Sci Fi TV Trifles: Jack Shephard Almost Died in the Pilot Episode of Lost

By | August 6, 2016

The Jack Shephard character from Lost–played by Matthew Fox–has become one of the most recognized faces from that series and his portrayal of the troubled doctor is often seen as one of the strengths of the overall story arc. But did you know that the original plan had Jack Shephard getting killed in the pilot episode?

(Er . . . Non-Spoiler Alert?)

lost-jack-shepherdLost broke much new ground for television as the creative team decided to use this show to push the boundaries of network Prime Time viewing and deliver intricate stories with twists and turns that the audience would not expect. And one of the first of those twists was planned for the opening episode. As the pilot unfolded with the story of these survivors of Flight 815 on a mysterious island that had many secrets and dangers yet to be revealed, the character of Jack Shephard immediately emerged as a focal point and the unofficial leader of the passengers. This was intentional to have the audience identify with him as the series lead, but then the writers planned on pulling out the rug and killing him off to demonstrate that any character could die at any moment on the show. J.J. Abrams originally wanted Michael Keaton to play the role when it was thought that he would exit after the pilot, but ABC pushed hard to change the fate of Jack Shephard fearing that this would quickly turn the audience against the show early on. Thus Keaton was never approached to play the role and it eventually went to Matthew Fox. The only survivor from the front section of the plane, the pilot (played by Greg Grunberg who would star in Heroes two years later), suffered the fate originally intended for Shepherd. And this may be another one of those rare instances where network intervention actually proved beneficial as Lost would have been a very different series without Matthew Fox as Jack Shephard providing the focal point that would carry the show through six seasons.

Sci-Fi-TriflesSci Fi Trifles:  Useless but essential pop culture tidbits and trivia from the worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Did you know that Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski wrote a proposal for a Star Trek reboot years before the J.J. Abrams movies came out? Did you know that Han Solo was originally supposed to be a green-skinned alien and some of the early actors considered for the role included Billy Dee Williams, Al Pacino, and Chevy Chase? How about that FOX originally wanted someone more like Pamela Anderson to play the roll of Scully on The X-Files? Or that in 1974, science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke predicted the Internet? Ever hear of Varney the Vampire?

Find out the truths about these and more in Sci Fi Trifles.  Trivia, anecdotes, little known nuggets and more that present an addicting glimpse into the story behind the story of sci fi. Once you’ve started reading them you will wonder how you have managed to live so long without knowing them!

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