Damon Lindelof gets a lot of flack for his hand in problematic movies like Star Trek Into Darkness and Prometheus. But now the high-profile sci-fi writer is making his way back to television for the first since the series finale of Lost back in 2010. His new series The Leftovers premieres on HBO later in the year and follows a group of people “leftover” after the biblical Rapture. Now we have a first look at the new series with a new image and Lindelof talking about what audiences can expect.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lindelof offered a little insight on the upcoming series. He claims that The Leftovers will be more finite and thoughtful than Lost. Moreover, he teased that the central premise will be explained later down the line. Lindelof explained:
You’ve got this big, crazy, supernatural — potentially spiritual — idea that informs every episode of the show that we’ll ever make, which is that this thing happened, this sudden departure of 140 million people which depending on what side of it you’re on, could be the Rapture. There could be some yet-as-undetermined scientific explanation for it, but still it’s miraculous. The traditional way of telling this story is you’re in immediate aftermath of this event. It’s all that anyone can talk about. Dropping into these people’s lives three years later and saying ‘This is the moment in which they get back to their lives as they were or they decide that they can’t get back to their lives as they were,’ that’s a much more interesting idea. So all decisions that the characters are making is informed by a supernatural idea, but the show is not presenting ongoing supernatural phenomena.
Lindelof sounds defensive about The Leftovers even though the series has yet to premiere. It’s likely due to all the criticism he got, and still gets, for the Lost finale, and his recent film work. It does sounds like he thinks he has to really convince people to watch The Leftovers by telling them there will be a definitive conclusion. He kind of walked into that one.
Lindelof continued to talk about the emotional center of The Leftovers and the stakes involved in dealing with stories about the Rapture. He continues to assure possible viewers that The Leftovers will be worth investing your time and energy in, and that it won’t leave you hanging. He continued:
This is going to be a show about sudden and abrupt loss and more importantly, what will at least in its initial presentation seem to be one that you can’t receive closure from. If someone dies, that’s a horrible thing and they must be mourned. But in this instance, you don’t even know if you’re supposed to mourn who’s been departed because they could be walking through your door tomorrow, or you could be zapped up or down or sideways to wherever they are. So this lack of understanding as to what just occurred is the most pervasive feeling, not just in the moment that it happens but certainly three years later when the story starts.
HBO also released the first image from the series, which shows Justin Theroux as Kevin Garvey, the mayor of the suburb of Mapleton. Theroux looks like he has no idea what’s going on, as if the Rapture recently lifted a majority of the population into Heaven. I’m sure The Leftovers will feature a central mystery that will make viewers come back for more episodes week after week, but Lindelof has a long way to go to re-capture his credibility. I’m just happy to see Justin Theroux working.
Based on Tom Perrotta’s (Little Children, The Abstinence Teacher) best-selling novel of the same name, The Leftovers follows Kevin Garvey and his family as they try to deal with life after the Rapture, dealing with cults and false prophets emerging and those left behind just trying to get by in their new lives. The new series starts three years after the event.
The new HBO series also stars actors Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Carrie Coon, Emily Meade, Amanda Warren, Ann Dowd, Michael Gaston, Max Carver, Charlie Carver, Annie Q, Paterson Joseph and Brad Leland. Lindelof and Perrotta wrote the pilot episode, while Peter Berg (Battleship, Lone Survivor) will direct. HBO has yet to announced a release date.