How The Big Sky Pilot Fulfills ABC’s “Lost” Promise With Ryan Phillippe’s Character


This is a really daring twist for any community drama to take. Ryan Phillippe is an enormous identify discover and appeared poised to recapture his mid-’90s teen throb thunder because the stoic male lead of this sure-to-be in style drama. And but, Kelley and his workforce of writers determine to remain true to the present’s novel supply materials (The Highway by C.J. Box) and kill off their ostensible lead in stunning, sudden style. 

Introducing a big-name actor solely to kill them off within the early goings will not be unheard of in popular culture. Several basic horror films have discovered success with the method as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho killed Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) early on and Wes Craven’s Scream did the identical with Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore). On tv, nonetheless, the act of killing a protagonist off in pilots in a rarity – probably as a result of pilots are very precarious issues and nobody desires to threat alienating an viewers earlier than they even have one. Shows like The Shield, Oz, and Watchmen have all killed main characters early on…however not the main character. One basic community drama from the previous, nonetheless, got here actually shut and the writers have been discouraged from doing so from the exact same community on which Big Sky now resides. 

The pilot for ABC’s Lost premiered on Sept. 22, 2004 and it was a right away, huge success. The two-part episode was the costliest pilot ever produced on the time. It centered on heroic spinal surgeon Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) as he wakes up on an island after a airplane crash and instantly jumps into motion to verify his fellow survivors are protected. Lost was a big, formidable present with a sprawling forged. For these first two hours, nonetheless, Jack serves because the viewers’s anchor. By the top of the pilot’s first hour, Jack and a few fellow castaways uncover the airplane’s cockpit deep within the jungle and inside it a still-living pilot (Greg Grunberg). As the pilot croaks out what occurred with the doomed flight, an unseen monster rips him from his seat and eviscerates him offscreen. After the chaos has died down, Jack and mates discover the pilot’s mangled physique excessive up in a tree.

It’s a stunning second to make certain, but when pilot writers and Lost producers J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof had their means, it may have been much more stunning. The duo’s authentic plan for the pilot was for none aside from Jack to be the one to be kidnapped and annihilated by the monster. It would have been his bloody physique that viewers noticed on high of a tree and never Greg Grunberg’s. Under this plan, Jack would have been performed by a bigger-named actor (Michael Keaton later confirmed that he was in talks to play the doomed physician). After Jack’s demise, the present would heart on the character of Kate Austen (performed by Evangeline Lily), a middle-aged girl who misplaced her husband within the crash (this character description got here to be utilized to long-lost lovers Rose and Bernard and Kate grew to become a fugitive)

Abrams and Lindelof’s plans have been foiled when ABC stepped in to softly level out that getting viewers invested in a lead character solely to kill him off minutes later in all probability wasn’t the easiest way to construct an viewers. The duo concurred, saved Jack alive, and the character continued because the collection’ de facto protagonist right through to the top. It’s laborious to argue that holding Jack round wasn’t for the higher because it arrange a battle between his “man of science” perspective and John Locke’s “man of faith” that may function a microcosm for all of the themes the collection explored.

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