The Stephen King-LOST Connection

05 May

I’ll tell you in a nutshell – I think Stephen King is secretly writing or overseeing the writing of Lost.  Sometime later next year, after the first wave of box sets has sold, there will be an announcement.  They’ll break the story that Stephen King had a hand in it, and then they’ll release another box set, with Stephen King doing a commentary.

By then it will be obvious, for two reasons.  First, the end is going to be awful.  Stephen King’s idea of wrapping up a huge convoluted story is usually a lot of what I’m seeing on Lost right now – powerful unseen forces manipulate the giant cast of characters through the use of incredible coincidences, which are then supposed to be accepted not as lazy or contrived, but as a mind-boggling feature – and further evidence of  – the powerful unseen forces.  Another thing Stephen King characters like to do is “know” things, and then solemnly tell other characters, “I don’t know how I know it, but I’m sure.”  And then they all nod gravely – again as evidence to the powerful unseen forces, not the way people would really react to a sentence like that.  These people are acting exactly like Stephen King characters, and I don’t think he’s ended a book well since Misery.

Second, Lost is going to end with open tie-ins to another Stephen King project, so that an unbelievable and unprecendented spinoff happens.  See, I don’t think people would get on board for a standard Lost spinoff – who wants to go through this again?  But what’s going to happen is, they’ll spinoff into another Stephen King series.  Listen.

Stephen King – according to my wild, speculative theory – was brought on board by JJ Abrams, to help him tie the crazy plotlines together that he had developed.  They did this secretly, because the show was already a runaway hit and they didn’t need King’s name and because the secret itself would be worth money down the road. 

I’ll bet Stephen King came on board in Season Two.  That’s not really when the show began to feel like a Stephen King book, but it’s the first time a Stephen King book showed up on the show.  When we first met Juliet, she was having a book club party, and the book was by Stephen King.  Juliet described the book as her “favorite book.”   

Stephen King loves to reference himself.  You’ll find a copy of his books in any movie he has a hand in – and he’ll frequently do a cameo, too.  He referenced Stephen King in his Bachman books, too – in Thinner for instance, someone says, “You sound like a character in a Stephen King novel.”  For crying out loud, he writes himself literally into The Dark Tower – the characters come out of their world and interact with him, the writer – because he’s the most important person in the universe!

When the Man In Black shows up in Lost, that’s when Stephen King really has his hooks in it.  I’d say, when he came on board in Season Two, Abrams and his crew already had some plotlines laid out, and it made sense to keep them. 

The Man in Black, especially in the form of Locke, is exactly like Randall Flagg, Stephen King’s favorite villain.  The scene in which The Man In Black releases chained-up Richard from The Black Pearl mirrors the scene in The Stand, when Randall Flagg releases Lloyd Henreid from jail.   This is also when the psychic people show up, the people who can see dead people, the series of jaw-dropping coincidences being mystically accepted as “fate” – all staples of Stephen King.

I could go on for a long time about these similarities, but for now, that’s all they are is similarities, so they aren’t important.  I’m just seeing Stephen King’s fingerprints all over this thing.

What is important is motive.  Why would J.J. Abrams do this, and why would Stephen King?

 J.J. Abrams is the executive producer of the show, and his motivation for seeking out Stephen King, and for doing so secretly, is pretty simple.  First, he admitted when the show began, they had no idea where it was going.  They filmed a few episodes, not knowing if it would take off or not, and when it did, they were under the gun, finishing scripts within hours of filming.  Pulling things like polar bears and feral French women right out of their butts.

Once the show took off, J.J. Abrams was a pretty big name.  He started to get other projects, and the job of sitting down, pulling all these random plotlines together – that was a lot of work.  It would be an obvious move for him to bring someone else in, and a big name he respected would be ideal.  Stephen King, for reasons I’ll go into later, was probably jumping at the project.  They had a meeting, made a deal.

So maybe you’re thinking, why wouldn’t they then slap Stephen King’s name on it, since he’s a huge name in publishing?  Well, because this isn’t publishing, it’s television, and Stephen King is not a big name in television.  He’s had a lot of books adapted to television, but usually someone else writes the screenplay.  And they don’t usually win any awards, or rake in ratings on the level of Lost.

There would be no initial benefit to Abrams, in saying, “Good news, I’m handing this off to Stephen King.”  Because although he sells a lot of books, his name doesn’t mean “good quality television” or “good quality film” to most people.  His name at that point would have had a negative effect.   It was already one of the top shows, and had no place to go, really, but down.

But there would be a benefit down the road – because that’s a second wave of DVD box sets.  Just like when Stephen King wrote as Richard Bachman for several years, not making much money – until the secret was out.

Which brings me to Stephen King, and his motivation.

Well, first, Stephen King seems to like to write for television.   He’s not particularly renowned for it, sure, and when his books are adapted for television, he’s rarely the one to write the screenplay.

But there was Rose Red in 2002, and Kingdom Hospital in 2004 – right before Lost began.  What on earth could his motivation have been then?  Whatever it was, that’s part his motivation now, except with a bonus.  The bonus is, he doesn’t have to work under his own name, with all the baggage that comes along with it – and the project starts out as giant and lucrative. 

But that’s not the main reason he’d do it.

Stephen King likes to Show Everybody, that’s the main reason he’d do it. 

I’ve read about twenty-five of his books, and I know this guy.  He’s self-conscious about being typed as a horror novelist, as a fiction-by-the-pound page factory, who could phone in a book and watch it take off.  People say he doesn’t have to really write anymore, since everything that flies out of his computer is solid gold.

That’s the reason he started writing as Richard Bachman In the eighties to Show Everyone.  At the time, he had written so many best sellers, people were saying, “Stephen King could publish his laundry list, and it would be a best seller.”  So, he says, he decided to write under a pseudonym, and Show Everyone. 

He wrote them, sold them as Bachman books, almost got one on the bestseller list, and then someone busted him out.  And if you asked him at that point, what was your motivation, Stephen King – he’d say, watch this.  Because right when he was busted he published all of them again with his own name on them, and made about five zillion dollars.

And he made sure to tell us, in The Bachmnn Books introduction “Why I Was Bachman,” that he had published them secretly, to Show Everyone.

He also insisted on directing Maximum Overdrive.  To Show Everyone.  Not so much money on that, probably.  Kind of backfired.  But we’re talking about motivation, and that particular crapfest is a good example of Stephen King wanting to Show Everyone, whether it made perfect sense to do so or not.

The Bachmann books are also a good answer to anyone who doesn’t believe such a secret could truly be kept.  You might think, there’s no way we wouldn’t have heard about it by now, someone would have squealed.

Well, of course there was no internet at the time, but he managed to keep the Richard Bachmann secret for five novels.  And it wasn’t like he was the only guy who knew – there was an agent, a publisher, a wife, three little kids, probably some personal assistants, etc.  They kept that secret for years.

Stephen King is probably not too motivated by money – he’s got more of it than God – but it couldn’t hurt that there was a stack of cash involved.  So Stephen King’s motivation would be money – now and down the road – and his intense desire to Show Everybody.

Pure speculation, I know.  I was half-joking at first.  But then as I was writing, I figured I’d look up the writers of Lost, and cross reference their filmographies, see if they linked up with a bunch of Stephen King movies.

So the three writers are J.J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber, and Damon Lindelof.  I found no connections with Jeffrey Lieber, but when I checked Lindelof, I found this: 

The link reveals that J.J. Abrams bought the rights to Stephen King’s The Dark Tower  – a seven novel series which leaps around in time and space and parallel worlds, and whose villain is none other than Randall Flagg – also known as The Man In Black.

The first line of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is: “The Man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

Which reveals a very believable motivation for Stephen King’s collaboration on Lost.  It’s a believable motivation for Stephen King getting involved – because he’s going to use Lost to springboard his Dark Tower series to television. 

And it’s also a believable motivation for J.J. Abrams bringing Stephen King.  He bought the rights to a whole new show, while he was at it.  The Dark Tower is seven novels – it could be a LOT of shows.  And now he has a Lost spinoff which will hold onto the diehard viewers, and gain every Dark Tower fan in the world!

Yeah, but that was a few years ago, when they first made their secret deal.  Since then, JJ Abrams has sold the rights to Ron Howard, who is working directly with Stephen King.  They’re talking about making a television series and a movie trilogy, without Abrams.  My guess is, the reason that Abrams sold back the rights, was that he was not at all impressed with the crappy ending that Stephen King has provided, and is no longer interested in working with Stephen King. 

But I’ll bet the tie-in remains, and I’ll bet that Terry O’Quinn (the guy who plays Locke), will get cast as Randall Flagg/The Man In Black in The Dark Tower television series, and I’ll bet there’s a good chance that another Lost actor  – possibly Sawyer – gets cast as The Gunslinger.  That they literally end up on another parallel world in their last scenes, via one of the Island’s Wheels or Towers or Machines, and that The Man In Black will flee across a desert, the gunslinger following.

You heard it here first!

Or a simpler version is, the writers of this show admire Stephen King WAY too much.  Because I’m watching the show, and I feel like I’m reading a Stephen King book right now, and I’ve been plowing through it because I just have to know how it ends, but the pages are dwindling, and I’m starting to realize, there’s no way he’s wrapping this up.   He’s just going to take a little statue of a turtle, or a key carved out of wood, or a bunch of refrigerator magnets, or something mundane and he’s going to solemnly and mystically bestow upon it mystical powers, and it’s going to be like the Emperor’s New Clothes.

When you point out that it isn’t an answer and doesn’t make sense, the idea will be that you just didn’t get it.

But that’s not going to be it.  Right now, they’re spending an unbelievable amount of time telling me the geographic location of every single character, and then sliding the characters from one side of the board to the other, and I get from the preview for next week, that’s what’s going on.  Jacob and The Man In Black are playing a game, and the people are the pieces.

Maybe it’s God and the Devil.  I’ll just quote my twelve year old daughter on that possibility:  “Are you kidding, they’re not going to pull that crap are they?”

Why not just have them all blast out of the wardrobe, say they were in Narnia, call it a day?

I think a better end would be this:  The sideways timeline, caused by the atomic bomb, results in everybody getting back to the island and attempting to stop the atomic bomb, which causes the explosion of another atomic bomb.  And then the sideways timeline causes the regular timeline, which causes the sideways timeline, which locks everybody in a loop forever. 

Then Hurley does something cool, gets them all out of it.

I don’t know.  But I’m not going to count this Lost rant as a full day of Future Tom.  It’s just me freaking out.  Sometimes, I don’t have any idea what to write, and so earlier this week, this is what I started, freaking out about Lost.  I don’t know how I’m going to handle this horrible, horrible beating I’ve got coming at the hands Of JJ Abrams.  How could he do this to me?  I was defending him when people were sitting around in effing polar bear cages, when he took a whole season just to open the hatch door – and then didn’t show us what was in it – BECAUSE HE DIDN’T KNOW!

While I’m on the subject, you know why the Others were taking the kids in Season One?  Did they even tell us, I can’t remember.

They were taking kids because a whole year was going to go by before Season Two, and the kids would look a lot older then, and the characters weren’t going to age.

Like Hurley, not losing weight.  Hurly should lose weight, if Sawyer got to work out and suddenly show off his chest all the time.

And Mr. Eko?!  Did you know he left not because the script called for it, but because he decided to leave and they hadn’t nailed down his contract!  Maybe a DUI or something, I can’t remember, but how do you claim you had the story going the whole time, and then lop off a character and start wandering elsewhere?

I am going to systematically lose it for the next month.  If you see me out, wandering about, babbling, please put me in a cab or something.  Thanks for listening.


Posted by on May 5, 2010 in LOST, Television/Movies


2 responses to “The Stephen King-LOST Connection

  1. Gregory Wilcox

    May 5, 2010 at 10:47 pm



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