A document describing a very different Lost to the one we now foster a love/hate relationship with found its way onto the internet earlier this week. It turns out this document is genuine, which leaves us with the issue of reconciling the Lost printed on its pages to what was actually produced. Fortunately, creator Damon Lindelof has provided us with some insight — its sole purpose was to sell the show to US network ABC, even if it meant deviating completely once the show hit its stride.
Rather than dissecting the document and engaging in an orgy of wild speculation, /Film's Germain Lussier gave Lindelof a tap on the shoulder and kindly asked him to explain why the document outlines a number of aspects about the show that are, well, not at all true.
These points include stating the show would not have an "ultimate mystery", everything would be explainable by science and the island's monster would be done and dusted a few episodes in, just to mention a few.
Lindelof says the 20-page document was created for the ABC to sell it the show, after then-president Steve McPherson raised concerns about its viability, based on the path J. J. Abrams' previous series Alias had travelled:
So, per J.J., we made a very specific effort in this document to say we were not going to be serialized, we were not going to be genre and we were not going to do what Alias had done. So even though I think it was our intention to do all of the above, we needed to put that in the document because the document was essentially a letter to ABC saying "Here's what the show's going to be."
It was only after the writers started working on episodes beyond the first that it became apparent the document was "going to be completely and totally null and void", according to Lindelof. That said, 30 or so episode outlines were included within the pages, a number of which did find their way into the show.
I think we all know by now there was never a grand plan when it came to Lost, at least when the show was hatched, but don't let that lay waste to your 1000-page manifesto detailing the true mythos of the island.