It’s been over five years since Lost’s finale bowed to either unfettered adoration or an expletive-filled stream of WTF! OMG! WERE THEY DEAD THE WHOLE TIME? I JUST WASTED YEARS OF MY LIFE! (Us? We liked it, but still have a few complaints.)
Now, that very episode, "The End," is causing controversy once again. Fans recently noticed that the version of the finale streaming on Netflix is approximately 18 minutes shorter than the 104-minute cut that aired on ABC.
Before you exhume your notebook full of theories about polar bears and smoke monsters, nothing was completely removed. Instead, a number of smaller edits were made throughout. (There's a Reddit thread dedicated to nailing down exactly what was left out, if that’s your thing.)
Still, co-creator Damon Lindelof says he’s “totally befuddled” by the ordeal.
“Love it or hate it, the finale that aired is the definitive finale and to alter it in any way defies explanation,” he said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. “Something tells me that this isn’t Netflix’s fault ... That it’s an honest mistake and something got miscommunicated.”
Lindelof, who now oversees The Leftovers on HBO, isn’t just giving Netflix an easy out. He has a theory (albeit one far less intriguing than anything about Walt’s magical powers).
“I seem to remember ABC had to make an edit for rerun airings that tightened the show into ‘format’ (42 minutes to accommodate commercials), and somehow that mistakenly got sent to Netflix,” he recalled. “This sometimes happened with our finales -- we’d ask for extra time and ABC would agree to air, but then we had to do another tighter version for subsequent airings and/or international. We usually left these (painful) cuts to the discretion of our editors…but as the show lives on in DVD form and on Netflix, there is ZERO reason to have the shorter version out there…This is a fix that needs to happen, so at least people can love or hate it in its entirety. Also, Deckard is a replicant.”
Rest assured, Lindelof and Lost fans alike, you will soon be able to relive the entirety of the finale -- for better or worse. A Netflix spokesperson tells ET, “We're aware of the issue and are in the process of correcting it,” adding that they are working directly with Disney, which owns ABC.
The show's other creator, Carlton Cuse, has since tweeted his thanks:
As for whether the Lost team might someday take another crack at the finale themselves, you'll likelier win the lottery using 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42. “I have no intention of ‘changing’ nor Special Editioning the finale,” he concluded. “We continue to stand by it.”
(It goes without saying, but don’t use those lotto numbers. For your safety.)
In other TV news, Kirstie Alley says she's up for a Cheers reunion -- but only under these specific conditions: