Damon Lindelof is no stranger to a somewhat adversarial relationship with his fandom. From the very moment his hit series Lost ended, he became the target of angry fans who find the show's final scenes frustrating, to say the least, and he was still receiving flack for it years later, when fans compared the ending of another hit show to his. It got so bad that Lindelof actually asked Lost haters to just assume he knew they hated the ending so we could all just get on with our lives.
And Lindelof has certainly gotten on with his screenwriting career. He infuriated some fans again with work like Prometheus, Star Trek Into Darkness and even World War Z, but he kept moving, creating an acclaimed TV show in The Leftovers and developing Tomorrowland with Brad Bird. Now we're just days away from that film's release, and it's being billed as a return to sci-fi optimism, a journey to a place where the best and brightest can make great things happen, as long as they don't let their hope for the future die.
In a new interview with Vulture, Lindelof, Bird and Tomorrowland star George Clooney got into an interesting discussion about pervasive cynicism, particularly on social media, and Lindelof noted that there was plenty of cynicism coming at them before the film even got made.
"There's this great thing in all of us where we want to hope, we want to believe," he said. "But then what happens? We saw that hope with Obama's first election … and then, with the second election, the cynicism sets in. We all want to be activated, but...it's so easy to default back to cynicism," he explained to Vulture. "Which isn't to say that you have to love everything — obviously, we have to open ourselves up to some level of criticism. But when we all took this on, people were saying, 'You can't make an original movie anymore, and you certainly can't make an interesting Disney movie. If you make a Disney movie named Tomorrowland, it's gotta have Space Mountain, and you basically have to sell tickets to the amusement park.' "
A bit later in the discussion, Lindelof's thoughts on cynicism and social media actually led him to make a rather interesting claim: Some "fanboys" who see Tomorrowland will never admit they liked the film, even if they actually do.
"Now, I don't want to start a war, but as a self-identified fanboy, I think that with this movie, it's gonna be really hard for fanboys to say, 'I really enjoyed this movie. It made me feel good,' " Lindelof continued. "God forbid you tweeted something like that! What would happen to you? You'd lose your readership! 'You sold out!' "
That's an awfully cynical thing to say for a guy who was just talking about the dangers of giving in to cynicism, but does Lindelof have a point? So many fans have been let down by him in the past that they've come to expect disappointment. Maybe not M. Night Shyamalan-level disappointment, but disappointment nonethless, whether it's warranted or not. And after all, there are some people who, back when Lindelof was on Twitter, would find any way they could to bring up how he ruined Lost for them ...
Now, I haven't seen Tomorrowland yet, but the film already has its share of detractors, so it'll be interesting to see how Lindelof's prediction plays out. What do you think? Is he right?
Tomorrowland is in theaters Friday.