I’ve had a on/off, love/hate relationship with Lost in recent years. While it was airing, I was right there with the rest of the world anticipating the answering of the burning mysteries that were presented over an intense 5 seasons. Like most, I was really dissatisfied with the way it ended. It didn’t address many of the mysteries, and if it did, they were pretty terrible reveals. Since then I’ve reconciled it, focusing on the rather remarkable characters that the show introduced us.
Unfortunately this lackluster or even lack of answers approach to storytelling is the modus operandi of JJ Abrams, AKA the director/co-writer of the new Star Wars film. From Alias to Fringe to Lost to Star Trek Into Darkness, we have been fed compelling mystery without satisfying follow-through. And he freely admits it! Well, I suppose he won’t admit the latter part, but the man lives by this code of conduct. Just watch his TED talk below, which is aptly titled “The Mystery Box.”
It’s very well known at this point that the overall series plot of Lost was scarcely mapped out, despite the creators and showrunners assuring us that it was. They created mystery to suck us in, and then didn’t know what to do with it. Before the final season, they tried to temper expectations by saying that the only thing that they, the writers, care about are the characters and their arcs. Which, if you look at it from a character-driven perspective, it was a very well done show. However, that’s not how they sold it to us in the beginning.
What does this have to do with Star Wars The Force Awakens you ask? EVERYTHING.
There have been two production tidbits that really have me worried. The first is that Kathleen Kennedy (president of Lucasfilm and producer of the films) and JJ have admitted that they haven’t fully mapped out the story of the sequels. While I get that they wanted to give some freedom to the next filmmakers, but these writers could have easily been written into a corner by JJ and Lawrence Kasdan.
Which brings us to the next worrisome part: it was recently uncovered that Mr. Abrams was changing the origin of main characters and major plot points as late as 10 weeks before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Can you imagine being Rian Johnson, the writer/director of Star Wars Episode VIII? It would be pretty infuriating to have to make possibly major tweaks to your script based on last minute changes? It could potentially be a nightmare.
The internet has been abuzz with an extreme amount of speculation about the origin of some of the characters. I’m choosing to back away from that, mostly because I want to avoid getting my heart broken. What if Rey’s parents are nobody we know and it’s a super lame reveal? What if Luke hasn’t found anything? What if Snoke is just a nobody?
In short, I think we should remember the heart break that was Lost. It’s exciting to speculate and hope for some great reveals and what not, but I really think expectations should be tempered.