Five things we'll learn from the Lost DVD
1. A lot happened during Hurley and Ben's reign as the Island's protectors.
In the series finale, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) resigned his briefly held post as Island guardian and bequeathed the role to bighearted Hurley (Jorge Garcia), who in turn tapped redeemed rogue Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson) to be his second-in-command. Together, they resolved to manage the mystical heart of the world differently from Jack's predecessor, Jacob (Mark Pellegrino), the aloof and troubled man-child who had brought all of the castaways to the Island. It was a surprising revelation that left fans wondering about the adventures Hurley and Ben had together. ''The New Man in Charge'' a 12-minute epilogue produced exclusively for the season 6 and Complete Collection DVDs offers some tantalizing insight.
The tale, which is divided into three sections, finds Ben in the outside world wrapping up loose ends from the Jacob era of the Island. His first stop: a Dharma Initiative warehouse on Guam, where he agrees to answer a couple questions for a pair of baffled employees a knowing sequence that winks at Lost's notoriously cagey approach to mystery resolution. His last stop: the mental institution where Hurley spent two stints of crazy...but that's all we're gonna say about that. The DVD micro-sode features appearances by three other iconic Lost characters, including Dr. Pierre Chang (François Chau), who shows up to narrate an orientation video for Dharma's Hydra station. And for anyone still puzzled about the polar bears, there will be answers.
Lost exec producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof decided to make ''The New Man in Charge'' after they were asked for a longer version of the series finale to include on the season 6 DVD. While some bits were cut from ''The End'' (you'll find two of them in the DVD's deleted-scenes extra), Cuse and Lindelof didn't think there was enough to warrant a proverbial director's cut. Instead, they pitched the epilogue idea and then filmed the scenes while shooting the finale in April. ''There were days when I didn't know if I was in part 1 of the finale, part 2 of the finale, or if I was shooting the DVD scene,'' says Emerson. ''What I like best about it is that we get an extra spoonful [of the show], that it shines a tantalizing light into what could've been a whole other series, where a benign but no less intriguing regime is now in charge of this secret world.''
2. Michael Emerson (Ben), Nestor Carbonell (Richard), and Ken Leung (Miles) all thought the producers wanted them dead.
Probably the best of the DVD's many and meaty behind-the-scenes featurettes is a mini-documentary titled ''Crafting a Final Season,'' which chronicles the making of season 6, from the first day of shooting (in which a Hawaiian priest was brought in to bless the set and crew) to the last days of work for stars Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, and Josh Holloway. Emerson, Carbonell, and Leung reveal that they were convinced that the producers intended to kill Ben, Richard, and Miles after they were separated from the core group of castaways and kept off screen until the last two episodes. Other choice moments include a visit to Jorge Garcia's Hawaii home, where he displays the locked mailbox he had installed so he could have Lost scripts sent to his house. The camera also records his tearful reaction to reading the finale script.
3. Terry O'Quinn can kill you from 20 yards away.
A tour of the prop room has become something of a DVD-extra cliché, but ''Artifacts of the Island: Inside the Lost Prop House'' is fun thanks to the nifty trivia and humorous cast anecdotes about all sorts of Lost stuff: Daniel Faraday's notebook, Jin's handcuffs, Kate's key to the gun case, Charlie's Virgin Mary statues, and more. Lost's longtime prop master, Rob Kyker, explains that when Baby Aaron wasn't played by a real infant, the production used one of several cheap plastic dolls known to the cast and crew as ''Fake Aaron,'' ''Creepy Aaron,'' and occasionally ''Jane,'' the name printed on the back of one of the toys. In a sequence devoted to John Locke's many hunting knives, Terry O'Quinn says that he insisted on learning how to throw them, which he did by hucking blades at dollar bills pinned to trees. (There's footage to prove it.) ''That was the point in which I thought, 'This character could be fun!''' says the actor with a laugh. Evangeline Lilly discloses that the original ''Dear Mr. Sawyer'' letter which Josh Holloway's character penned to the man he blamed for his parents' deaths no longer exists. Lilly claimed it as a keepsake during season 1...and then it burned up in the fire that destroyed her home in 2006. ''I was mortified,'' says Lilly in the featurette, as she reviews one of the many replacements. ''Can I keep this one?'' (Lost fans, break open your piggy banks: Many of these props will be available for purchase in an auction at profilesinhistory.com beginning Aug. 21.)
4. The secret to Lost? ''Benign positional vertigo.''
Meet the man the producers of Lost regard as their storytelling secret weapon: Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino, whose stirring musical cues were literally written into the script. A featurette about the making of the finale captures Giacchino and his orchestra as they record 88 minutes of music in a single day. At one point, a violinist sums up Giacchino's contribution to Lost like this: ''What Michael's music does is provide benign positional vertigo, which gives the audience a feeling of cognitive dissonance, which is appropriate for this kind of show. You know what I'm sayin''' (See? The people behind the scenes can pretentiously overthink Lost too!) We see Giacchino conducting the deeply sad music for Lost's last moments with Cuse and Lindelof at his side. By the end, everyone is crying. ''That was very hard to write and very hard to record,'' says a choked-up Giacchino. ''So there it is.''
5. Allison Janney was the original smoke monster. (Maybe.)
Fans baffled by season 6 will likely find a mini-documentary about the Sideways story line to be a disappointment, as there's no discussion of the final revelation that all the action was set in a limbo world where the castaways were dead. However, Losties would be wise to listen to the commentary track that Cuse and Lindelof recorded for ''Across the Sea,'' the polarizing late-season episode set thousands of years in the past that chronicles the origins of Jacob and the Man in Black, a.k.a. Smokey. The producers explain their intentions and address a number of burning questions: Was Mother (Allison Janney) really a smoke monster? What were Jacob's ''rules,'' and how come he never spelled them out? When was that stone cork inserted into the heart of the Island? Without ever offering ''official'' answers, Cuse and Lindelof's commentary is provocative enough to demand a critical reevaluation of the episode. It's also just really entertaining. ''Oh, look! Another pregnant woman on Lost!'' quips Lindelof during the scene in which Jacob's biological mother arrives on the Island. ''Wonder if she's going to have babies and die? They've never done that before!'' Yes, even the producers of Lost can be as snarky as message-board trolls. (Additional reporting by Adam B. Vary)
Lost: The Complete Collection Includes...
· ''The New Man in Charge,'' a 12-minute epilogue about Hurley and Ben's time as the Island's guardians, filmed exclusively for the DVD.
· Commentary from Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, writers, and assorted cast members on ''LA X,'' ''Dr. Linus,'' ''Ab Aeterno,'' and ''Across the Sea.''
· An episode guide and a black penlight for finding more Lost secrets hidden in the packaging. (Seriously, why must they make this so difficult?)