Lost on Netflix: The alternative series ending writers almost used

The ending of Lost is the most misunderstood series finale in television history – but it almost drew to a close in a far different way.

Remember that flashback which sees Ben being taught about the island’s volcano as a youngster by the Dharma Initiative? Probably not – but you will soon considering the hit drama has just been added to Netflix in the us.

It occurs in third season episode “The Man Behind the Curtain” – and it has since emerged that this was “one of the first hints of an endgame”.

Showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse spoke to EW about the scrapped plans in 2017.

*Spoilers follow – you have been warned*

The story goes that Cuse – very much the duo’s big-dreamer – got the idea of including a volcano at the end of the series after visiting Hawaii’s Big Island with his family, and later envisioned it being home to the climactic showdown between Jack (Matthew Fox) and the smoke monster, incarnated as John Locke (Terry O’Quinn).

“We were always looking to cannibalise anything on Hawaii to aid in the visual storytelling of the show,“ Cuse said. ”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.”

For those who don’t know (and if you haven’t seen Lost, go watch it immediately), season six presented the concept that the island was a metaphorical cork bottling up some very bad things that, if unleashed into civilisation, would cause all kinds of destruction.

Lindelof – who followed up Lost with The Leftovers and Watchmen – added: “The question was always, how do you basically visualise and dramatise the idea that the island itself is all that separates the world from hellfire and damnation? And the answer was the volcano.”

The volcano was mentioned in a season three flashback

The volcano was mentioned in a season three flashback

He continued: “The volcano had been dormant for the duration of the series 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!”

The volcano was later deemed too expensive by the bigwigs at network ABC forcing the writing duo to improvise; the fatal battle ended up happening on a cliff as the island crumbled to the sea.

“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’,” said Lindelof.

Just in case you’re one of the people who misunderstood the ending, allow us to spell it out for you: they were not dead the entire time.

Emmy award-winning series Lost originally aired in 2004 and drew to a natural close in 2010. Its ensemble cast included Evangeline Lilly, Michael Emerson, Elizabeth Mitchell and Josh Holloway.

Find a ranking of every single Lost episode here.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of Lost or simply looking for a new series to start, subscribe to new podcast ‘The LOST Boys’ following two of our writers’ respective journey watching from the very beginning – one for the first time, the other for the eighth.