So many things happened on Lost, and the series ended so many Lost rip-offs ago (R.I.P. The Nine and FlashForward and Invasion…), that it’s easy to forget some of its smaller details, like how Nikki, of Nikki and Paulo infamy, was on Hurley’s favorite show-within-a-show, Exposé. Or that there was a volcano on the Island that was going to erupt in the series finale. That’s, of course, not what happened in the still-much-discussed “The End,” but it’s what showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse originally had planned.
In season three’s “The Man Behind the Curtain,” a young Ben Linus learns about the volcano on the Island and how, according to his teacher, it had a “reaction” a “long time ago.” The idea to include a volcano came from Cuse while exploring Hawaii. “We were always looking to cannibalize anything on Hawaii to aid in the visual storytelling of the show,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “We also thought of the island as a character on the show, so we were always looking for things that would give it more personality.”
There was no further thought on how the volcano might be used, “but it was something we banked and thought we could use downstream,” Cuse said. It came up again in season six, when Cuse and Lindelof were thinking ahead to the series finale; the idea they settled on was that the Island was like a cork keeping bad energy from entering the world, and the omnipresent Smoke Monster was “forged” in the volcano, waiting for its moment to escape. Got it?
Well, here’s where it gets weird:
Lindelof and Cuse initially envisioned a finale in which Jack (Matthew Fox) and Smokey incarnate (Terry O’Quinn) would brawl over the fate of the island at Lost’s proverbial Mount Doom. “The volcano had been dormant for the duration of the series,” explains Lindelof, “but based on moving into this endgame, the island had become unstable and the volcano was going to erupt. We were going to have lots of seismic activity, and ultimately, there was going to be this big fight between the forces of good and the forces of evil, which ended up in the series manifesting as Jack and The Man in Black, in the midst of magma. Magma spewing everywhere!” (Via)
That’s a crazy-sounding ending, and also crazy expensive. “ABC was like, ‘Guys, we love you, and we’re letting you end the show; we can’t let you bankrupt the network in the process,’” Lindelof said. Out went the volcano; in went The Heart of the Island. ABC bigwigs must have been happy with the cheaper alternative, but just think how much money they would have saved if they hadn’t said “yes” to The Nine and FlashForward and Invasion…
(Via Entertainment Weekly)