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Lost - Causality edit ideas


Warning: I’m going in-depth on Lost events and timelines here, so if you’re watching it now or still want to watch it, look out for spoilers!

I’ve recently been getting into Chronologically LOST for the first time after many ‘normal’ Lost rewatches and I found it’s a really rewarding way to rewatch the series sequentially without flashbacks or flashforwards intercut. Especially the on-island parts flowing immediately into the Oceanic 6 storyline of them leaving the Island. Hopefully some fellow Lost nerds can give me some feedback on this idea!

While I appreciated the work done on this project very much, I didn’t really dig the way the time traveling in season 5 was handled. At the end of season 4 (December 2004 in-universe), Ben turns the wheel for the first time and the characters get split up into on-islanders and off-islanders, in differing locations and timelines. The on-islanders first go through a series of 14 timeskips and end up stuck in 1974 when Locke turns the wheel for the second time and stops the timeskips. The off-islanders leave the island just as Ben turns the wheel for the first time in December 2004, end up getting rescued as the Oceanic 6 and live their life between 2004 and 2007 off-island. That is, until Locke shows up in 2007 after turning the wheel for the second time (which stops the timeskips), and starts trying to get them back to the island. Both of these on- and off-islander timelines eventually match up again at the end of season 5, when the bomb is detonated, which propels the on-islanders back from 1977 to 2007 again, where everyone is once again in the same sequential timeline.

The way this time traveling is handled in Chronologically Lost is that the 14 timeskips and the part in 1974-1977 is, of course, shown pretty much in the beginning since it happens chronologically. But my problem was that from the perspective of the characters, those events happen between 2004 and 2007. For instance; the first episode of Chronologically Lost first shows the earliest flashback in the Jacob/MiB episode, and all of a sudden it switches to the earliest timeskip where Locke turns the wheel for the second time and Charlotte dies. Then we only meet Charlotte much later on, when she originally shows up in season 4.

So I had the idea to try to re-edit Chronologically Lost to something where the characters’ causality is more or less kept in tact, while still showing most events chronologically. So in my opinion, it mostly comes down to rearranging the events from season 5 to show up later, so they match up with the timeline of the characters, in stead of the timeline of the universe of the show. So all the flashbacks are still shown early, when they actually happened in that time for the characters, without time travel involved. Which is mostly the MiB, Jacob and Richard stuff, and then going on to all the other flashbacks.

Roughly it comes down to this:

  • MiB/Jacob earliest flashbacks

  • Richard flashbacks

  • all other flashbacks and early years of the characters

  • oceanic 815 flight crash (2004)

  • all on-island events up until Ben turns the wheel (as well as The Constant episode where Desmond mentally time travels, so the parts where he flashes to 1996 don’t show up earlier with the ‘normal’ flashbacks of the other characters)

  • Ben turns the wheel, the island moves and the timeline gets split into two sections:
    – on-islanders: 14 timeskips until they end up in 1974 and live there until 1977
    – off-islanders: Oceanic 6 storyline 2004-2007 where they leave and eventually come back in Ajira 316, land on the island and all events on-island in 2007 until fake-Locke manipulates Ben to kill Jacob

  • The Incident happens, the bomb is detonated in 1977 and the 1977 characters get back to 2007 and there is 1 timeline again

  • all normal season 6 events happen until Jack closes his eye

  • New Man in Charge epilogue

  • flash-sideways events

I would think this is a much easier to follow chronology since you follow along the characters and experience events in their timelines, as they experience them. And so mostly keeping intact causality.

All in all, this wouldn’t require that much effort since Chronologically Lost already did most of the heavy lifting. It would mostly consist of finding and editing out all the timeskips from season 5, as well as Desmond’s mental timeskips in season 4. And then work up a good order of events between the moment Ben turns the wheel at the end of season 4 and the moment the bomb goes off at the end of season 5.

While thinking about how to order this, I think I ran into two issues:

  1. Ajira 316 in-flight flashes: This is where Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sayid vanish from the Ajira flight and end up in 1977. So essentially, they move from the off-islanders section to the on-islanders section. The question would be which event to show first; them disappearing from the off-islanders section or them appearing in the on-islanders section.
  2. John Locke: He is a special case, since he leaves the island at the end of the timeskips and ends up in the desert in 2007. So essentially, Locke moves from the on-islanders section to the off-islanders section. The question here is also which event to show first; Locke turning the wheel and disappearing from the on-islanders section or Locke appearing in the desert in the off-islanders section.

These two issues conflict each other. Since if you show the off-islanders section first, you would correctly see Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sayid vanish from the Ajira flight first, and later appear again in the on-islanders section. But then you would see Locke appearing all of a sudden in the off-islanders section first, and only later seeing him leaving the island in the on-islanders section. Thus, Locke’s causality would be incorrect. And if you show the on-islanders first, it would be the other way around and Jack’s, Kate’s, Hurley’s and Sayid’s causality would be incorrect. Because you would see them appear in 1977 all of a sudden, and only later seeing them vanish from the Ajira flight in 2007.

I think I found a way to avoid this, which would require extra time flashes which could be confusing, but it would keep causality intact. It would look like this roughly:

  • Ben turns the wheel and the island moves
  • all 14 timeskips until Locke turns the wheel for the second time, stops the timeskips and leaves the island
  • flash to Ben turning the wheel again
  • all off-island events with Oceanic 6 leaving and Locke appearing in the desert -> return flight Ajira 316 (Jack/Kate/Hurley/Sayid vanishing from Ajira) -> on-island events in 2007 until fake-Locke manipulates Ben to kill Jacob (end of season 5)
  • flash to Locke turning the wheel for the second time and stopping the timeskips again
  • all 1974-1977 events in Dharmaville -> Jack/Kate/Hurley/Sayid showing up in 1977 -> all events until the bomb is detonated in 1977 and everyone time travels back to 2007
  • ‘regular’ season 6 events where everyone is back in one timeline in 2007, just after Jacob is killed

Any Lost fans here that could give me some feedback or suggestions on this in general, or specifically on my solution to the two issues of the Ajira flash and Locke?

It would be a really fun project for me to put together since I’m really interested in film editing and would like to teach myself a bit about it and get comfortable with the software. Also, it wouldn’t take that much time relatively since Chronologically Lost already did most of the work. But still, it of course would take some time for me to do since I’m still mostly a noob when it comes to video editing.

I do have some basic experience with editing and I’m generally pretty tech-savvy with different programs and software. Which software would be recommended to use for me on this project? Something more professional like Davinci Resolve or something more simple like Openshot, Hitfilm or Shotcut?