put Locke and Mr. Eko together, sort of a philosophical battle of faith and will that we've been hinting at all season long. [It started] back when Eko gave Locke that film that he brought across in that hollowed-out Bible, [and] this is sort of the next step in their relationship. Just as a side note, the "?" episode was originally going to be the episode that Darren Aronofsky would direct prior to Rachel Weisz's pregnancy. We thought it would be a cool shout-out to him since he made the movie Pi, which was just the symbol for pi.
Carlton: It ended up being directed by a guy named Deran Sarafian. It was hard to find another Darren to direct the episode, but we managed.
Ausiello: Will there be any dramatic developments in the Sawyer/Kate/Jack triangle?
Carlton: I guess it depends what you mean by the word "dramatic." There is more stuff between them, but the focus is not on the romance between those characters. There are bigger fish to fry.
Ausiello: What about the intended romance with Ana Lucia and Jack? Did you change your mind about that?
Carlton: Yes. Sometimes we tell the show what to do and sometimes the show tells us what to do. And as we started to try to work on it, we never really got to a place where it made sense. Those characters were not in a place where we felt it was believable for them to have a romance. We had intentions of doing that, but as we started telling the stories and started writing the scripts, it just didn't feel right to us.
Ausiello: I thought you guys said we'd find out this season how Locke became paralyzed.
Damon: I don't remember saying that.
Carlton: If we did...
Damon: We apologize. We're not going to comment on whether or not you're going to get that by the end of this year.
Ausiello: Claire and Charlie have been on the back burner of late. Are they going to come back into play?
Carlton: They are definitely going to figure back into things. They've been on a break and there's definitely some advancement in their relationship as part of the finale.
Ausiello: What happened to the army that Jack and Ana Lucia were going to train?
Damon: Well, obviously, Jack and Ana Lucia had a longer-range goal, which is, "Now we know about the existence of these people, they told us not to cross this line, so let's start preliminarily figuring out how we're going to do that." And that entire plan was wildly sidetracked by Sawyer taking control of all the guns, not to mention Henry Gale's capture. When Henry was captured, that became Jack and Ana Lucia's new focus. So, although the perception might be that we dropped the idea of forming an army, what actually happened was that more significant things replaced the need to develop an army. But that concept is indeed coming back for the finale.
Ausiello: For as long as Lost has been on the air, there have been rumors of a Vincent-centric flashback episode. Is that going to happen?
Damon: One of the inherent problems of doing any kind of Vincent-centric flashback is that, you know, Vincent is a dog. [Laughs] And he was owned by Walt in Australia, which would have been a younger version of Malcolm David Kelley than exists now.
Carlton: And he's also very unprofessional as an actor so we don't really want to reward him with a flashback.
Ausiello: What about an episode told from Vincent's POV on the island?
Damon: We're not entirely closed off to that idea. One of the fake endings for Season 1 that we were floating out there as part of our misinformation campaign was that Vincent's flashback was going to end the season and we were going to see what he saw in the cargo hold of the plane. I think that's where that rumor started.
Ausiello: The Henry Gale-Wizard of Oz connection — intentional?
Damon: Wildly intentional. You have a guy who says he landed on the island in a balloon, but in fact he's not that guy. What's so interesting about The Wizard of Oz is that thematically it plays with so many of the same things that we play with on the show. When Dorothy wakes up at the end, it's like, you know, did she ever really leave Kansas? Is Oz a real place? All those things that people talk about concerning Lost.
Ausiello: Will we ever get a Rousseau flashback?
Damon: You can expect to see more of Rousseau next year, but the story of the wrecked research vessel... it will be coming at some point but we can't guarantee it'll be in Season 3.
Ausiello: Will there be a flashback component to every episode next season? Eventually, it would seem, you're going to run out of back stories.
Carlton: The flashbacks are very central to the concept of the series, and we have no intention of abandoning them as a concept.
Damon: And we'll be introducing new characters in Season 3, so you'll be getting fresh flashbacks. You'll probably see fewer flashbacks of our original characters as we begin to move toward certain inevitabilities, but, you know....
Carlton: The flashback where Jack learns how to shave is still enormously compelling to us.
Damon: And the one where he loses his keys.
Ausiello: Will we see some of those mysterious background survivors move to the forefront next season?
Carlton: Yeah, we've been so busy telling other stories that we haven't gotten around to talking that much about some of the other survivors. So yes, you will learn more about some of the other survivors next year.
Damon: Also, where the new characters come from in Season 3 is going be part of the fun and anticipation over the summer, and hopefully by the end of the finale you'll be getting some sense of who those characters might be.
Ausiello: Speaking of which, can you give me any hints about the top-secret cliff-hanger that you're referring to by the code name "The Challah"?
Damon: You're obviously not a Jew.
Ausiello: How do you pronounce it?
Carlton: I'm not Jewish and I can say it. You're a good Italian boy.
Ausiello: And I even practiced right before this interview! OK, can you tell me anything about The Challah?
Damon: We are not talking about it.
Carlton: Do you know what The Challah is?
Ausiello: It's some kind of Jewish bread.
Damon: Last year we had "The Bagel" and this year we have "The Challah."
Carlton: We just decided that we're sticking with Jewish bakery products. Next year will probably be "The Matzoh."
Ausiello: Damon, it was just announced that you're producing the next Star Trek movie and J.J. Abrams is directing it. Does that mean Carlton is running Lost by himself next season?
Carlton: [Laughs] Rumors about the extent to which Star Trek is going to influence Lost are wildly exaggerated. Damon and I are fully committed to running Lost together next year.
Damon: Lost continues to be my full-time job next year and any involvement I have in Star Trek will obviously be secondary to my day job. I have no intention whatsoever of stepping back. Carlton and I have been running the show since the seventh episode of the first season together. We have essentially produced 42 hours of Lost and, you know, we are going to produce the next 22 hours of Lost in Season 3 in exactly the same way.
Ausiello: Is J.J. coming back into the fold?
Damon: He's been talking about getting involved again. Our fingers are crossed hoping that he will, but obviously that will be a byproduct of his own availability. We've both seen Mission: Impossible 3; it's breathtaking and awesome. It's going to make gazonks of money.
Ausiello: I know you guys, like me, are big Veronica Mars fans, so I'm going to ask this under the heading of, "I hope to God this never happens." But if by some tragedy CW doesn't pick up the show, might Kristen Bell wash ashore next season?
Carlton: Gosh, she's awesome, but… I don't think Veronica Mars is going to get canceled.
Damon: As fans of the show, we're really hoping that does not happen.
OK, folks, that concludes the special Lost portion of Ask Ausiello. Remember, check out my blog immediately following tonight's episode for more from Lindelof and Cuse. Now, before I return you to your regularly scheduled AA, I have to get something out of my system: OMG! Damon Lindelof reads Ask Ausiello!!!!