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February 28, 2010

'Lost'

Paley_lost By Karen Nicoletti

With record attendance for PaleyFest, nearly 1,900 fans of "Lost" packed the Saban Theatre on Saturday night hoping to get some clues about the show's many loose ends in its final season. There were questions, there were (some) answers, there was comedy. Moderated by comedian Paul Scheer, the evening was almost pure levity in the world of "Lost," and no panelist left the venue without having uttered a solid gold zinger.

As acknowledged by Zuleihka Robinson, who plays mystery woman Ilana, creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse strike fear in the hearts of cast members lest they spoil any of the show's well-kept secrets. However, there were a few big reveals (big by "Lost" definition, anyway):

-- The final episode is being written next week, with Elizabeth Sarnoff having turned in her draft for the penultimate episode this week. Episode 15 is done shooting, and 16 is prepping now. Lindelof said that though new ideas aren't ruled out at this stage, the writers have to "try to become fans, so that every idea is challenged." While considering some of the ideas for the finale that have been brewing since three of four years ago, he's now taking a hard look at whether it's fair to incorporate them now, given the developments on the show since.

-- Walt might reappear before show's end, but his dog Vincent will definitely have his day. Lindelof admitted that Walt would still be on the show if actor Malcolm David Kelley had found a way to stop aging, but that with the changes in his appearance he no longer fit into the show's timeline. However, the writers are working on a way to bring him back.

-- The relationship between Hurley and Libby will be addressed. As will "the Hurley bird." For casual viewers, that would be the giant bird that swoops down from the trees eerily caw-ing his name. (Though Jack Bender joked that instead of "Hurley," the bird is saying "Locke is dead" backwards.)

-- Ilana and Richard Alpert are about to have words. The writers indicated that very soon we'll see the characters involved in the "what lies in the shadow of the statue?" exchange have things to say to each other and about each other. As for Nestor Carbonell (who plays Alpert), he's happy about "finally finding out who the hell I am" after performing in a vacuum for three years.

-- Charlie fans can stop fretting; there will be some Charlie action before May.

-- In sideways world, Jack is married to a character we've already met.

-- Before the panel got under way, fans got to see a two-minute teaser of next week's episode in which Claire arrives at the temple and demands to see "him." There appears to be some really bad blood between her and Dogen. Also outside the temple, Miles explains to Sayid that he was dead for two hours, and Sayid is understandably freaked out.

Despite all the laughs of the night, there were inevitable references to the bittersweet tone on set and in the writers room as the show winds down. Terry O'Quinn painted a picture of the cast hanging out on the beach between shoots, with Naveen Andrews playing guitar and Jorge Garcia singing "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" He said moments like that are what he'll miss once the show wraps up. O'Quinn and Michael Emerson answered Scheer's question about a report in TV Guide Magazine about a Locke-Ben spinoff of sorts, joking about rap duets and moving toward Broadway.

Lindelof likened the process of making "Lost" to the long haul of sitting on a plane from L.A. to Sydney ("except you don't get anywhere"), as well as to competing on "Top Chef." The "Lost" lot are fans of the cooking show — as revealed last year during the "Lost" challenge in spinoff "Top Chef Masters" — and Lindelof said he feels like one of the chefs after returning from Whole Foods and trying to create a dish with the chosen ingredients.

In one of the evening's funnier moments, the panelists kicked around ideas in response to a question from Scheer about a petition to turn Disneyland's Tom Sawyer Island into a "Lost"-themed one. Emerson suggested a ride in which parkgoers fear for their lives in the runaway Dharma VW bus with a distracted Hurley at the wheel. Another idea was tossed out for a tunnel with your scary dead father at the other end. Cuse decided there should be pictures for purchase at the end of the ride in which you're just crying. It's all a nice metaphor for "Lost," which already feels like a roller coaster. Well, without the tears.

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