This article describes the Swan's Orientation Film. For other films, see DHARMA Initiative films.
The Swan Orientation film was a film produced by the Hanso Foundation to instruct the inhabitants of the Swan, a DHARMA Initiative station. The film's official title was "3 of 6 - Orientation". It was narrated by "Dr. Marvin Candle" (an alias of Pierre Chang) and bore a copyright date of 1980. The film was revealed by Desmond in the episode "Orientation". It was hidden behind a copy of the book The Turn of the Screw.
The film started with a short history of the DHARMA Initiative. It explained how the Initiative was founded in 1970 by Gerald DeGroot and Karen DeGroot, two doctoral candidates at the University of Michigan. Taking the example of B.F. Skinner, they imagined a "large-scale communal research compound" where research could be conducted into meteorology, psychology, parapsychology, zoology, electromagnetism, and Utopian Social... (this part is unclear and could refer to Utopian Socialism or Utopian Social Engineering; the Spanish translation referred to "Ingeniería Social Utópica", or Utopian Social Engineering). According to the film, the DHARMA Initiative received their funding from the Danish industrialist and munitions magnate, Alvar Hanso, through his Hanso Foundation.
Further, the film detailed the procedures at the Swan station. It explained that The Swan was station number 3, originally designed to study "the unique electromagnetic fluctuations" from its part of the island. It did not describe these characteristics however but apparently a certain "incident" occurred at some point (either the 1977 event or a speculated second one). As a result, every 108 minutes, a code (the Numbers) had to be entered into the computer terminal (see pushing the button). Reasons for the execution of the protocol were not provided, but it was emphasized that it was of "utmost importance". Partners at the station were there for 540-day shifts, after which new replacements would arrive.
Later in the episode "What Kate Did", Eko revealed a new piece of film to John Locke. The piece was discovered in a Bible at the Arrow DHARMA Initiative station. After splicing the piece into the original film, the two watched it again. The spliced clip revealed a strong warning not to use the computer for any external communication with the outside world, and to only use the computer for entering the code.
In the episode "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1", Desmond asked Kelvin Inman why there were parts missing from the film. Kelvin commented how his partner who resided with him in the Swan, Radzinsky, made edits to parts of the film. It is unknown why Radzinsky did this.
Items in italics represent comments.
...for anything else other than the entering of the code. This is its only function.
The isolation that attends the duties associated with Station 3 may tempt you to try and utilize the computer for communication with the outside world. This is strictly forbidden. Attempting to use the computer in this manner will compromise the integrity of the project and worse, could lead to another incident. I repeat, do not use the computer for anything other than entering the code.
<End of spliced clip.>
- It is estimated that each team must have hit the button between 7,200 and 7,476 times because they actually reset the timer before the 108 minutes were up, so it could have been between 104 and 108 minutes between each pushing of the button. However, both Locke and Desmond were able to successfully press the button after the timer displayed the hieroglyphs which occurred after zero, so while it could have been no more than 7,476 times, it may have been less than 7,200 times.
- The picture of Alvar Hanso was the same used in his Executive Bio at the website of the Hanso Foundation. It was dated October 23, 2003.
- During the last third of the film, when they were getting an extreme close-up of Marvin Candle's head, there was a logo of a swan in flight in the upper right corner of the film. It can be seen going frame by frame in Quicktime, when he was saying "when the alarm sounds, the code be entered correctly and in a timely fashion."
- Dr. Marvin Candle's left arm was a prosthetic.
- Desmond said that the computer at The Swan could be used to contact other stations, and Michael used it for speaking with his son (when in captivity).
- Dr. Marvin Candle never said that the numbers were 4 8 15 16 23 42. He said 'input the code'.
- 108 (minutes) x 5 = 540 (days in a team's shift).
- 4 + 8 + 15 + 16 + 23 + 42 = 108.
It has been noted previously that the footage of Dr. Marvin Candle which appeared in "Orientation" differed from the footage inserted in "What Kate Did". This assertion is not entirely correct. The inserted footage is actually identical in terms of actor, costume, lighting, etc. immediately before and after the first splice. However where the alternate footage was introduced the actor is clearly seen to be standing in a different posture, his necktie is tied differently, the lab jacket is different, and the hair and lighting are clearly different. Given that this change occurs in the middle of the "inserted" portion from The Arrow, it seems likely that the differences are a byproduct of unplanned reshooting in production, and are not meant to be taken as a hidden plot point.
- The Swan Orientation film was shot on the APO set from seasons 4 and 5 of Alias in Burbank by the Alias crew.
- One of the buildings depicted in the film is located in Narvik, Norway. The building was chosen only because it suited what the creators of the show wanted. However, when they learned that fans had discovered the location, they adapted the storyline of The Lost Experience to encompass this (Alvar Hanso is held prisoner in that town).
- The theme songs for the Swan and Pearl Orientation films contain the melody (with an added note at the end) from "The Eyeland" (Soundtracks), a musical theme from the score which also appears in the end credits of Lost.
- A frame of a DHARMA orientation film is included as a prop in the Mr. Eko action figure.
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Swan Orientation Film/Theories
- Why did Radzinsky edit the film?
- Why was the edited film at the Arrow, and how did it get there?
- Why does this video explain the history of the Dharma Initiative when the other videos do not?