Stephen King is an American author best known for his popular horror novels, many of which have become bestsellers. Ever since the Lost producers mentioned King as an influence during Season 1, there have been many speculative connections of King and his work to the world of Lost. These rumors have become a very controversial and puzzling aspect to the show after the introduction of the Others, specifically Ben, in Season 2. In October 2005, King signed with Marvel comics to write an expanded edition of his Dark Tower epic. His illustrator for this series is coincidentally named Jae Lee, the name of a flashback character in Lost.
Early in The Lost Experience, many fans hypothesized that the Lost tie-in novel Bad Twin was ghost authored by King. This theory was later dismissed when Laurence Shames was revealed to be its true author.
King's references to Lost
As King's television mini-series Kingdom Hospital came to an end, King made note that the show's failure in ratings could be due in large to the increase of quality T.V.. Just as he did, Lost aired as another suspense drama similar to Kingdom Hospital with great success. Stephen King's praise over the genre-similar show and his past success is taken as possible involvement with the producers or writers of Lost.
From 2003 to 2011, King provided his take on pop culture in a column that appeared on the back page of Entertainment Weekly. The column was called "The Pop Of King", a reference to "The King of Pop", Michael Jackson. Stephen has made numerous references to Lost and gives it constant praise, further fueling speculation about King's influence on the show. He seems to be particularly fond of Hurley. His comments on the show since it's 2004 premiere appear below:
- 11/11/04 Entertainment Weekly - King wrote about what he is thankful for.
- 7/21/05 Entertainment Weekly - King gave 20+ reasons to love pop culture. King's fascination with Hurley's character began here.
- 9/2/05 Entertainment Weekly - King issued a challenge to Lost execs: End the show when you've told the story — even if ratings are still strong (this motivation has since been noted by the producers as well, suggesting an even stronger influence by King).
- 10/21/05 Entertainment Weekly - King advised readers on how to get into the Halloween mood. From what to watch to what to listen to, The Pop of King offered up some suggestions.
- 12/9/05 Entertainment Weekly - King gave his "picks for the best movies of 2005". He rationalized that an increase in quality television had something to do with the lack of Hollywood success.
- 1/13/06 Entertainment Weekly - Stephen King pondered Lost and Veronica Mars conundrums and another Hurley reference finds its way into the writing.
- 5/25/06-A post appeared on the message board of The Official Stephen King Website. It asked:
I can not get away from the comparisons of many of your works as they pertain to the Lost series and the ARG. We have Twins and Sawer and Jack and strange names in general. Plus an airplane ...which was important in th eDark tower as well as Insomnia. I’m just wondering if I’m perhaps on to something...not as if you’d tell me if I were....but it never hurts to ask. Perhaps I’m just needing a new "Stephen King" fix. LOL
The response from the moderator was:
Stephen is a fan of LOST but not a contributor. I’m guessing the writers of LOST are also Stephen King fans.
- 5/26/06-Another post appeared on the message board of The Official Stephen King Website. It asked:
I heard a rumor about the book "Bad Twin" (connected to the "Lost" Tv series) having possibly been written by ze King. Anyone knows anything that could confirm or deny this?
This theory was also debunked by the moderator.
- On page 416 of Lisey's Story (released fall of 2006), King writes that Scott Landon books were read by people stuck on airplanes between L.A. and Sydney as a reference to Oceanic Airlines. In the book Lisey's Story, there is a parallel universe, where the character goes to drink from the pool. The universe is island-like, and it is a good place in the day and a bad place at night. Some who go there can return to the "real universe," others cannot ever return. There is a creature called the "Long Boy" that is similar to the smoke in Lost.
- 12/13/07 Entertainment Weekly - King issued his top five TV shows in 2007, and Lost was no. 1. He remarked:
Still the best. I rewatched the entire third season to make sure, and — yes — still the best. Heroes just doesn't have its mythic grandeur. People are reaching for the stars here. And maybe beyond. Really, there's never been anything like it.
- Duma Key (released January of 2008)
- Page 450 - King references both 'The X-Files' and 'Lost' as reasons why a character is quick to accept the mysterious happenings on Duma Key.
- Under the Dome (released November of 2009)
- Page 159 - A character refers to God as "He who traveled as a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night," a description used in the Bible.
- Page 285 - A character is thinking "What did the Scottish guy say on Lost? 'Don't mistake coincidence for fate?'"
- Page 694 - King refers to a show called The Hunted Ones being a sequel to "Lost".
Lost's references to King
One of the Others holding Stephen King's Carrie at The Book Club's meeting.
- Ben (as "Henry Gale") asks Locke if he has any Stephen King when he brings him a copy of The Brothers Karamazov to read, in "Maternity Leave".
- The side of The Balloon has a decal reading Minnesota Metallurgy Mining Co. Under that are the words "Proudly Sponsored By" with decals for Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack and some sort of cola, possibly Nozz-A-La, a famous fake brand popularized in Stephen King's Dark Tower series and the TV miniseries Kingdom Hospital.
- Sawyer refers to Jack as "hoss" numerous times in the series. This term is also frequented by Paul Edgecomb's unpleasant employee, Brad Dolan, in The Green Mile novel. Hoss, in both instances, is also a reference to Hoss Cartwright in the series Bonanza.
- In "A Tale of Two Cities", Juliet's book club is reading Carrie by Stephen King. In the first scene the book club discusses its merits (or lack thereof). Juliet claims that it's one of her all-time favorite books although Ben and Adam appear to disagree. Carrie, King's first published novel, is essentially told in flashback through court papers, newspaper articles, and assorted writings that try to unravel the series of events that occurred on one fateful night of decimation. By season 3's end, Juliet has essentially become Carrie to the Others, personally responsible for at least 13 Other deaths.
- In "A Tale of Two Cities", a copy of King's Hearts in Atlantis is displayed on Jack's office bookshelf.
- A scene from "Every Man for Himself", in which Ben shows Sawyer a rabbit with the number 8 on its back is an obvious reference to one of King's writing exercises in his nonfiction book On Writing. It's interesting to note that this connection originated on a fan-made website called Marvincandle.com.
- In the Season 3 finale "Through the Looking Glass,", Jack reads a newspaper clipping. Among the readable words are "Ted," "The Tower" and "beam". These are all references to King's The Dark Tower series of books, as well as Hearts in Atlantis. "Ted Brautigan" appears in the later Tower books and is the central character in "Hearts in Atlantis". The "Tower" in King's books is the nexus of all time/worlds, and beams hold the tower together. The last island-set scene of the of the finale occurs at another tower, the Radio Tower, where a seemingly momentous choice by Jack seems to have affected the lives of everyone on the island.
- in "Meet Kevin Johnson", Minkowski tells Michael he is acting like Nicholson, the actor that played Jack Torrance in the movie adaptation of King's "The Shining", since Michael is bouncing a ball against the wall as if he had cabin fever when Minkowski walked in.
- Carlton Cuse discussed the influence of King on their writing (Official Lost Podcast transcript/November 21, 2005):
But truthfully I think there's a lot of television and book influences as well and both of us have to give a shout out to Stephen King. Stephen King is so artful at blending science fiction or horror concepts with really compelling character stories, and that is so much a model for what we are doing on the show. I mean those books of his sustain for 800/1000 pages. Not because of the mythology but because the characters are so damn cool!
- Stephen King took part in a round table discussion with J.J. Abrams, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof for Entertainment Weekly, which was published in October 2006. During this time they went to see a horror film together, "The Descent," that was released in September 2006. (As discussed on the Lost Podcast 9th October 2006).
- J.J. Abrams is set to direct an adaptation of The Dark Tower series, while Lindelof and Cuse are in on the work as well, gaining the franchise from King for a coincidental 19 dollars. Ironically, this deal came a mere months before the season finale of Lost contained the aforementioned possible allusions to the novels.EW Article
- On the Bonus feature "The Book Club" on Disc 7 of Lost: The Complete Third Season (DVD), creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, as well as writers Christina Kim and Adam Horowitz cite Stephen King. Horowitz sums up by commenting, "We're all very big Stephen King fans."
- In the final Official Lost Podcast (dated 05/14/10), Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof confirm that the turtle in "Across the Sea" was partially a reference to the works of Stephen King. (Turtles are prominent in King's "The Dark Tower" series and also his novel "IT".)
Parallels between King's works and Lost
A number of Stephen King's novels, short stories, and novellas have striking similarities to Lost's storyline. Albeit the parallels, it must be noted that these similarities haven't all been confirmed as intentional and may, in fact be coincidental.
The producers confirmed The Stand as an influence on the show, with several characters and scenes as intentional homages to the novel.
The Dark Tower novels also included a villain referred to as the Man in Black. Both works ultimately concerned protecting the keystone of all existence.
Like the early seasons of Lost, the narrative in It alternates between a past and current timeline. "It" changes its form to images from characters' pasts, like the monster. The characters create a sweat lodge at one point in the story.
This fairly lesser known story concerns a character who is lost in the woods during a hiking trip. She soon begins to experience strange visions involving relatives and what she calls her three personal "gods". Another parallel can be drawn between her sighting of a strange being in the forest brush and the Monster's appearances in Lost. This strange being in the forest also took the primary form of a large bear (although it was not a polar bear). In both Lost and this story, the Boston Red Sox play a central part. Tom Gordon, being a pitcher for the Sox and in Lost when Ben shows Jack that they continued to have contact with the outside world, he shows him a broadcast of the Red Sox winning the World Series.
A great deal of this novel concerns the obsessive excavation of a buried hatch. The mission is conducted by a frustrated, middle-aged woman at the end of her rope. Like John Locke, she believes the Hatch is significant. She is also convinced that the symbol on the Hatch translates to 'quarantine'. The hatch emitted radiation that gave people powers and healed them.
Most of the story takes place on a secluded island. The main characters of Duma Kay, particularly Edgar and Wiseman, are thought to have been 'summoned' to the island by a supernatural force. The island of Duma Key is at first thought to be responsible for giving its inhabitants special abilities, and has the power to "heal" those living there.
Like Desmond, the main character returns from an accident able to see the future.
Short stories and novellas:
In the book, an airplane full of passengers travels back in time. The survivors discover that they must fly back through a rip in the fabric of the space-time continuum in order to travel forward in time to where they belong or else they will be killed. The character of the pilot at the beginning of the novella receives instructions from his deceased wife about his forthcoming predicament in the form of a dream.
- Stephen King (Wikipedia)
- stephenking.com Official website
- IMDB article
- "The Pop Of King", Entertainment Weekly column by Stephen King
- Entertainment Weekly - Oct 31, 2006 - Two articles by Jeff Jensen on the possible connection of bunny number 8 with Stephen King, as well as Heroes with Lost: Follow-up: Do Lost and Heroes share the same world? and Tell me about the rabbits, Uncle Steve...