So much for getting our questions answered anytime soon. Lost's final season begins Feb. 2, but Michael Emerson says the cast is seven episodes away from filming the finale, and a resolution still feels far away. Emerson also discussed whether Ben will seek redemption, the extent of his character's evil, and how Libby (Cynthia Watros) and Michael (Harold Perrineau) will return.
TVGuide.com: How do you feel about heading into the end of the series?
Michael Emerson: I feel great curiosity, because from what I've shot up to this point, I don't see any end in sight. The storyline is continuing to expand instead of contract. It's grown more fragmented, rather than becoming more unified. The threads aren't joining up, they're flying away. It will be dazzling to see. Certain big mysteries on this show are being answered. Every episode, something huge is falling into place, but it's still a mystery.
TVGuide.com: Would you like to see Ben get redemption at the end of Lost?
Emerson: I don't know. I used to have more of a craving for an ending than I do now. Sometimes I think characters are maybe best left alone. I don't know why I thought redemption was going to be satisfying. Maybe what's satisfying is that some things never change. I think there will be all kinds of endings for all kinds of characters on our show, but maybe Ben just walks away to do whatever it is he's already been doing for his whole life.
TVGuide.com: No one knows what Ben's ultimate goal is. Does he want to take over the island, maybe the world? Is everything he does personal?
Emerson: It seems like it's the island, the possession and control of the island, but what does that mean exactly? We still don't know what the island can be used for. Is it a tool? Is it a device? What does the device do? It must do something pretty big for people to be fighting over it so passionately. If that ends up being answered, that will be one of the big answers.
TVGuide.com: Do you think Ben feels bad for killing Jacob (Mark Pellegrino), or is that just another step in the right direction to reach his ultimate goal?
Emerson: I think Ben has some kinds of remorse. He's quick to put them aside. It's almost like Ben understands that these deaths don't count the way other people think they count. There's some gaming going on. I don't know if that will be revealed either.
TVGuide.com: We saw last season that Sayid (Naveen Andrews) actually caused Ben to become the evil man he is today when he shot little Ben. Do you think he would still be evil if Sayid hadn't shot him?
Emerson: One of the things we're dealing with is whether causality is a one-way dynamic. Do some things lead to other things? Can the course of events or characters be changed by going back and fiddling with them? That raises the question of what are we really looking at when people are moving around in time and space on Lost? Is it time travel or are we being treated to some storytelling or narrative device that we don't yet understand?
TVGuide.com: Did you know that was how Ben became evil as you've been playing him? That he may have had part of the smoke monster in him?
Emerson: No, I still don't know what a bunch of that stuff means. I was surprised. I thought it was a neat thing when they had young Ben be shot by Sayid. I thought that it helped to moderate our view of him or justify some of his behavior.
TVGuide.com: There's still so much to learn about the Others. Will that be explored?
Emerson: Some of it will be. It's not like they're a total mystery now. We know what the Others are. They're these people that arrived there for different reasons at different times and they fell under the sway of various powerful and ambitious men who wanted to rule the island. I don't know if the Others are clued in to why they're there or what the powers are.
TVGuide.com: Is there any chance of seeing Annie again?
TVGuide.com: I had this discussion with [Terry O'Quinn] the other day. I said some of these plot lines are just going to go away unanswered, like the little carved figure that Ben keeps with him as a grownup. We haven't touched on that in two seasons now and I just fear that who Annie was, I don't think we're ever going to know. I think that's going to be one of the loose ends.
TVGuide.com: Everyone has been mum's the word about the final season of Lost, but executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse did reveal that Michael and Libby were returning.
Emerson: It may not be as big a gift or spoiler from the producers as you might think. I don't know in what form or how much of those characters you're going to get.
TVGuide.com: Michael was working as your mole on the ship until it blew up.
Emerson: Yeah, he was someone's mole. I suppose [the question of whether he died on the freighter] will be answered in Season 6.
TVGuide.com: Do you think fans will be satisfied with the final season of Lost?
Emerson: Some will, some won't, I'm sure. That was bound to be, no matter what the ending is. There will be argument about it ... I have high hopes for it being one of those things where you go, "Oh my God, yeah!" or "Oh, it's been that all along. I never knew what I was looking at until now." I hope it's a thing that sends us back to Season 1 and makes us start looking at it all over again with new eyes.
Are you excited for the final season of Lost?