It's been almost four years since "Lost's" polarizing season finale aired, and questions still remain about the show's greatest puzzles.
But "Lost" bosses Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse weren't exactly tight-lipped when they joined cast members Josh Holloway, Yunjin Kim, Jorge Garcia, Ian Somerhalder, Maggie Grace, Henry Ian Cusick and Malcolm David Kelley to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its premiere.
"This is not the forum to check off unanswered mysteries and explain them," Cuse told TODAY before the PaleyFest panel in Los Angeles Sunday — but then he, Lindelof and the others (not those Others) addressed some burning questions posed by fans all the same.
'They were not dead the whole time.'
Lindelof emphatically declared that Jack, Kate, Sawyer et al. did survive the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. However, the producers did acknowledge why some might still believe otherwise: As a "buffer" after the tear-jerking final scene in the church, they used footage they'd filmed of the downed plane on the beach before they dismantled the set. "There were no people there — that exacerbated the problem," Lindelof said with a rueful laugh.
Nor were they clones.
"I had a guy once say that when the plane was in the air, we were all cloned, and the story was really about our clones" said Garcia, citing the wildest theory he'd heard about the show's premise. (And this was before "Orphan Black"!)
'We gotta kill off more of these guys!'
According to Lindelof, that was the producers' response after Somerhalder handled the news of Boone's death "like a pro." However, they did heed the advice of ABC executives who warned them against killing off Jack in the pilot — their original plan — because "the audience will never trust you again and never form emotional bonds with the characters."
When TODAY asked Somerhalder what question he'd ask of the producers, he quipped, "Did Boone really have to die in episode, like, 20 or whatever it was? I was only late twice, guys!"
'I made out with my sister once.'
Somerhalder joked that Boone's smooch with Shannon was his favorite "Lost" scene. But the joke was on him: Before they locked lips, Grace smoked a cigar and helped herself to a "mouthful of minced garlic," which she called "one of my proudest moments."
Fate worse than death
The producers admitted that the universally reviled characters Nikki and Paulo — whom they introduced in season three to give a voice to the background characters — were a "mistake." "We heard the audience hating Nikki and Paulo, and we killed them off," Lindelof said, laughing. "We were already hating Nikki and Paulo ourselves."
"We had an elaborate story for them that spanned a season or more," added Cuse, "but we condensed it to one episode and buried them alive."
Who was behind the outrigger shooting?
As for one of "Lost's" greatest unsolved mysteries — who fired at Sawyer's group in season five's "Little Prince" — Lindelof finally offered an answer. Sort of. "I have to give you some level of satisfaction without answering your question," he replied to the audience member who posed the question, "which is the 'Lost' way."
But all hope is not necessarily, um, lost. "The scene exists," he admitted about the explanation for the shootout. "It's on paper, and years from now we'll probably auction it off for charity." (So start saving now, kids!)
When asked to name "Lost's" top dog, Holloway wouldn't give Sawyer any credit. Instead, he said the title should go to the show's real dog — Vincent — or Malcolm David Kelley's Walt. (Now a grown man, Kelley, who was 14 when they shot the "Lost" pilot, fondly remembers the "good times" on set. "His trailer had PS2!" cracked Holloway.) But Lindelof countered, pointing to Garcia, "Who ended up in charge of the island?"
That would be Hurley. The actor has since returned to his old stomping ground as a new regular for "Hawaii Five-0." Filming in the Aloha State, Garcia told TODAY, "is very much like coming back home."