Lost's Original Ending Was Way Cooler, But ABC Didn't Let It Happen

lost jack vincent finale the end

One of the most infamous TV series finales of all time has to be that of Lost, which attempted to tie up some major loose ends from a show that was basically mystery on top of mystery. The finale didn't exactly answer all the questions fans had about the series, and it actually almost looked quite different. Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof has come out and revealed the original plan for the finale, saying this about what might have been:

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. 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!

Lost introduced the concept of a volcano on the Island way back in Season 3 in a flashback to Ben Linus' childhood, but the show never went any more in-depth on it, which is a pretty big shame. The volcano ending (as described by Damon Lindelof to EW) would have been the most epic plot twist ever achieved by Lost. Does it sound kind of like a combination of Revenge of the Sith and Return of the King, set in contemporary times? Sure. That doesn't mean it wouldn't have been awesome.

As it turns out, Damon Lindelof and his co-creator Carlton Cuse aren't to blame for the lack of magma in the Lost series finale. Apparently, the cost of flying the necessary cast and crew to the Hawaii volcano they had in mind was just too high, and a handful of other set and filming variables didn't help either. Lindelof recalls a conversation with ABC execs, saying this:

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.'

Thus, sadly, no volcano. That said, Lindelof and Cuse did manage to mostly keep the fundamentals of their ending intact. There was no magma spewing everywhere or filming inside of a volcano, but they did still pull off the idea that the Island becomes seismically unstable whenever anybody messes with what separates the heart of the island from the rest of the world. We got our earthquakes and our good vs. evil and our showdown, just... no lava.

Of course, given how many Lost questions went unanswered, fans can really interpret a lot of whatever they want out of the finale. Season 3 did establish that there's a volcano on the Island, so maybe Hurley and Ben got into some volcanic shenanigans once they were left in charge of protecting the Island. Who knows? Vincent was pretty well-traveled by the end of the series. Maybe he knew all there was to know about the volcano. We can at least imagine how Lost would have looked if we'd gotten the volcano the creators intended.

If you're still a little fuzzy on the events of the end of the show, check out our breakdown of the questions answered and unanswered by the Lost finale, and don't forget to take a look at our list of what the Lost cast is up to nowadays. Drop by our midseason TV premiere guide and our summer TV premiere schedule for all your viewing options now and in the coming weeks.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).