"Please do not ask them to read your scripts, your resume, give you a hug, father your child..." booms the MC, as the folks in a packed convention center ballroom wait for Lost's executive producers and podcast voiceover guys Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.
The two amble onstage promptly at 5 p.m. Thursday and can't find the microphone. "Maybe it's LOST," yells one fan.
Lindelof and Cuse have each brought a bell. It's part of a system, says Cuse, as the pair plan to ring each other out if they give too much of Season Four away.
"We're drunk, first off, and in that state we tend to go on and on and say too much," says Lindelof.
The two don't reveal too much in the hour they're given to talk, but they do confirm that:
1. Lost's future consists of three more seasons of 16 episodes each. And the ending exists. "We're not going to give you 10 minutes of blank tape," jokes Cuse.
2. The seasons will 'run straight.' No reruns while fans wait.
3. Harold Perrineau, who played Michael on the show, is returning. This news was actually broken on Wednesday, but the producers added that Perrineau wouldn't return as a flashback. "He's rejoining the cast." says Lindelof. "We're not gonna tell you when, but it is gonna be early in the 4th season."
Then a bell rings offstage, and Perrineau walks on ringing it. The crowd goes nuts.
A Q&A with the fans ensues.
"When will we get Danielle Rousseau's flashback?" asks one. Maybe next year, reply the producers.
"After Lost is completely over, what do you want to do?" asks another. "Sleep," says Lindelof.
"Will Jack and Claire find out they're brother and sister?" Ding! go the bells.
"What questions should we be asking?"
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The producers look at each other. "Who's in the coffin?" Lindelof finally says, and some fans scream the question from their seats. Then the producers ask Perrineau to make an educated guess.
"It's probably Locke," he says.
The panel wraps up with a really short garbled clip about Lost's fictional Dharma Initiative. In it, a scientist holds up a large white rabbit with the number 15 on it, and addresses the camera, preparing to talk about Dharma. Then another white rabbit escapes its cage and he goes crazy, yelling at his assistant to keep the rabbits apart. Then the badly-stitched reel goes blank.
Does that mean anything to you? I was scratching my head!