Michael Keaton Backed Out Of The Greatest Television Series Of All Time

Michael Keaton was cast as Jack Shepard in Lost, but he backed out when the character was changed to survive the pilot episode.

By Douglas Helm | Published

michael keaton

Michael Keaton is great in everything he’s in, and in an alternate universe, we might have seen him play Jack Shepard in Lost. Of course, that role ended up going to Matthew Fox, and the rest is history. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Keaton revealed that the original plan was for Jack to die at the end of the pilot, so he decided to back out when the plans changed and he’d have to commit to a full season.

It’s a good thing that Michael Keaton decided to turn down the role in Lost because the series ended up running from 2004 to 2010. If he didn’t want to be in a role for more than one episode, he would have been sorely disappointed. Of course, the series also became one of the most talked-about and popular TV shows of all time, so he might not have minded that part.

With that being said, Michael Keaton’s 2004 to 2010 output certainly wasn’t the peak of his career, so Lost might not have been a bad move. However, Keaton would have a late-career Rennassaince with numerous prestige movies in the late 2010s, starting with Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) in 2014. The film was oddly adjacent to Keaton’s career, as it followed a former superhero actor looking to revitalize his acting career with a prestigious Broadway play.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) ended up winning four Oscars and earned Michael Keaton a Best Actor nomination. If Keaton had been in Lost, perhaps he would have missed out on this role of a lifetime. Keaton would follow up Birdman with other fantastic films like Spotlight and The Founder.

Matthew Fox as Jack on Lost

If Michael Keaton had played Jack on Lost, it’s very possible that he could have earned himself an Emmy. He got the chance to make up for that by starring in the Hulu opioid epidemic drama Dopesick, which earned him an Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy. Keaton would also return to the world of superheroes in the MCU’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, though he would be playing the villain this time around.

Michael Keaton played Adrian Toomes aka the Vulture in the MCU, and he’s one of the few villains who managed not to die in their first appearance. That means we could certainly see more of Keaton in the MCU further down the line (he even showed up in the horrible Morbius movie from Sony’s Spiderverse). While missing out on a massive show like Lost might be a bummer, being in one of the biggest and most profitable film franchises of all time is a pretty good consolation prize.

Michael Keaton will also be returning to his most famous role, as he dons the cape and cowl once again to become Batman. Keaton will be showing up in the DCU film The Flash, which will see Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen zooming through the multiverse. The Flash is set to come out on June 16, 2023, and also stars Ben Affleck, Kiersey Clemons, Sasha Calle, Temuera Morrison, Ron Livingston, Maribel Verdu, Antje Traue, and Michael Shannon.