‘Under the Dome’ Producer Talks Departing From Novel, Season Finale's Big Twist

'Under the Dome' Producer Talks Departing From Novel, Season Finale's Big Twist

Brownie Harris/ CBS Broadcasting Inc..

Neal Baer tells TheWrap what viewers can expect on Monday's season-ender

The producers behind CBS's summer hit, “Under the Dome,” were pretty confident they would get a second season. So confident, Monday's season finale didn't change very much after the renewal order came through.

“We wrote the series the best way we could and by the time the show premiered we were pretty much done,” executive producer Neal Baer told TheWrap.

“In June, we pretty much shot all the episodes and started work on the last three,” he continued. “So, we were prepared to maybe make some changes in the last episode had we not been picked up. Within the first few weeks, it was looking good and we were hopeful, so we just went on the route we were going on, which ends with Monday's show.”

Also read: ‘Under the Dome's’ Jolene Purdy: I Wasn't Supposed to Be Alive This Long

TheWrap spoke with Baer about the decisions made in Season 1, departing from Stephen King's novel and the surprise revelations on Monday's season finale.

Note: Mild spoilers

TheWrap: Jolene Purdy, who played Dodee, told us that she was under the impression that the producers had always counted on three seasons. Is that true?
Neal Baer: No, we were hopeful we'd have a number of seasons but we didn't have a number planned. We just hoped the audience would continue to embrace it as it has and keep it going, but we don't have a set number of seasons in our pocket.

At what pace do you plan to reveal the biggest secrets of the dome?
We have so many new mysteries to unfold relating the mini-dome, the caterpillar, the monarch, who's the monarch, what do the pink stars mean, so we're always every week revealing something. In the finale, we reveal how Big Jim [Dean Norris] realizes how he's connected to the pink stars and his dawning realization that he feels like he's chosen to lead. He's always wanted to lead. He's always been very active as a leader, but now he feels truly chosen. We learn who the Monarch is in the last episode, as well.

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Right now, I'd say that Barbie [Mike Vogel] seems to be a good bet for the Monarch. How surprised will we be when that person is revealed?
I think you'll be surprised who the Monarch is. It's going to be great. It all comes together. Barbie saved Julia [Rachel Lefevre] and the storm stopped. But, Junior [Alexander Koch] saved Angie [Britt Robertson] and the storm stopped. And Joe [Colin Ford] was driving the car that saved Julia. So, we have a number of folks who could possibly be the Monarch and we hope that it will be surprising.

It doesn't seem like you're beholden to the novel very much.
No, the novel is a great springboard for the characters and the setting and the format. But with Stephen King's blessing, we veered off into our own world with the mini-dome and the egg and all of that. We're certainly inspired by many events like the food riots, the water shortage but there's such a vast canvas of characters in the novel that we just can't cover on the show. So, we have an amalgamation of characters and invented some of our own that could tell the story in a way that's good for television rather than what's good for a novel.

So, how close to the novel's ending will you stay?
We're not going to end as the novel does with teenage aliens doing experiments with people on earth. But, we will have a major revelation that involves an understanding of the dome and what's behind it in a shocking way, a truly shocking way, I think. Also, what I love about the show is you never know who is going to appear.

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Were there any characters or actors whose performance made you want to develop their character in a new way?
We really wanted to make Junior complex. So, despite the fact that he locked Angie in the fallout shelter, we thought ‘Is there any way to redeem him?’ And then we realized that maybe Angie really was sick. His actions weren't acceptable in what he did, but maybe he was right and maybe he was trying to protect her in this way and it turns out she was sick, she had a seizure and she's one of the four hands. So, we really did try to make Junior multidimensional after once starting him off in such a dire psychotic way. He still is pretty unbalanced, but in a very interesting way that's hard to be sure. He's been a very fun character and Alex, the actor, it's his first role, so it's been really gratifying to work with him.

You haven’t been shy about killing characters we've come to like.
Nope, nobody's safe under the dome.

So, we should be on alert as to who's going next?
Yes, or maybe vice-versa.

So…who's coming in?
Yeah [laughs]. I think you'll be surprised by the ‘vice-versa.’

“Under the Dome” airs its season finale at 10/9c on CBS.

  • Mr F

    I would say spoiling the ending of the novel is more than just a “light spoiler”

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      So is this show over for good? It might as well be if you aren't bringing it back till after January because you are going to lose a lot of viewers and I will be one of them. I don't wait months to see another season.

  • Pkelly Collins

    Not watching the series any longer. I thought I was watching a mini series not a Mama Drama. I feel cheated.

  • Melinda Deason

    So is this show over for good? It might as well be if you aren't bringing it back till after January because you are going to lose a lot of viewers and I will be one of them. I don't wait months to see another season.

  • Jayne Chilton

    I DID NOT READ THE BOOK SO I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE ENDING AND i DO NOT GET THE END OF THIS LAST EPISODE. SOMEONE PLEASE ENLIGHTEN ME.

    • Tired of children

      Try speaking without all caps and then we'll tell you.

  • rose

    I to thought is was a mini series. I was ticked by the ending!!!!!not a happy viewer;(

  • mr de

    yea the bright light makes ya wondered what happened, really escapes my mind,

  • Jake5

    Life is to busy for the average viewer to invest this much time into one show only to have it announced that “the end” is 9 months away. CBS really messed up this time. How many viewers will think twice before deciding to watch another mini series after this stunt? And shame on Steven King for allowing CBS to pull this stunt as well. I hope there are a lot other unhappy viewers out there, and I wish there was some type of boycott that could be successful to make CBS realize how bad their actions were on this one. This is far worse than the Heidi fauxpas when the outcome of a football game was lost.

  • Alberto

    The “DOME” ending? Not even a “to be continued…”You guys at CBS have lost me as a viewer. I'm filtering out CBS from my list of channels to watch. How's that for an ending!!!

  • Dissatified viewer

    I feel like the victim of a giant game. I thought the “last episode” would give us closure. Instead it leaves us wondering if we invested time watching someone's game. This is unworthy of Spielberg. Advertisers should understand that disappointed viewers don't take ads seriously.

  • Mike

    Horrible ending to the show!! I was a big fan and now I feel like I wasted all this time…. No questions answered at all!!!! Under the dome finale was under par big time… After that episode the dome should be pulled off for good. Way to go CBS for the complete failure of a good series!!

  • Chris

    I think the writer/director spilled coffee and used the last
    two pages of the script to clean it up.
    The show in general was great, however after watching the last episode,
    I know feel I need to be re-educated because I wasted all that time on a show
    with no resolve. I understand a cliff
    hanger for season 2 but that was ridiculous.
    What happened CBS?

  • ryan

    show isnt over for ggod people!!!!! CBS did fine leading to a second season!!