The sixteen-episode fourth season of the US serial drama television series Lost will begin airing in February 2008 and will conclude (pending resolution of the WGA Strike) in May 2008. It continues the stories of a group of more than forty people who have been stranded on a remote island in the South Pacific, after their airplane crashed ninety-three days prior to the beginning of the season, while they are assailed by a group of dangerous island inhabitants they call the "Others" and attempt to escape the mysterious island. Episodes will continue to feature secondary storylines showing points in characters' lives before and after their time on the island.
The series is produced by ABC Studios, Bad Robot Productions and Grass Skirt Productions and will be aired on the American Broadcasting Company Network in the U.S. Co-creator/executive producer/head writer Damon Lindelof and executive producer/writer Carlton Cuse serve as the show runners. The show is primarily filmed in Hawaii with post-production in Los Angeles.
Filming on location Oahu, Hawaii, USA began on August 17, 2007 and halted on November 21, due to the strike. Sixteen episodes will be produced in total, with the season finale being twice the length of a normal episode. In response to complaints from fans about reruns, the season will run with one new episode per week for sixteen weeks in early 2008. Cuse has stated that doing a sixteen episode season, instead of a twenty-four episode season as had been previously done, will give the crew less pressure and more creative freedom to produce higher quality content. E! reports that ABC insiders have said that the completed fourth season episodes are "crazy good" and will "even satisfy the haters." The early third season aired on Wednesdays at 9:00 pm, while the second part of the season was aired at 10:00, in an effort to boost ratings. Lost ended up losing viewers and ABC may return Lost to an earlier timeslot, such as Mondays at 8:00, with the hope of regaining the family audience. With the success of the three new primetime series currently airing on Wednesdays, ABC's president plans called Lost a "wildcard asset" that will likely move to another day. While the fourth season will premiere on television sometime during the week of February 4, 2008, the world premiere of the fourth season of Lost is scheduled for February 2, 2008 outdoors at Sunset on the Beach in Waikiki, Honolulu, where movies are regularly shown on a 30-foot screen free to the public. Advertisements for the season will play in movie theatres—a first for the series.
The Writers Guild of America went on strike on November 4, 2007, which will result in a lack of new episodes for many series. As Lost writers began work on the fourth season in late June 2007, Lost is one of the few series expected to continue airing new episodes during the strike. The script coordinator has said that the eighth episode's ending is very shocking and will serve as something of a finale as it was the last to be completely written before the strike began. While the show runners want to hold the eight episodes until they are able to produce more of the season because the eighth episode's cliffhanger, which they wrote, is not enough to end a season on, ABC has decided that the eight episodes will be aired from February to March, regardless of whether any more episodes are produced in the 2007-2008 television season. Despite picketing on most days, Cuse, a member of the WGA negotiating committee, is continuing to oversee post-production.
The executive producers are co-creator J.J. Abrams, Lindelof, Bryan Burk, Jack Bender, and Cuse. The staff writers are Lindelof, Cuse, Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, co-executive producer Drew Goddard, supervising producer Elizabeth Sarnoff, co-producer Brian K. Vaughan and executive story editor Christina M. Kim. The regular directors are Bender and co-executive producer Stephen Williams.
Despite his importance in the previous season and the mysteries surrounding his ageless character, recurring guest star Nestor Carbonell will likely not return to reprise the role of Richard Alpert soon, as he is now starring on CBS's new show, Cane. The producers had hoped that Harold Perrineau, a former main cast member who had been absent since the second season finale, would return for the third season finale, but he was busy with the pilot for CBS' Demons. Since Demons was not picked up, Perrineau signed a full fourth season contract of Lost. Cynthia Watros was given star billing in the second season, however, she became the first starring actress to not receive an episode with flashbacks from her character's perspective as she was killed off late in the season, although she did appear in a few flashbacks of other characters' episodes. While a flashback episode was originally planned for Watros's character in the second season, it did not happen. It was then stated that Watros would appear in flashbacks throughout the third season, but this also failed to happen. The writers have now said that Watros's character's mysterious backstory needs to be revealed through multiple flashbacks of a new character who was not aboard Oceanic Flight 815 and will be introduced in the fourth season.
There will be at least five new recurring guest stars in the fourth season. Fake names and fake occupations have been temporarily assigned to the characters during casting to limit the leak of credible spoilers on the Internet. Rebecca Mader was then cast as "successful academic" "Charlotte," due in part to her English accent. After seeing Ken Leung guest star on HBO's The Sopranos, Lindelof and Cuse wrote a part for him. The producers had hoped to audition Lance Reddick for the second season starring role of Mr. Eko, however, he was busy on HBO's The Wire. For the fourth season, he was cast as "ruthless corporate recruiter" "Arthur Stevens." Jeremy Davies was cast because he is one of the producers' favourite film character actors. Jeff Fahey joined the cast, with Cuse commending his "intense eyes." Fahey is currently sporting a beard and as of the end of August 2007, the producers have not decided whether or not they want him to shave it off. Singer Azure McCall is also guest starring. Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu has been approached to guest star in the fourth season. Kristen Bell, best known for eponymously starring on the CW's Veronica Mars, spoke to the producers about having a part, however, no role was offered to her.
Guest star and friend of Abrams, Greg Grunberg, who played Flight 815's pilot, will reprise his role. Guest star Fionnuala Flanagan, who portrayed Ms. Hawking will return sometime to the show, possibly during the fourth season. The same applies to Sonya Walger's character Penny Widmore and Andrew Divoff's dead character Mikhail Bakunin. The producers have said that deceased former main character Charlie Pace, played by Dominic Monaghan, will likely appear in flashbacks, possibly during the fourth season. Rodrigo Santoro, who played the late Paulo, has expressed that he would enjoy returning to work on Lost in flashbacks or dreams. It was confirmed in early December that multiple deceased characters will reappear on Lost in the fourth season.
The season features thirteen major roles with star billing, making it the third largest ensemble cast in the 2006-2007 television season behind ABC's Desperate Housewives and NBC's Heroes. The following main characters are briefly summarized and ordered by number of prior episode appearances. Matthew Fox stars as doctor Jack Shephard, the leader of the castaways. Evangeline Lilly stars as fugitive Kate Austen, who is unsure if she loves Jack or Sawyer more. Josh Holloway portrays the sardonic con-man James "Sawyer" Ford, while Jorge Garcia's character Hurley Reyes serves as the show's comic relief. Terry O'Quinn plays John Locke, an alienated survivor with a deep connection to the island. Naveen Andrews acts as Sayid Jarrah, a former Iraqi Republican Guard. Daniel Dae Kim plays non-English speaking Jin Kwon, the son of a fisherman, with Yunjin Kim as Jin's English-speaking pregnant wife Sun. Emilie de Ravin portrays single new mother Claire Littleton. Perrineau returns as single father Michael Dawson, after he and his son escaped the island after cutting a deal with the Others, which included killing two of his fellow castaways. Michael Emerson acts as Ben Linus, a high-ranking manipulative Other and Henry Ian Cusick plays Desmond Hume, a man who can see flashes of the future. Elizabeth Mitchell portrays Juliet Burke, an Other of three years who is trying to escape the island and is romantically involved with Jack.
The show always features a number of guest stars. The following have been confirmed by the producers to appear during the season. Sam Anderson will return as Flight 815 survivor Bernard Nadler. Recurring character Danielle Rousseau, portrayed by Mira Furlan, may be given a flashback episode, however, this may be delayed until the fifth season. Little is known about the recurring characters who will be played by Davies, Fahey, Leung, Mader and Reddick.
Special guest stars are actors and actresses who were once given star billing, but due to a character's death or escape from the island, now appear on occasion. First season main cast member Malcolm David Kelley will return again to play Michael's son, Walt Lloyd. Watros will appear in flashbacks as Hurley's murdered girlfriend Libby.
The third season's conclusion is set on December 23, 2004. The crash survivors made contact with what they think is a freighter off the coast of the island. Meanwhile, the war between the Others and the survivors came to its climax which saw several of the Others killed.
The producers have entered radio silence to limit the leak of spoilers, which have previously included detailed episode synopses. The producers also want to let fans speculate about the revelations and mysteries of the previous season. Not much is known about season four and most of what is known was revealed at San Diego's Comic-Con International 2007, where Lindelof, Cuse and Perrineau answered fan questions.
It has been hinted that there is no boat coming to the island; however, whoever is coming to the island is "a lot worse" than the Others. What happened between Ben and the real Henry Gale and how Ben was caught in Rousseau's trap on the survivors' fifty-eighth day will be explained. The four-toed statue will be addressed. Whether or not Kate is pregnant with a baby from Sawyer will be revealed in the first four episodes. What happened in the Hatch during its implosion will be explored. The fate of Sun and her unborn child will be made clear. How Libby wound up in the mental institution will be shown. What happened to Ben's childhood friend Annie will be revealed. More will be seen of the authoritative Other Jacob. Ben, Locke, Hurley, Sawyer, Sayid, Bernard and Desmond will go to Flight 815's cockpit. Episodes will continue to feature flashbacks, in addition to flashforwards, which have revealed that Jack and Kate escape the island; however, a depressed Jack believes it to be a mistake. This season is apparently scarier and more violent than previous seasons. There will be more deaths, some of which take place in flashforwards.