The ending to Lost has become one of the most discussed and heavily debated finales in television history, but co-creator Damon Lindelof says it wasn’t always supposed to end the way it did.
Lost ended with a Buddhist metaphor for life, making the island a symbolic purgatory for people who couldn’t give up their connections to their past Earthly lives. Whether that means they were dead from the very first season, following the plane crash, or just the final season that seemed to introduce the idea is still being argued seven years later. There were some questions about the island, its residents and protectors that went unsolved — like the Man in Black, otherwise known as the Smoke Monster.
Now, seven years later, Lindelof explains that the plan was always to use a volcano to explain why things were occurring on the island, including the Smoke Monster’s presence, but they ran into two issues: budget restrictions and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
“The premise that developed over time was that the volcano was a mysterious place that forged the ticking, shape-shifting monster, the billowing black mass known as Smokey,” Lindelof told Entertainment Weekly. “The question was always, ‘How do you basically visualize and dramatize the idea that the island itself is all that separates the world from hellfire and damnation?’ And the answer was the volcano.”
One of the other concerns that came up in 2010, just a few years after the release of Revenge of the Sith, was that Lost’s epic volcano scene would pale in comparison to the climactic battle between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi on a volcanic planet.
“We knew whatever we did was going to look Mickey Mouse next to it,” Lindelof said.
There you have it, Lost fans. If you were one of the millions of people upset by the finale, you have the Star Wars prequel to blame.