Elizabeth Mitchell, 'Lost' producers talk about Juliet's fate

Elizabeth Mitchell will attempt to save the world from an alien invasion in ABC’s new drama V, a reboot of the memorable 1983 miniseries that debuts tomorrow. She’s also dealing with some deadly serious business on another freaky ABC series. In Lost‘s season 5 finale, Mitchell’s Juliet seemingly met her end after plunging down a hole and triggering a hydrogen bomb that may or may not have reset the timeline. SPOILER ALERT: While Lost exec producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse confirm that death becomes her (“The decision to kill Juliet was absolutely brutal,” says Lindelof), they note that she’s scheduled to appear in multiple episodes this season (“There’s still something very significant that we have not yet learned about the character,” hints Cuse). As you speculate away, enjoy these juicy quotes from Mitchell, Cuse, and Lindelof:

On shooting Juliet’s final scene in the season 5 finale:

MITCHELL: “At the time, I didn’t think I was ever coming back.  So for me it was just a really big goodbye and easily heartbreaking. It wasn’t one of those things to think about it. Also, Josh [Holloway] is really strong, so I was on this pulley, and I had them loosen the pulley so he’d really be holding me up, and it killed both of us every time. When my hand slipped from his, it was because he couldn’t hold on any longer. So that hit us with a real punch.  And then, to be trapped in that cave and to have no way of telling anybody and to be too hurt to move—who does that happen to?  Is that not your deepest, deepest nightmare? So that was very easy to play because it was so big…. We were all broken-hearted and crying quite a bit.  Evangeline [Lilly] couldn’t have been more supportive about all of it.  Everyone came to say goodbye.  I think Jorge [Garcia] brought champagne. It was a cathartic and amazing experience.”

On why she enjoyed that scene:

MITCHELL: “It was really primal. And it was such a lovely opportunity because there’s always been this theory that I just may be a really really horrible actor because I don’t show any emotion. I love that we got to see all of her rage, because to me, that’s what’s driven her. To have the calm exterior, I always had to have that underneath.  That’s what made playing her kind of hard in my personal life because there was so much unexpressed.  So I’d be on the way home, Agggghhhhh!, crying or screaming.  That was the very first time that we got to see her naked—besides being in love. We actually got to see all of that pain and rage that had been built up for some time.  Then there it was—Juliet unmasked. And it was fun. I remember the director saying, “Can you just push it to the limit?’ And I’m like, ‘Really?’”

On the decision to off Juliet:

CUSE: “As the story is now nearing its conclusion, some characters just aren’t going to make it all the way to the end. Even beloved characters aren’t going to make it all the way to the end. And sometimes we have to do things that are really painful, like killing Juliet, because that’s what makes the story feel like the stakes are genuine, and people feel invested that characters who are beloved can actually perish on our show. It was an enormously powerful story that concluded the entire season of the show. So she was sacrificed in service of the story, and I think was hugely responsible for the season being viewed as successful because that was how it ended.… But she will always loom as one of our favorite characters, and even more importantly, favorite people that we’ve ever worked with on this show.”

LINDELOF: “What always gives us pause—especially in this instance—is we just love working with Elizabeth. And she always brings it, she always gives more than we expected, and transcends the material. She has always been so gracious and sweet and lovely…. That conversation [in which he and Cuse delivered the bad news] went the same way that the entire relationship did, which is Elizabeth was completely understanding, sweet, and wonderful. And she was bummed, as were we.”

MITCHELL: “I really only thought [the job] was going to be a year. I didn’t in any way think that that character would be liked because I didn’t think of her as a likable person.  I was just in love with her, so that was what was fun.  She didn’t have to be beautiful. She didn’t have to be sexy. She was someone who we really haven’t seen. It was new, it was virgin ground.… [But after season 3], I was told many, many times that they weren’t sure what to do and that they wanted to keep her a mystery.  Which I thought was great, to keep her a mystery.  I’m glad they didn’t go the other way, and make her completely nothing. In many ways a lot of it was just inevitable. [Season 4] wasn’t as exciting as season 3 was, but I was still pretty grateful to be there, to be honest with you.  They’d done a lot for me, so I still felt pretty good about it and I still loved her. Even if I was just walking around in the background, I was still having my Juliet thoughts…. [In a phone call right before the end of season 5, Lindelof and Cuse] said they didn’t have any story left to tell, and they didn’t think there was anything left for her to do… They were very open and honest and kind about it. And they seemed to be sad about it.”

CUSE: “There are so many characters in the weave of the fabric of Lost that at various times certain people get to shine and other people are forced into the background. Juliet’s character had that kind of an arc on the show: She burned brightly, but then we moved on in the storytelling and other things became more important. And it’s always painful. It’s like having a garage full of the most beautiful cars in the world but you only can drive one to work every day. And it was frustrating for us, too, because we were pursuing other stories which rose to prominence and hers ended up taking a little bit of a backseat. But Damon and I came to a place where we came up with a fantastic ‘ending’ [for Juliet]. And ending is in quotations, of course, because just because a character’s died doesn’t mean that their story’s over on Lost.”

LINDELOF: “Juliet basically birthed season 6 by the actions that she takes in the final seconds of season 5. She is completely responsible for the endgame of the show. So the character is going to be seen in a slightly different light this year. We gave her that action for a reason, and that’s because she’s so important to the fabric of the story.”

On later being asked to return in season 6:

MITCHELL: “The only thing I could think of was that she gets to beat the c-r-a-p out of Ben [laughs]….  I was like, ‘I think I’m going to be really busy.  But I’m so in love with this character, it’s not like you have to twist my arm. So, thank you.’ It was just a complete roller coaster of [emotions], though, because I had already said goodbye.”

On what we should expect when we see Juliet again:

MITCHELL: “It’s probably exactly what you expect, but because it’s Damon and Carlton, you know they’re just going to turn it on its ear.”

For more from Mitchell on Lost and V, check out this week’s issue of EW—as well as this video interview. You definitely should click here too.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mario Perez/ABC

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Comments (106 total) Add your comment
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  • leo

    elizabeth mitchell is a very talented actress, since e.r.. i hope V will works fine!

    • Austin

      Why can’t I be riding in a car with Elizabeth Mitchell?!?!

      • Harry Peters

        Why can’t I be in a car riding Elizabeth Mitchell?

  • Cory

    By far Juliet was my favorite character on Lost, not only because of Juliet herself, but also because of Elizabeth Mitchell and her gracious, endearing demeanor. Though I love the way Juliet’s story ended, I was really looking forward to the day when she was finally reunited with her sister, and so it’s really rather heartbreaking to know that will never happen (probably…this is Lost, so anything can happen I suppose). I’m glad we haven’t seen the last of Juliet.

    • Cory

      Also, I’m really looking forward to V and hope it does well.

  • Brya

    So sad to see her leave the show. Best love story in the show killed off in one season. Best female character killed off for ridiculous reasons. Don’t think I have the heart to watch V.

  • Pete

    Looking forward to more of Elizabeth Mitchell in her new series V and season 6 of Lost!

  • Lemon

    I don’t know why everyone makes a big deal about Juliet’s “death.” She blew up a hydrogen bomb. Technically, didn’t everyone die? Or am I just missing something here?

    • Amy

      Technically you are correct in that they all died but, the majority of the characters will return is some way. Juliet will not. So in a way, she has been killed off while the others still go on.

      • BA

        Yeah, see this is bothering me. I know it is Lost, and I give it the benefit of the doubt all the time. But they were ALL alive when she hit that bomb. So why is it she the only one who dies? I really hope they explain it, because it will really bother me. Or maybe someone else can? Or maybe we just won’t know till January? Help!

      • RK

        The prevailing theory is that since she is right next to the bomb, she is toast; the others get caught in the blast/time warp back to the present.

      • BA

        Really? Hmmmm… I guess I could buy that, but still seems like a stretch.

      • Amy

        Remember, she was sucked into the pit and did just fall quite a long way down. It’s quite possible that she goes through the time warp with everyone else but still dies because of her injuries from the fall.

      • David

        I assumed that she is the one that dies because we do not see a flashback where Jacob touches her. Most of the other key characters have had a run in with Jacob somewhere in the past, at which time he touched them. I think that touch is what revives those individuals, and since Juliet was not among them, she is not revived.

      • Matt

        Also, she was the only one not touched by Jacob.

      • RENNY

        I keep thinking John Locke and Desmond were in the hatch when it blew or imploded Charlie was near by and they all survived, this is LOST expect anything! I really enjoy reading your blogs :)

      • Jeff Karova

        I imagine that since Juliet’s presence on the island wasn’t ‘ordained’ by Jacob, while she was responsible for resetting the timeline by exploding the bomb, she didn’t leave the timeline like the others probably have.

        If I’m to believe the promos, in season 6, the plan crash never happens, so the timeline was probably reset at some point back in the 70’s or earlier – Juilet may never have been born in the season 6 timeline, or is alive but living under different circumstances and totally unaware of what occurred in the other timeline.

        I was hoping that they’d have to visit her in the reset timeline, under the circumstances that she’s never met them in her native timeline.

  • Emma

    I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Mitchell ever since I saw her on ER. She always brings such depth and emotion to her characters. Juliet was one of my favorite characters on Lost and I will miss her greatly.

  • Kay

    I was looking forward to V anyway but I am even more excited knowing that EM will be on it. I’m sorry that Juliet is gone but I’m really excited for the new show. I wish her all the best.

  • Rebecca

    I am still in mourning the loss of Juliet (even though, can’t complain because she had one of the best exits from a show that I’ve ever seen), but look forward to the last season of Lost and the premiere of V.

    Hope lots of future success for Elizabeth Mitchell because she is one of the best actresses on Television.

  • Qness

    I really like Elizabeth Mitchell but I have to say I never really took to Juliet and I found her and Sawyer together just unconvincing. I do look forward to whatever of her we see in the upcoming season however. I too was hoping she would make it back home to see her sister. Just because I didn’t take to her didn’t mean I hated her.

    • jenn

      I feel the same. I really want to see what everyone else sees in Juliet, I just don’t. Also, I thought her death scene was…not good. Not when you compare it to, say, Charlie’s. I needed to take a pill w/Charlie’s final moments, haha, but I didn’t even get watery eyes w/Juliet. And I love Elizabeth Mitchell, I watch her in everything (she was great in the Linda McCartney movie, Gia, ER), but Juliet just didn’t move me. While I’m at it, I hated the whole finale. If John Locke is doorknob-dead, I’m going to be pissed.

      • Jackie

        Charlie’s death was gut wrenching and I cried for a couple of days but I cried equally as hard for Juliet. I don’t know what it is/was about her but she was in my top 5 favourite characters almost from her very first episode. I love Elizabeth Mitchell. As you say she was great in Gia, ER, and even made a lovely Mrs Claus in The Santa Claus 2. I am so looking forward to V and hoping that ABC’s idiotic decision to air four eps now and then nothing until next year doesn’t blow up in their faces.

    • ontheflipside

      Ah, I really loved Sawyer and Juliet together. I think that’s what finally made me a fan of her. They worked so well together and I loved how they had each other’s backs without asking too many questions.

  • RK

    Dead is dead. As Cuse said, they killed her. Keep it that way.

  • Erika

    *sigh* I loved Juliet and I hate to see her go, but her death was well-written and her death scene was phenomenal! I am really looking forward to her being on V. I really appreciate the writers on Lost taking the time to concern themselves with whether a ‘death’ is meaningful or not. I’ve been a fan of a show where the writers killed off characters on a whim and it was really frustrating as a fan. Juliet’s death made sense, however much Juliet fans dislike it, and I’m glad to see we’ll see her in some capacity in the Final Season.

  • LT

    I am sorry to see Juliet go but I am happy that they will touch on her story again and reveal some secrets.

  • Sue

    Someone please refresh my memory fans: Wasn’t Juliet a double agent in Season 4, sneaking information about the castaways to Ben. I thought they “forgave” her way too fast. What changed?

    • Jackie

      Yes she was but she confessed to Jack almost immediately what was happening. At that point he was the only one who was on her side anyway.

    • John

      It was the end of season 3, and she ended up betraying Ben by telling Jack she was a double-agent, allowing the castaways to set their trap.

  • gigi

    Yay! I heart Elizabeth Mitchell. I’m so glad to hear she’ll be back for season 6. Hopefully we’ll get some Sawyer/Juliet scenes. I’m also looking forward to “V”.

  • Andy Bluebear

    “So she was sacrificed in service of the story”

    Er, what? I thought they killed her off since she had signed off to be on V…or did she join that after they told her they were going to kill her off?

    “There’s still something very significant that we have not yet learned about the character,”

    The why the ef don’t they reveal this stuff BEFORE they get rid of the person? Like with Libby or Danielle…they get rid if actors/characters, THEN mention that there was more to tell? Ugh.

    Sorry, but Dalton and Cuse really p*ss me off in interviews. They sometimes make me enjoy the show less, especially when they keep saying it’s all planned. Oh well…at least we’ll be getting some Juliet in season 6. I hated her when when she first appeared, but ended up loving her, so hope she gets some good scenes, especially with Josh.

    • dave

      I’m not 100% certain, but I think they made the decision to kill her character before she was cast in the pilot for V.

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