Monday, August 8, 2011

LOST panel at Comic-Con 2011

I was unhappily resigned to the notion that I would never see a LOST panel featuring Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse live in person at Comic-Con. Truth be told, due to my late entry into LOST fandom my first experience in such matters came in 2009 when I watched the LOST Comic-Con panel via the InterWebz shortly after it occurred. (That was the one featuring Paul Scheer which kicked off the Damon, Carlton and a Polar Bear poster ARG.) Odds that LOST would return to Comic-Con in 2010 for a post-finale swan song were low, and sure enough such a panel did not materialize. The outlook for LOST events at future Comic-Cons seemed bleak.

When an Entertainment Weekly Totally LOST panel featuring Doc Jensen and Dan Snierson was announced for Friday at 3:30PM at Comic-Con 2011 I was overjoyed. It might not be Darlton, but it was the next best thing. The panel immediately became a priority for most of us in The Barracks. Some odd exchanges between Damon and Carlton and a few cryptic words from an insider piqued our interest even more.

My session with Dominic Monaghan took place Friday around noon; immediately afterward I set out for Room 5AB. On arrival shortly after 1PM I found the room rather empty, though I did notice a group of my Barracks-mates already perched just a few rows back from the dias. I was happily surprised to learn that the in-progress panel involved Jeff Smith, creator of the Bone comics, who is a favourite of my son. At the end of Jeff's panel we all moved forward to get better seats.

The subsequent panel was a bit of an awkward affair featuring Ed Benes and his interpreter; there was a weird vibe, especially at the beginning of the panel, though it did smooth out somewhat later. The final pre-LOST panel involved a forthright and interesting Alan Davis.

Finally the time had come for LOST. By now many of our group had made it to the front-row seats and I had a fantastic view from a seat just four rows from the front. The room, nearly empty for most of the afternoon, quickly filled.

Below 2 photos courtesy @BonnieJGreen

Doc & Dan entered and told us that they had a big surprise in store for the fans but it had fallen through -- they had intended to reunite the entire cast of LOST! The audience wasn't quite that gullible -- we knew something else was afoot. (A 4-toed foot even.)

Photo below courtesy @zort70

Suddenly a tall, slim stormtrooper strode down the central corridor, stopping directly in front of our hosts.

Photo below courtesy @zort70

The stormtrooper's helmet was removed to reveal -- !BOOM! -- Carlton Cuse. A thunderous ovation shook the room. Carlton explained that there was a never-before-seen deleted scene from season 1 ("the marbled rye") that Lindelof wanted to show to the fans. Carlton argued that it should be kept in the vault to preserve the integrity of the series.

Photo below courtesy @BonnieJGreen
Photo below courtesy @zort70
As Carlton defended his position, another figure dashed to the front of the hall, Master Damon Lindelof. (Check out the great photo below that captures the exact instant that my peripheral vision detected his approach.) Again, sustained applause and excitement.

Photo below courtesy @CaliPH

Damon put forward an eloquent defence of his position that the footage should be shown. The audience (nearly) unanimously agreed.

Photo below courtesy @BonnieJGreenPhoto below courtesy @zort70
We were shown the clip (complete with unplanned technical glitches) which turned out to be new footage, shot a few weeks prior, of Jacob and the Man In Black cut together with a classic Jack vs. Locke debate from Season 1. Pellegrino & Welliver have wonderful comic chemistry and they had the audience in tears of laughter. We also finally learned the canonical name for Man In Black. I won't divulge it here, but will say that he shares his name with one of the Bee Gees. And it's not Maurice.

After showing the video Darlton expressed words of appreciation for the fans. I noticed during this time and also later during the Q&A that both Damon and Carlton seemed to be looking directly into the audience, making eye contact with as many people as possible. (It even felt as if Damon's eye may have fallen on me a time or two.) My impression was that they were genuinely connecting with the fans, soaking in the images and absorbing the emotion that emanated from the room. The use of a smaller venue (several times smaller than those used for previous LOST panels at Comic-Con) no doubt encouraged this intimacy. The connection was noticed, and appreciated.

The subsequent Q&A session was quite memorable as well. Each fan to ask a question received a cool LOST / Star Wars mashup poster created by JJ Harrison. The poster has a very interesting backstory and resulted in a very special Comic-Con for JJ and his family. Although (unlike my surreal friend Mel) I didn't ask a question, fortunately I had ordered one of JJ's posters before leaving for San Diego and it was waiting when I returned!

Photo below courtesy @zort70

At one point Carlton couldn't handle the uncomfortable stormtrooper outfit anymore and there was a hilarious sequence where he struggled to take it off. According to Damon he may have removed a bit more than intended at one point.

Photo below courtesy @patmc4fun

The cool DHARMA / Comic-Con sign pinned to the dias was, I was told, brought from The Barracks although I don't remember seeing it there. (But I easily could have missed it.)

I'm still shaking my head over the fact that I was at a Comic-Con LOST panel live in person. I hope it becomes a regular or semi-regular occurrence so other fans can have the same experience in the future.

Below photo courtesy @LOST_4815162342

There were a few fans in the audience who were a bit more recognizable than others. Midway through the panel I noticed a man standing against the far wall and nudged @MegoScott saying, "Hey, look, isn't that Michael Giacchino?" Sure enough it was.

Below photo courtesy @CaliPH

One of my fellow Barracksters, @BonnieJGreen, managed to get a photo with MG. As the panel ended he graciously lingered around the exit as several fans stopped to say hello, get a signature, or have a picture. Again I didn't go that route but have the happy memory of standing a few feet away from a brilliant, Oscar-winning, tear-inducing composer.

Photo below courtesy @BonnieJGreen
Below photo courtesy @LOST_4815162342
And because it wouldn't be LOST without painful attention to detail, here are a couple of close-ups of the badges on Lindelof's DHARMA outfit. Happy theorizing!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for describing the thrill of that panel!