4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 all added together equal 108, the total of minutes left to enter those very numbers into the computer each time, and the number of days that the castaways spent on the island before the Oceanic Six were rescued.
Originally, Michael Emerson was only cast for a few episodes in season two. The producers were so impressed with his performance that they cast him as a regular and rewrote the part of Henry Gale/Ben to feature him more prominently.
The series began development in January 2004 when Lloyd Braun, then head of ABC, ordered a script that fused the concepts of the film Cast Away (2000) and the popular reality TV show Survivor (2000). Braun was unimpressed with the initial effort and the subsequent rewrite so he contacted J.J. Abrams, whose series Alias (2001) was a hit for the network. Although initially hesitant, Abrams gave it a go in collaboration with Damon Lindelof. Their script was greenlit, but because it had been commissioned so late in the 2004 development cycle it was under very tight deadlines. Ironically, before the pilot aired Lloyd Braun was sacked by ABC's parent company, Disney - for greenlighting such an expensive and risky project.
Season 1 has some similarities to William Golding's novel 'Lord of the Flies'. The novel's basic premise is that a plane crashes on a remote island and the only survivors is a group of schoolboys. The group eventually splits into two factions, one staying on the beach waiting for rescue, the other moving to a rocky area with designs on being on the island long-term. Just like the survivors in the early season, the boys in the novel try to maintain a signal fire in hopes of being rescued. One of the characters in the novel is named Jack, who is a leader of sorts but a much less sympathetic one (the character Jack in the TV series is more like the novel's Ralph). Also, there is a character similar to Hurley called Piggy, who is overweight and whose real name is never revealed (Hurley's real name Hugo is mentioned for the first time later on). The TV character John Locke resembles the novel's Simon. Also, in both stories there are rumors about a monster on the island.
After the character of Richard Alpert (played by Nestor Carbonell) was first introduced on the show, a furious internet debate arose about whether or not Carbonell was wearing eyeliner onscreen. Carbonell revealed on the Lost (2004) fifth season DVD extras that not only does he not wear eyeliner, mascara, or makeup of any kind to make his lashes and eyeline appear as dark as they do, but also the makeup artists for "Lost" actually use concealer on his lashes and under his eyes to try to tone down the natural darkness of his eyeline. He also said that the unusual appearance of his eyes caused him to get teased and bullied when he was a child. The writers, amused by the intensity of the debate, placed a reference to it in the series when Sawyer, who frequently applies nicknames to various characters, calls Alpert "eyeliner".
Of the six mysterious numbers, 23 is used the most. Kate gets turned in for $23,000; 23 people die when Hurley stepped on a platform/dock and it collapsed; flight 815's gate number is 23; Jack's seat number is 23; and the room number where the Dharma group do experiments is #23.
Hurley uses the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42 to win the lottery. During the season 1 finale, as Hurley drives to the airport, the numbers appear on the dashboard as the car stalls. Running to the gate, he passes a girl's soccer team with the same numbers on their uniform jerseys. They also appear on the hatch exterior and the vial Desmond uses for injection.
The part of Charlie was originally written for someone much older, but when Dominic Monaghan auditioned, the writers and producers loved him so much that they set about re-writing the part to Dominic's strengths.
The character of Sawyer was originally meant to be an older, slick, suit-wearing city con artist from Buffalo, NY. However, when Josh Holloway forgot a line at his audition and subsequently kicked a chair in frustration and loudly swore, the writers liked the edge he brought to the Sawyer character and decided to write Sawyer as more of a Southern, darker grifter instead.
John Locke was a 17th-century English philosopher who described the human being as "tabula rasa" - translated as "unwritten sheet" or "empty canvas" - at birth. It's obvious that the creators of the show were inspired by this when creating the character Locke.
Evangeline Lilly was one of the last actors to be cast for the show, but the fact that she is a Canadian citizen gave the producers concern that she might not be able to obtain the appropriate U.S. employment visa that would grant her permission to stay in the country long enough to shoot the entire series. They pushed back all of Kate's scenes when they were shooting the pilot, just to be sure that they could get the proper employment visa, a category "O-1" for "aliens of extraordinary ability in arts, science, education, business or athletics" for Lilly. As her body of work as an actor was not extensive at the time she was cast, they had a difficult time proving to the USCIS (formerly known as the INS) that Lilly was deserving of this classification as an "artist of extraordinary ability". It wasn't until they had shot almost every scene without the Kate character that she was finally granted the O-1 visa and signed on. That same day she was put on a plane in Canada and flown directly to Hawaii for the shooting.
Showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse told Entertainment Weekly magazine that the names of the characters Daniel Faraday and George Minkowski are references to the scientists Michael Faraday and Hermann Minkowski, respectively. Michael Faraday was a physicist and chemist who contributed to our understanding of electromagnetism, while his fictional namesake is a physicist whose experimental work had involved magnetism. Hermann Minkowski was a mathematician and experimental physicist whose work helped explain Einstein's special theory of relativity in the context of four dimensional space-time (which often figures in postulations and theories about how time travel might work), while his fictional namesake actually is a time traveler.
When Jin is at the house of the person he is meant to kill, Hurley is on the television behind him. If you look (extremely) carefully you can see that he is wearing the grey shirt that he is wearing when the television cameras show up at the petrol station later on in the series.
Josh Holloway was trying to cover up his Southern accent while shooting several of his first scenes in the first season. It wasn't until producer J.J. Abrams told him that the reason they cast him was BECAUSE of his accent that Holloway changed it. There are still some scenes left in the pilot where he doesn't use his Southern accent.
Originally, Michael Keaton was cast as Jack. In the first draft of the script Jack was to be killed by the monster after they arrived at the cockpit. ABC told the producers that they shouldn't kill off the hero so soon in the series and the script was changed. After the change, Michael Keaton backed out of the role since he did not want to commit to a regular series.
The basic premise of the series is very similar to one of the Tintin graphic novels, "Flight 714". In the novel, a substitute for flight 714 is hijacked and taken to a volcanic tropical island, where the characters discover underground architecture and tunnels, and face various threatening and surreal situations whilst carrying guns and taking / becoming hostages. In this series, the cast discover the hatches, arm themselves with guns, and get into similar hostage situations with the Others. Also, flight 714 was flying to Sydney, Australia - the departure of Oceanic Flight 815.
Dominic Monaghan originally auditioned for the role of Sawyer, who was originally supposed to be a suit-wearing city con man. The producers were so enthused by Monaghan that the part of Charlie was altered to accommodate him - Charlie was originally going to be a 45-year-old washed-up rock star.
On the show, there are places and/or objects that align closely to the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The original wonders (and their counterparts on Lost (2004)) are: 1) The Great Pyramid of Giza (the inner building inside The Others' Temple is a pyramid); 2) Hanging Gardens of Babylon (the Orchid Station houses a hanging garden); 3) Colossus of Rhodes (like the Rhodes Colossus, the large Statue of Taweret that once stood on the island was also a giant, oceanside monument); 4) Temple of Artemis (The Others' Temple); 5) Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (The resting place of "Adam and Eve"); 6) Statue of Zeus at Olympia (Statue of Taweret); 7) Lighthouse of Alexandria (Jacob's lighthouse).
In original drafts for the show, Rousseau's team of scientists were studying time. The network decided not to include it in the show, in case the viewers would think it too science fiction and stop watching.
In the original description for Kate, she was a slightly older woman separated from her husband, who went to the bathroom in the tail-section of the plane. However, that idea ended up being used for the character Rose.
ABC opted not to fly the intact N783DL to Hawaii first before dismantling it. Instead, ABC dispatched 40 production workers to Mojave to cannibalize and ship the aircraft pieces. Dismantling took about 5 days in February 2004.
The airplane pieces on the beach, depicting the doomed flight from Sydney, are the remnants of a Lockheed Tristar L-1011. She began service for Eastern Airlines (N308EA) in 1972 and was retired by Delta Airlines (N783DL) in 1998 having racked up a total of 28,822 landings and 58,841 flight-hours.
The shirt that Sawyer wears that has a fish on it is from an actual restaurant. One of the show's creators went to Humpy's in Alaska and liked the logo so much he wanted to use it on the show. They didn't get permission to use it until much later so they took the logo from the site and made their own. No one at Humpy's knew how it got onto the show until much later.
The very first scene filmed on the show was the one in the pilot episode when Charlie was confronted by Cindy, the flight attendant, seconds before the plane crashed. Kimberley Joseph who played Cindy, spoke the very first lines of the show's production.
In France, it is known as "Lost: Les Disparus". The additional French tag is due to a governmental ruling that imposes the use of French in all titles. "Les disparus" literally translates to "the missing people," but its other, connotative meaning is "the dead people."
The song played by Desmond in the final minutes before the islanders open the hatch is "Make Your Own Kind of Music" by 'Mama' Cass Elliot, and the song listened to by Juliet in season 3 is "Downtown" by Petula Clark. However, the CD case Juliet pulls the disc from is from Talking Heads "Speaking in Tongues" album.
Danielle Rousseau's name is a reference to Jean Jacques Rousseau, 18th century Enlightenment philosopher creator of the "good savage" theory, a view that defends that Man is born free and pure and is subsequently corrupted by society and "civilization"
The fictional show Exposé (where Nicky worked) is actually an inside-joke from the writer crew. Writers and producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz started to vaguely develop Exposé to switch off from the dense Lost universe.
Daniel Dae Kim, who is of Korean descent, played a character of Korean descent for the first time in his career. He had previously played Asian characters of other nationalities or characters of unspecified origin but not of his own heritage.
The number 42 is the last number in the series of mysterious numbers that is central to the plot. In The X-Files (1993) Agent Mulder saw Edward D. Wood Jr.'s Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) 42 times. He also lives in apartment #42. The number 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything from Douglas Adams' novel "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The full name of the character Charlotte Lewis (played by Rebecca Mader) is Charlotte Staples Lewis. She has the same initials, middle name, and last name as writer C.S. Lewis (writer of the "Chronicles of Narnia" novels). This is an allusion to the unpredictable nature of time on the island (such as the moving of the island and Ben's time jump). In the Narnia novels, a lamp post serves as a gateway to the magical land of Narnia, but people who go through always end up in a different time period in Narnia. There is a DHARMA station called The Lamp Post which serves a similar function with regard to the Island.
One of the key questions with the character Walt's casting were problems that arose concerning the proposed time line on the show. While the series moves slowly through time and only weeks have passed on the show, the actual filming has stretched over two years. When originally cast, Walt was portrayed as a 10-year-old boy but, after two seasons, he no longer looked 10. The show's writers dealt with this at the end of season two, by sending Michael and Walt away from the island toward supposed rescue. Walt reappeared in season 4, but in scenes that play three years further into the show's time line, so that he had aged appropriately by then.
In a 2004 interview, show co-creator Damon Lindelof said that the character of Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) was heavily inspired by the character of Larry Underwood in Stephen King's novel 'The Stand' (made into the miniseries The Stand (1994)). Both characters are "one hit wonder" rock stars; both are significant survivors of a catastrophic event that kills the majority of the others involved; both are drug addicts who kick their habits during the story; and finally, both die in the course of sacrificing themselves for their friends and the greater good.
The character of Jeremy Bentham who was referred to during the flash forwards in season four turned out to be an alias for John Locke. Like John Locke, Jeremy Bentham is also the name of an English philosopher.