Early, tells where he was coming from ... Buffy and Angel, Joss Whedon.
After Fury left the show and went to work on 24.
Excerpting portions .... but read it all.
Lostpedia: What are your thoughts about the evolution of Locke's character since you wrote “Walkabout"? Are there things that surprised you? Would you have done anything different?
It’s difficult for me to comment on Locke’s “evolution,” since I wasn’t able to watch the show regularly after the second season. Only saw a few episodes of Season 3, and none of Season 4 (though I hear the latter’s been consistently great). The only thing I will say is that Locke was the most interesting character to write, because of the complexities of his psyche.
Despite what was revealed in: “Walkabout”, he could, and possibly should, have remained more of an enigma. After a while, all the mystery and potential menace was stripped from him, in favor of the Others. One thing I might have done differently -- I probably would not have focused so much on Locke’s “father issues” since that was the focal point of Jack’s flashbacks and motivations.
Lostpedia: How much of the Monster’s mythology were you made aware of when writing “Walkabout”?
There was no mythology to speak of in place during the early episodes of the series. We were building it as we went along, discussing possibilities. Metaphorically, the monster was just the great unknown threat, the imminent danger around the corner that potentially haunts us all… Some thought of it as a monster of the id, much like in Forbidden Planet -- that maybe it appeared differently to everyone who saw it.
The most tangible thought, as explained later by Rousseau, was that it functioned as a security system set up by the island’s creators/early residents… whatever we later decided the answer was. For Locke, clearly, the monster was the “soul” of the island that was responsible for his “miracle.”
Lostpedia: The Whispers featured right at the end of “Solitary”. Do you know what they are?
I can’t tell you what they are now, but I can tell you what they WERE. They were supposed to be the Others, lurking in the jungle. At that time, we hadn’t yet settled on what the Others would be. Since they were undefined, I had imagined they were going to be more feral, gone native… One might say “Reaver-ish.” (I wouldn’t, but one might.) I just didn’t imagine they were going to be spirit-gum, fake beard wearing, boat driving, faux hillbillies... as done in the season finale. My bad.
Lostpedia: Is the black smoke intended to be interpreted that Smokey has a sinister nature?
Ya got me.
Lostpedia: Was time-travel ever mentioned while you worked on “Lost”? Do you know how long the idea has existed?
There was an exchange (pitched by J.J. when he and I broke the story) in an early draft of “Solitary” when Rousseau tells Sayid she had been part of a research team. Sayid asks her what they were researching. She replies: “Time.” The network saw that draft and asked us to remove the line. They were very timid about anything that smacked of Sci-Fi during the first season. I can only assume they’ve come around.
Lostpedia: Speaking of the Numbers, who came up with them? What is their origin, and why those numbers rather than others? Whose decision was it to drop in references to these numbers in subsequent episodes as easter eggs for the fans?
J.J., Damon and I met at some restaurant on our day off to break that episode. Hurley winning the lottery was Damon’s idea. But I believe the “Numbers” and their importance was J.J.’s. When I started writing the episode, I already figured to use numbers that had been heard on the show… 4 (number of years Locke was in wheelchair); 8, 15 (Flight 815), etc.
When I confirmed my number choices with Damon, I was still missing the last number. I had thought to make it “42” (an homage to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Answer to the Ultimate Question). When Damon had the same idea, that clinched it. It was my idea to have the numbers engraved on the hatch at the end of the episode. After that, I can only assume Damon is the easter egg dropper.