LINDELOF: For Henry Gale, we knew that they were going to capture an Other. We knew that he was going to pretend to be someone else. And the idea was that after two episodes we would find out that he was lying and he would escape. But as soon as we cast Michael Emerson and saw the first dailies of him we said, "All right, this two-episode plan just became a seven-episode plan."
And then it was like we'll bounce him off Locke, we'll bounce him off Eko, we'll bounce him off Jack, he'll begin to manipulate them. And it was like it all became incredibly compelling television just by virtue of the actor that we had cast.
CUSE: And the same thing was true with Desmond. There was a plan for Desmond and Desmond has sort of an arc throughout the overall mythology of the show. But we fell in love with Henry Ian Cusick and we loved what he was doing and we just wanted to tell more of his story as storytellers. So we just sort of expanded the amount of Desmond's story that became a part of the world of "Lost."
TAPPER: What hasn't been such a happy accident?
LINDELOF: Kate's plane is probably the biggest single biggest regret that we have as storytellers. The idea was, we introduced in an episode where in her flashback she's holding up a bank essentially to get into a safety deposit box. On the island she's trying to get the marshal's case. And the payoff in both stories is all she cared about was this little plane which sort of set up for the audience the idea that this plane was going to have a huge payoff later in the mythology of the show. Is there microfilm inside this, what is the significance of the plane?
Our intention was always that there be a second flashback story that revealed that that plane was part of a time capsule that she shared with a childhood sweetheart. She was responsible for the childhood sweetheart's death when she was on the run and, therefore, the plane had great emotional investment. And we would hear "What's up with the plane? What's going on with the plane? When are you going to pay off on the plane?" Then we paid it off and people still are asking us. So in the finale that year the marshal gives this big sort of monologue about, "You want to know about this f--ing plane? I'll tell you, God damn it!"
TAPPER: How much does the network interfere with what you guys want to do?
CUSE: You know, look, the network is in the best case a litmus test for ideas.
ABRAMS: We love the network.
TAPPER: Me, too.
ABRAMS: The network is our friend.
LINDELOF: The network is always right.
CUSE: They've been incredibly supportive of what we've done here. We went in to Steve McPherson, the head of ABC, and we said, "OK, when we go inside the hatch there's going to be this guy down there and he's pushing a button every 108 minutes because he thinks he's saving the world." And he said, "That sounds cool." I mean what more could you ask for out of a network executive than that?
But then they also say, "So what happens if he stops pushing the button?" And primarily our dialogue with the network is they want to know where we're going with things. And in that way they do serve as a great litmus test because you can't throw arbitrary things up against the wall.