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In the making of HBO’s The Leftovers—which recently wrapped its third and final season—there wasn’t a detail that wasn’t scrutinized by creators Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta. Wrestling with and exploring every facet of issues including mystery, faith and loss, along with every possible permutation of how their story, with its high-concept roots, could transpire, the pair arrived at an end that was emotionally satisfying, answering a number of questions while leaving much more to the audience’s imagination.
Looking back on the series, Lindelof and Perrotta discuss the impetus for bits of historical prologue which open Seasons 2 and 3 and the fruitful evolution of their collaboration over several years’ time.
Direction - Series - Season
How long have you both known the direction the series would take in its final season?
Damon Lindelof: We never discussed what the ending of the series was going to be until we knew that we were ending the series. I think that when we came into the third season, the ideas on the table, which were very underdeveloped, were, Kevin is a reluctant messiah, and he’s kind of annoyed by the designation; and Norah, in her job as a fraud investigator, is presented with a device, both literal and figurative, that could potentially reunite her with her children.
Tom - Perrotta - Idea
Tom Perrotta: The idea of a flash-forward came early, too.
Lindelof: The end of the world was the other part—Since the series is ending, let’s tell the audience that the world might be ending, too, because they might believe that we’d be willing to do it.
Things - World - End - World - Look
We had all those things playing together: Should we end the world? What does the end of the world look like? Can we maybe openly deceive the audience? All of those conversations were simultaneous.
I think the idea that the show was going to end with an older version of Nora...
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