Obviously the big Season 5 question is, why do they have to go back to the island? Why is it so important that they go and why do they all have to go? In some ways, is that the story of this season?
The why of it all is always the hardest mystery to deal with on the show. If you were to say, “Locke tells them, ‘Hey, this is all happening for a reason,’" and then you’d say, "Well, what is that reason? Why were all those people on that plane?" Obviously that stuff is coming downstream. Probably much of it will be hinted at in Season 5, but why these people, why this time, why this place, why that plane? It’s Season 6 territory.
In terms of the very specific rules of -- in order to get back to the island, why do they need to bring back as many people who left the island as possible? There will be some further explanation of that stuff sooner rather than later from a source outside our characters speculating.
We’re told that bad things happen once the Oceanic 6 left the island. When will you get into that? Is that also Season 6 territory?
Part of it unfolds this season, part of it unfolds next season. But obviously the fact that the island was moved by Ben sets in motion a chain of events, and that chain of events has very dramatic consequences. That’s really a very important question for the people who were left behind on the island -- what the hell is going on here and what are the consequences of the island being moved. What does it mean for us?
We were talking before about keeping the show on a character level, that’s really what it comes down to. Yeah, [a particular thing is happening this season; see note below], but what are the consequences of that for them in terms of their survival, in terms of their relationships, in terms of whatever their ultimate destiny with the island is? Those are the pertinent questions.
Ben says something in the Season 4 finale about not being able to return to the island once he’s moved it. Is there also a catch for the Oceanic 6, in that they won’t be able to go back to the regular world if they go to the island? They’ll have to stay there?
That’s certainly a question that we should be asking. When Ben says that whoever turns the wheel is never allowed to return to the island, is that a rule or is it a law? Those are two entirely different things. One would basically say, it would be impossible for him to get back to the island, no matter how hard he tried. The other would say that he could get back to the island, but if he did, he would be punished for it. So that’s going to unfold over the course of the season, based on whether or not Ben is successful in getting back himself.
Speaking of that, how much of Season 6 is mapped out? I’m assuming it’s not set in stone, but are all the pieces laid out?
I think we have all these puzzle pieces for Season 5 and Season 6, and they’re two separate puzzles because they’re two different seasons. But all the pieces were mixed together. It’s sometimes time-consuming to take a piece and say, “Which season does this fit in better?” And some stuff is definitely in Season 6 because it’s end-of-show stuff.
We have to walk that line between giving the audience enough information so that they don’t get confused, and put off, and giving them too much information, so they’re not like, “Well, you gave me everything I care about in Season 5. So why watch Season 6?”
One thing we all decided was, the biggest mistake we could make in Season 5 would be to hold back or slow down or go back to a stalling modality. We’ve basically been feeding the audience crystal meth for a year, to cut them off cold turkey and give them a pack of chewing gum and say, “We’ll give you more crystal meth in Season 6,” would have been a disaster. When you piss off a junkie, they will do almost anything to get their drug. (lolz lost junkies!)