“Did you even know there was a volcano on the ABC series Lost? It’s true. And it might have made a bigger impression — and led to a different series finale — if not for a small matter of money. The presence of this geographical feature on the show’s mystical, time-skipping island was established in season 3. You see drawings, images, and even a model of it in a Dharma Initiative classroom. Obsessive viewers spotted it and theorized about it, but when Lost never returned to it, fans assumed the volcano was a red herring or rich bit of detail. Actually, it was one of the first hints of an endgame. […]
Lindelof and Cuse initially envisioned a finale in which Jack (Matthew Fox) and Smokey incarnate (Terry O’Quinn) would brawl over the fate of the island at Lost’sproverbial Mount Doom. “The volcano had been dormant for the duration of the series,” explains Lindelof, “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!” […]
And this is where the people who wrote the checks for Lost put a stopper in Operation: Magma Spew. At some point in all the plotting, planning, and prepping for season 6, ABC calculated that it couldn’t afford the transportation cost. Not helping the cause: The set for the temple, a refuge for Jacob’s chosen ones and a key location in the first half of season 6, turned out to be very expensive. Says Lindelof: “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.’” And that’s how Smokey’s crucible — Lost’s version of Buffy’s Hellmouth — was re-imagined as a cave of light and the fight between Jack and the monster was filmed on the cliffs of Oahu. […]
Still, Cuse and Lindelof do think scratching the volcano was for the best. Lindelof says the producers came to believe during the writing of season 6 that it would be better if some ideas about The Island remained metaphorical or mysterious, things to be interpreted, not explained. “The other thing that happened,” says Lindelof, “was that we remembered Revenge of the Sith, and that big epic battle between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, in the midst of a volcanic planet. We knew whatever we did was going to look Mickey Mouse next to it.” Maybe. But we bet Star Wars fanatic Hurley would have loved it.”
Read the whole article at Entertainment Weekly.