'Lost' panel rides high at Comic-Con


POSTED: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Those who believe that enthusiasm for “;Lost”; is waning as the series heads into its sixth and final season might reconsider that notion after hearing a report from Comic-Con International, the pop-culture phenomenon held last week at the San Diego Convention Center.

Honolulu-based podcaster and “;Lost”; expert Ryan Ozawa and his wife were there for the “;Lost”; panel, which attracted approximately 1,000 people in line by 6 a.m. Saturday morning before the 11 a.m. event. Many of those fans had camped overnight. The venue reached its capacity of 6,500 early, forcing organizers to turn away those who weren't willing to brave the queue for hours.

“;Lost”; executive producers and writers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof led the panel, which they devoted to their loyal fan base, even showing clips from their favorite viewer-generated online videos.

“;Most of what they were doing was to make us all happy,”; Ozawa said from San Diego.

Part of the fun included questions from attendees—with a twist. Jorge Garcia (Hurley) stood in line to challenge Cuse and Lindelof about the coming season. Would every question be answered? Was there any validity to Jack's theory that the plane never crashed at all? If so, “;that would be a really big cheat,”; deadpanned Garcia, because it would essentially wipe away the previous five seasons.

Screams filled the room when Michael Emerson appeared to heckle Garcia and launch an entertaining exchange between the two stars.

“;It was pretty cool,”; noted Ozawa.

Later, Josh Holloway (Sawyer) and Nestor Carbonell (Richard Alpert) joined the one-hour presentation. Carbonell's appearance solidified rumors that his prominence would increase and that writers were set to reveal his complicated back story.

The panel also included a montage of all of the show's dead characters—some of whom will be seen again in the coming season. Ian Somerhalder (Boone), who stars in “;The Vampire Diaries,”; will return, as will Dominic Monaghan (Charlie). And despite Elizabeth Mitchell's (Juliet) proximity to the explosion in the Season 5 cliffhanger, she will come back as well—though not necessarily as regularly.

In addition, the “;Lost”; producers presented three faux commercials that promoted new theories for rabid fans in touch with the show's every detail. For instance, an Oceanic Airlines commercial noted the carrier's perfect safety record over the past 30 years, dangling the tantalizing hypothesis that the crash never happened (find the commercials on YouTube).

A plug for www.lostuniversity.org created buzz about another alternative reality online game—and the Season 5 DVD and Blu-Ray disc release coming in December.




The Transmission

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IN A SEPARATE Entertainment Weekly panel at another venue, devotees began streaming in when they heard Gregg Nation, whom Ozawa describes as “;the keeper of the 'Lost' bible,”; would speak. But any revelations he might have offered were cut short when Lindelof ran into the room, covered Nation's head with a bag and carried him out. At the same panel, a hard-working Michael Emerson once again dazzled attendees with his articulate explanations and personal theories.

“;He was fantastic, as always,”; noted Ozawa.

On display at Comic-Con, where “;Twilight”; dominated what began 40 years ago as a gathering of comic book enthusiasts, memorabilia from “;Lost”; spiked early interest in an auction slated for May 2010, following the series finale. Dharma Initiative jumpsuits, a compass and the hatch door are all likely to fetch high prices when fans are finally allowed to purchase.

Overall, “;the answers might have been a little thin,”; Ozawa said of producer responses to probing questions during the main seminar, but he was thrilled to take part in a “;Lost”; podcaster panel and attend the four-day conference, which routinely sells out with 125,000 attendees.

“;It's an exhausting, dizzying, disorienting experience,”; he said, “;but worth it.”;