Jimmy Kimmel: Will Walt continue to grow until he’s 9, 10, 11 feet tall?
Carlton Cuse: That’s one of our favorite lines of the whole show: ” Who told you that, Taller Ghost Walt?” You know, we went and had lunch at Arnie Morton’s with Malcolm David Kelley, the actor who plays Walt.
Damon Lindelof: This was before the finale last year.
Cuse: And he was still the same size. We were like, “Thank God!” So we wrote him into the finale and then somehow, in that intervening six weeks, he hit puberty hardcore. He shows up [to shoot the episode] and it’s like, “Wow, can he slam dunk?”
Kimmel: See, you should’ve gone for an Emmanuel Lewis or a Gary Coleman. [Laughs] In my opinion, the episode where Nikki and Paolo were buried alive was the most different of all the episodes. It almost seemed like a Twilight Zone with a little Romeo & Juliet thrown in or something.
Cuse: I think what you’re responding to is that it was the one episode that sort of acknowledged that this is just a TV show. We were responding very directly to the fans’ criticism of those characters. I think some people really appreciated it as a satiric exercise and some were kind of offended that we would —
Lindelof: Break the fourth wall.
Cuse: We take the show very seriously, but we do so with a spirit of fun. And I think we have to acknowledge that sometimes we make mistakes. Nikki and Paolo were a mistake. I mean, we’re trying to push the envelope — some things work, others crash.
Kimmel: I doubt there’s ever been a show more responsive to its audience.
Lindelof: It has to be. Because Lost is highly-serialized, we can jump the shark in such a way that people would stop watching forever. And some people have. If you were to poll them all, the common answer would be it got too complicated. People are constantly threatening to leave the show. It’s not the most stable relationship. [Laughs] At a certain point, you go, “Come on! You’re four years in. We’re almost home. Just stick it out with us!”
Kimmel: By the final season [in 2010], it may get down to like 175 really hard-core viewers.
Lindelof: [Laughs] As long as you’re one of them.
Kimmel: I will be. I’ve never wavered. Some episodes blow me away more than other ones, but I try to look at the big picture. I defend it when people say, “Oh, this episode’s not as good.” Maybe it’s because I have to do a show every night and I know it can’t knock your head off every single time.
Lindelof: Do you feel like there’s a creative decision we could make that would make you stop watching?
Kimmel: I mean, if the Globetrotters sailed up on to the island or if Tony Danza became a castaway….
Lindelof and Cuse: Uh-oh. [Laugh]
Kimmel: Is everyone on the island from the planet Earth?
Cuse: [Long pause] Yes. That may be one of the best Lost questions we’ve ever been asked.
Lindelof: When you get asked questions like that, you have to be very careful how you answer.
Kimmel: Will we see the process of the Oceanic Six coming home and becoming international celebrities?
Cuse: We will probably not see them hanging out with Paris Hilton.
Lindelof: But you will see that period of excitement when they first come back before the end of the year. We really thought about, what would happen if there was a plane crash and everyone was believed dead and then six survivors turned up?
Kimmel: Someone would probably write a book. They’d do Good Morning America. And they’d get a big settlement from the airline.
Cuse: The settlement does actually come into play. That’s a big plot point in the finale.
Lindelof: Would you book the Oceanic Six on Jimmy Kimmel Live!?
Kimmel: Absolutely. No question about it.
Cuse: The overriding goal of the characters in Season 5 is to get on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Lindelof: That’s what Jack is talking about in the flash-forward. He’s not talking about the island.
Cuse: [Laughs] “We’ve gotta go back…on Kimmel!” And Kate’s like, “No!”
TV Guide: Do you feel pressure to live up to last year’s finale? How do you beat the flash forwards?
Cuse: I don’t know if you beat it. But the audience has been waiting to find out what happens after that scene between Jack and Kate [at the end of Season 3], and we’re gonna deliver on that in the finale. We’re doing some pretty cool s–t. It’s just gonna be on a different bandwidth than last year. It’s not about the M. Night Shyamalan trick.
Lindelof: Jimmy, that’s actually a question I wanted to ask you. Do you find now that you’ve done the Ben [Affleck] and Matt [Damon] videos, everyone’s saying, “How are you gonna top yourself?”
Kimmel: Yeah, but because that’s a departure from my usual show, I have the luxury of not doing anything. So we’re just gonna leave it alone. Certainly, if there were some spectacular idea, we’d do it. But there isn’t anything better than what we did the last time.
Lindelof: That’s the way we feel about last year’s finale — that it’s a special moment in time. That moment when Kate gets out of the car is a once-in-a-lifetime show experience.
TV Guide: The Internet has played a role in the buzz surrounding both of your shows.
Cuse: I don’t think Lost could’ve existed in the pre-Internet era. Now you have the ability to both catch up with the show and also discuss and explain it. The camaraderie of the fans that come together over the Internet to discuss Lost is a huge factor in its success.
Lindelof: Lost has always been a cult show in its DNA. It started out as being the band that everybody was listening to and is sort of migrating down to the people who are just fans of punk rock.
Kimmel: When the series wraps, is there any chance of a Lost movie?
Cuse: Our goal is to finish the show and have it feel satisfying. We have no plans at this point to do a movie.
Lindelof: We don’t wanna do “and then” storytelling. Like, “Yes, that’s the entire thing. And then the one thing we didn’t tell you was this.”
Cuse: When the show ends, it’s over.
Lindelof: But I think it goes without being said that [until then], the show is gonna get weird. Weirder.
Cuse: [Laughs] I’m glad you added that amplification. Recently, we were doing [an interview for] a clip show and after about two hours of explaining plot, I was like, “This show is insane! We are certifiably insane people.”
Kimmel: Then I’m insane, too, because I’m all in.