One of the big mysteries during the early days of Lost was that locked hatch found in the jungle. Turns out, it was also a big mystery for the writers of the show.
Veteran writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who worked in the writers' room on the first two seasons of the hit ABC series, has written a massive 17,000-word essay on what it was like to be a writer on Lost. For fans of the show, the entire thing is a must-read, but it’s also a fascinating peek behind the scenes of how the mythology of a television series comes together and all the ideas that don’t make the cut.
Speaking of ideas that die on the cutting-room floor, Grillo-Marxuach had some fascinating intel to share about the mysterious hatch that drove much of the mystery during the early run — and would eventually introduce us to the first layer of the island’s craziness. Turns out everyone liked the idea of a hatch, but no one knew exactly what they’d find inside. So J.J. Abrams told the writers' room to come up with some ideas. The results were ... decidedly mixed.
We’ve pulled the choice excerpt below, (which you should definitely read), but here are just five of the options considered before Damon Lindelof had the epiphany to put Desmond and his world-saving button in there:
- A gateway to a frozen polar bear habitat.
- The mouth of a cave full of treasure that would so entrance the castaways with dreams of avarice that Jack would ultimately be forced to seal it shut with dynamite.
- The door to a bio-dome whose inhabitants could only breathe carbon dioxide.
- The threshold to an Atlantis-style lost civilization.
- The conning tower of a nuclear submarine that had run aground and been buried in an epic mudslide.
Check out the full excerpt on the hatch options below:
“As a writers' room, and a think tank before that, we kept pitching possibilities, but nothing we threw out ever overrode Damon's concern that if we s*** the bed on that reveal, the audience would depart in droves. The hatch was pitched as a gateway to a frozen polar bear habitat, the mouth of a cave full of treasure that would so entrance the castaways with dreams of avarice that Jack would ultimately be forced to seal it shut with dynamite, the door to a bio-dome whose inhabitants could only breathe carbon dioxide, and even a threshold to an Atlantis-style lost civilization.
I believe that my idea was that it led into the conning tower of a nuclear submarine that had run aground and been buried in an epic mudslide (I thought this could be a rich area for stories about salvaging equipment, and loose nukes, and such things).
As we trudged through the first half of season one, Damon rushed into the writers room one day with an uncharacteristic bounce in his step and declared that “inside the hatch there’s a room with a guy in it and if he doesn’t press a button every 108 minutes, the world will end.”
Seriously. Bookmark the full essay and give it a read when you get a chance. Do you prefer any of these options over what was actually in the hatch?