Way back in 2010, the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 on “Lost” were finally enveloped in a wave of bright light, marking the end of the series after a fiery battle between good and evil. (And many viewers were left feeling deeply confused.)
As it turns out, that finale was supposed to look a lot different. As “Lost” insiders told Entertainment Weekly, there was supposed to be a volcano on the island, and it was supposed to erupt.
While observant viewers would have remembered the volcano from a flashback to the DHARMA Initiative days, it could’ve had a much more vital role in the show. Series co-creator Damon Lindelof explained how the volcano was meant to “visualize and dramatize the idea that the island itself is all that separates the world from hellfire and damnation.” It also birthed the smoke monster, who, in human form, was known as The Man in Black (played in part by Terry O’Quinn).
Showrunner Carlton Cuse recounted how the “Lost” team was “always looking to cannibalize anything on Hawaii,” where they filmed the series. “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,” Cuse told EW.
In the end, the volcano was supposed to erupt as Jack (Matthew Fox) fought The Man in Black over the island’s fate. As Lindelof explained:
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!
Instead, the pair fought, alongside Kate (Evangeline Lilly), in a glowing cave ― a less expensive substitute for a magma-spewing volcano. Volcanoes, apparently, are quite expensive. And so Ol’ Smokey was born out of that same, budget-friendly cave of light, after his brother Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) tossed him in as revenge for killing their mother.
“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,’” Lindelof said.
In the end, viewers were left with only a slightly less clear picture of how the island works, as the finale left plenty of other unanswered questions.