Little-know sci-fi fact: Michael Keaton was supposed to be Jack on Lost

Sure, it got a little wacky at times, but Lost was easily one of the biggest phenomena in television history. But did you know Matthew Fox wasn’t the first choice to anchor the cast as Jack?

When J.J. Abrams first conceived the series, back when he wrote this insanely intriguing “show bible,” he wanted former Batman star Michael Keaton to play the daring doctor at the heart of the series.

But there was a catch — Jack was supposed to die in the pilot episode, setting up the character Kate to become more of a leader among the survivors. That plot point is largely what attracted Keaton to the role, since it wasn’t your typical long-term television commitment.

Things were rolling along for Keaton to help kick off the series until the folks at ABC got a look at the pilot script and decided Jack was too cool to kill so quickly. Abrams tried to woo Keaton to sign on for a full-fledged role, but he wasn’t interested, so the producers brought in Fox to fill the void. The rest, as they say, is TV history.

Keaton detailed the bizarre story in a 2005 interview with Access Hollywood, where he explains how Abrams’ concept impressed him enough to consider the gig. At least until he found out it would’ve been full-time:

"He told me what Lost was and I thought it was a really intriguing idea. I said, 'I'll seriously consider it, send me the script. He said, 'No, we're keeping the guy alive,' and I said, 'Oh, ok, well I can't do that.'

I wouldn't do it if the guy was going to be in the show every week. An hour show every week... I've got stuff to do, I've got a life to lead. When would I fish?”

It’s fascinating to think how things might’ve turned out with Keaton in the series, as he’s definitely a pretty big-name draw (or was at the time) for a television project. Do you think he would’ve been a good fit, or did we dodge a bullet? 

(Via Movie Insider)

And check out these other little-known sci-fi facts:

How Whedon accidentally got Angel cancelled

How Nick Fury (all 3 of him) got that eyepatch

Spock's Vulcan nerve pinch? It started as a punch

How Star Trek was saved by ... Lucille Ball?

The REAL reason Han was frozen in carbonite

Why Stan Lee put a hyphen in Spider-Man

S.H.I.E.L.D. almost had a VERY different acronym

What Tolkien REALLY wanted to call the 3 Rings volumes

Whedon spent 7 weeks rewriting 'generic' Waterworld script

Originally, Wonder Woman was the JSA's secretary

The Thing once had a happy(ish) ending

Lucas wanted Indiana Jones 2 to be a dinosaur movie

Stan Lee thought Marvel's readers would HATE Iron Man (at first)

Know Yoda's original first name, we do

Uhura's famed Trek kiss wasn't meant to be with Kirk

Studio execs pushed for Chewbacca to wear pants

Millennium Falcon appeared in Blade Runner

Ripley was supposed to DIE at the end of Alien

Homeless James Cameron sold Terminator script for $1

Why Tron's FX got snubbed for an Oscar

Jewel Staite played Amy Pond in Supernatural

Toshiro Mifune turned down Vader role

How a mime saved the original RoboCop

Lucas originally wanted FOUR trilogies

Why Soylent Green was called Soylent Green

R2-D2 appeared in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Gandalf wasn't going to be named Gandalf

A computer glitch almost killed Toy Story 2

The incredibly filthy joke hidden in Willy Wonka

Kirk wasn't Wrath of Khan's only father

The accident that gave us the lightsaber

Scully stood on a box to film X-Files

Kirk's Trek hot rod was Catwoman's, too

James Cameron played the Alien Queen

Why HAL 9000 sang 'Daisy' in 2001

What inspired Alien chestburster scene

3 ways George Lucas' wife saved Star Wars

The brawl that got Mel Gibson the Mad Max gig

James Doohan was shot six times on D-Day

Tolkien killed a Beatles LOTR movie

How Ghostbusters pissed off Isaac Asimov

The lyrics to Star Trek's opening theme

The famous "Wilhelm scream"