Received by way of my friend Lola & her super-awesome "secret sources":
OK, maybe I'm crazy, but I thought of something while reading this. Do you think that the passengers from flight 316 could be the original Others? If they did, indeed, land 30 years in the past, isn't it conceivable that they could be the Others from the current day? Also, if, when Desmond eventually ends up back on the island, it is still in the past, perhaps he takes on the job of punching the numbers in the computer to try to prevent what has happened (Widmore finding the island, Oceanic 6 (and Ben) leaving). If Ben did kill Penny before he got on flight 316, it would make sense that Desmond's motivation for pushing the buttons would be to save Penny's life by making sure Ben doesn't leave. In essence, the mission of the original Losties would be to ensure that they end up where they were when they crashed on the island originally. I know this brings everything to a crazy full circle, but it's just a thought!
Widmore said the Others had been around for three decades. That's just 30 years. We know Ben launched the purge sometime around1992, so are we to believe that the Others had only been there since the 1970's? He was 17 in 1954, which would make him 37 around the time of the Others (1974); we also know that Widmore looked for the island for 20 years, so he's been gone from the island since around the mid-late 80s--would have made him in his mid-late 40s when he was exiled and he's 71 in the present time. Penny first met Desmond in what 1997 or 1998 and she was at the least 25 (?) so Penny was born what in 1972 or 1973? Was Penny born on the island? Interesting thought. Who wasn't born on the island? And how's this for a twisted theory...what if Penny is not Widmore's daughter? Instead, she is his mother. The writers of the show would not name Penny & Des' kid Charlie for no reason (although speculation says it's after Lostie Charlie). The kid will go back to the island with Des at some point and get transported back in time.
So let's talk about the numbers that Desmond had to put into the computer. Could they be the exact coordinates of where the island was located at a specific time? The reason Desmond and whoever else had to keep putting the numbers in the computer was to keep the island at that specific location and not move like it usually would. So people off the island (i.e. Eloise) would know where it was and could travel back and forth as needed. So that's why the flash happened after Locke and Desmond did not enter the numbers, because the island finally moved again. Eloise Hawking mentioned the island had been moving on its own when the Dharma people found it so it seems like the island's natural state is traveling around so the numbers might be an override. And staying in one place would make it easier to bring supplies and people. SOOOOOO...knowing that, here are my additional thoughts.
So if they forget to put the numbers in, the island moves, right? So as the flights are trying to arrive (like 316 did) on the Hydra island on the runway Jack and Kate built, if the numbers aren't put in, the island moves and than the plan miscalculates the landing and crashes? I don't know, just a thought. Because remember that Desmond said in Season 2 or 3 "I think I crashed your plane". The numbers aren't hit and the light flashes.
Did you see Nadia when Locke was getting his leg fixed in Tunisia, even though at that point she was supposed to be dead? Also am wondering if the girl who had Sayid in handcuffs is Ana Lucia's sister.
Foot statue theory:
The foot statue. I've always felt the foot statue was modeled after Locke's foot. During Locke's backstory in season 1 (The Walkabout), one of the first things they focus on after it's known he was paralyzed are his wiggling toes. In season 2 the Losties bring an injured Locke to the Swan station (the hatch) and he refuses, or gets mad, when they attempt to remove his shoes. Then in this season, of all things, Jack finds shoes from his dad to put onto Locke. In last night's episode, we see Locke's dress shoes on the beach, him barefoot in the sand. Then, during the hanging scene, they twice focus tightly on the foot of his injured leg, practically throwing us the hint.
Now, I counted five toes on Locke's foot, but the pinky toe didn't look quite right. It's debatable. The statue had four toes. So, either the creators are throwing us a red herring that Locke's foot is depicted in the statue, or they're finally giving us a clue that Locke's foot is modeled in the statue, and the statue was actually a huge statue of Locke. Maybe that's why Ben and Widmore know why John is so special and important.
I can see the entire series ending on one last shot of this huge Locke statue created by an ancient civilization. And now that time travel exists on the island, anything is possible for Locke visiting such a civilization.