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'Lost' exclusive: ABC sets the record straight about the series finale's plane crash images

You know those Oceanic 815 plane crash images that ran after Jack's (Matthew Fox) eye closed and the "Lost" logo appeared on our TV screens? Some "Lost" fans and TV critics have wondered if they were a last Easter egg from the producers, a clue meant to lead us to conclude that no one survived Oceanic 815's crash landing — and therefore everything we've seen over the last six years never really happened.

Well, ABC wants to clear the air: Those photographs were not part of the "Lost" story at all. The network added them to soften the transition from the moving ending of the series to the 11 p.m. news and never considered that it would confuse viewers about the actual ending of the show.

"The images shown during the end credits of the 'Lost' finale, which included shots of Oceanic 815 on a deserted beach, were not part of the final story but were a visual aid to allow the viewer to decompress before heading into the news," an ABC spokesperson wrote in an e-mail Tuesday.

That means, Losties, that we were not supposed to think that Christian Shepherd (John Terry) is a liar. What Christian told his son, when they were reunited at the church, should serve as guidance for our interpretation of the series' ending.

So let's review: Christian told Jack that he was dead and everyone else in the church was too — some had died before Jack, as we already knew, and some died long after. The sideways flashes then were a step in everyone's after-lives, a way to reconnect before moving on permanently.  While there still may be unanswered questions related to that religious and spiritual conclusion to the "Lost" story, the photographs were really just a nostalgic, transitional touch added by ABC executives — and not executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.

Love or hate it, that's the final answer.

— Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: A frame grab from the closing credits of the series finale of "Lost."  Credit: abc.com.


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Comments () | Archives (73)

Warning - Dark Tower spoilers ahead for those who haven't read the books.

@Trent - I actually like the idea of the "Losties" having to go through life over and over until they get it right. Darlton have said that they love The Dark Tower, and this is basically what those books were all about in the end - that Roland has to repeat his journey countless times until he can redeem himself.

I've read a LOT of reviews of this episode and I think the only person confused by the end images in the credits was the LA Times reviewer. Everyone else seemed to know what they signified (ie: nothing).

@RL, "6 seasons and for an ending we get the Catholic view of life as the answer? The Island was Purgatory and everyone went to Heaven? Give me a break. "

Wrongo. The Island events were real. Only the flash-sideways timeline, amounting to about 4 hours out of 121.5, was purgatory/meeting-place. Like I've told others, it's easy to be upset when you don't understand the show.

Who cares...

The people that are so upset with the ending have NO imagination and terrible memories.

The ending was brilliant if you had watched the show from the very beginning and were able to discern the basics of the show. At the end Jack's father explains what happened and still people think he is lying. Just like religion we are not meant to understand everything and there will be a lot of interpretations.

Just as Jacob explained the people who were brought to the Island were LOST just like him. The Island was the life force for this world and while Jacob was there protecting it he also played a game with his brother to entertain himself. Jacob did things and made up rules because he could and did not have to give a reason. Jacob was not God and he said this to Richard but the Island afforded him powers as the protector.

If you wanted everything answered then of course you are going to be upset but that was not the point of the show. Lost was about the people so if you are going to obsess about the Island you will never get it.

This was a shameful decision by ABC. I have watched every episode of this show and follow it fairly closely with podcasts etc. The final shots just added confusion when I should have just been focusing on emotion. The show's writers should be absolutely furious. It is not just "stupid" people who didn't understand the show who found those shots distracting.

I'm sorry, but it's fairly ridiculous when you can just write off not answering plotlines and questions with "that's not the point of the show" - frankly, those were the more interesting (albeit often frustrating) aspects of the show for myself and everyone I know.

Oh, and then there's always the whole "lying" factor that the producers (et al.) brought to the table: For example, they long claimed that there would be no time travel involved in the show.

to equate feeling betrayed by the writers when they lied to us way back in the beginning saying the characters where not dead or in purgatory... With "confusion" over the ending? Misses the point entirely!

I am not confused I am dissapointed that they chose to end the series with an overly simplistic "everyone dies" now let's all walk into the light BS...

If I wanted that I could have watched "touched by an angel" or some other psuedo-Christian smultzt...

Either way it ends with only the last season being dead/purgatory or (the version I like) everyone died in Oceanic 815. I feel betrayed :-(

It is hilarious people are still going on about them not answering the polar bear question when they answered it back in season four. I can only conclude that most of the complainers didn't watch the show. Most of these things were answered. Can't cure stupid I guess.

Not to mention that the scene, coupled with Jack's eye closing, brought the whole show full circle to the pilot. It was supposed to be transitional, but also ended up being very intuitive. Good job. I'm still so sad that I won't be looking forward to new episodes. But I LOVED this show to pieces and will stand by it. Even its ending. :)

I can't believe we're still discussing a show that uses the term "sideways flashes." There should be no "sideways flashes" in story telling.

If you need some cheering up after the finale, check out this EPIC "LOST" parody:


The ajeera plane had red paint, the plane shown during the credits at the end of the last episode had blue. They were not the same plane.

I'm so very glad they cleared this up. Not because I had any questions about whether or not flight 815 had killed everyone--that was clearly answered by Christian--but a friend and I were left wondering if that might actually have been the remains of the Ajira (sp?) flight. We were afraid it might have crashed just after Jack died and that no one had gotten off the island in the end. I loved the finale anyway, but this news just makes me even happier about how it all panned out.

The final images over the credits is not what angered or confused the viewers. They wanted answers to all the many mysteries and clues the writers created during all the prior seasons. They wanted more than just a tear-jerker after-life reunion or all the alternatives integrated into the characters memories. It did not matter if the events on the island really happened or if the alternate realities happened or if all the possibilities happened in some quantum physics world. The viewers wanted answers to all the cliffhangers that came before. I realized the final crash images were just a salute to the series.

Rod Serling was a phenomenal writer. Every episode he wrote provided imaginative final ANSWERS to all the details in the fantasies he created. The writers of "Lost" left us with an empty suit and many cliffhangers were unresolved.

I thought the finale was great despite the fact that several episodes leading up to made me very very wary of the wrap up.

As for the plane crash images, I just assumed that it was there to mean that wreckage still exists on the beach (like the cocoon after a butterfly emerges from it) but everyone is long gone - some dead, some left the island, some in seclusion and some with new duties in the world. I know they supposedly cleaned up some of the wreckage in show but really, what would you really be able to do with it? So I thought it was a poetic choice. Maybe not as good as keeping it simple with a black background behind the credits, but a decent choice nonetheless.

when I saw the last image of the plane crash, I thought it meant that they all died in the crash and the whole series was them in purgatory. Now after reading all the comments, I think I need to watch the episode again. In fact, I think I need to watch the whole series again!

I felt a bit despondent after the last episode. It was ok, but felt they could have done a better job. I was also a little annoyed to see Shannon and Boone but not Mr Echo. Thrilled to see that Vincent was still running around though!

This is why television executives should stay OUT of the creative process. Stay behind a desk, have lunch and close deals - that's it!

I thought the last shot was poetic. Lyric.

~Ha I'm so glad that I didn't watch this joke of a show past the second episode. What a waste of everyone's lives this has been, except those that have become rich off it that is. I can't believe the format of 5min's following on from last cliffhanger, 50min's of absolute jack and then 5min's of a cliff hanger to keep you watching actually worked for that long... lolol

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