The cast and crew of CBS’ eagerly-anticipated Under The Dome attended WonderCon on Saturday to promote the summer series and field questions.
Being that the high-concept thriller is adapted from Stephen King‘s popular novel of the same name, one of the big questions concerns how much latitude executive producer Brian K. Vaughan and his staff will have to deviate from the source material. According to Vaughan, the author has given the series his blessing to make bold deviations from the book where necessary, with the source serving as a thematic anchor for the characters and story:
“He told us, ‘Really use the book as a jumping off point. Use the characters, use the themes, but don’t be afraid to go to new places. [He is] really supportive of some things we changed from his book which I thought he was going to stab me for.”
The other big question, which faces any ensemble seriable with a sci-fi or fantastical tinge, is whether Under The Dome is the ‘new LOST‘. According to Dome EP Jack Bender (like Vaughan, a LOST alum), the show wont try to be the next LOST, “the plan is for us to be us and to do a different show,” he said.
That doesn’t mean a few creative lessons wont be borrowed, added Vaughan:
“All I know is that [after] Lost, there were a lot of shows that came on that were like, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do that’s better than Lost. We’re not ending up like Lost.’ And those shows are all gone. So what I hope to do is rip off from lost as much as possible.”
Vaughan restated the plan to tell a full story in the show’s first 13-episode season, with the ending, whenever that may come, already mapped out:
“We have a final episode in mind that’s different from the book. There’s a very cool, unexpected end to this dome, I think.”
According to showrunner Neal Baer, the open-ended series is split into three thematic parts: faith (“This can’t be real,” “This won’t last for too long”); fear (“Oh my God, what are we going to do”); and fascism (“Who’s going to maintain order when people run out of things”):
“That gives us a guideline to dig into these stories and helps us root for characters, hate some of them and love characters and be passionate about them.”
The impossible situation the characters find themselves will bring out the best and worst in their natures, Baer continues:
“When you’re under those intense circumstances, people’s good or evil hearts may come out more than in everyday life. That intensity under that magnifying glass gives us the opportunity to explore what people would really do.”
“It’s a parable for our times: can the sun shine through the dome? Can it rain? Those sound like climate issues and we can really explore that without being preachy. It’s fun for us to think about what happens when you run out of Tide soap, what do you use? Who rises? Do you really need a banker under the dome? But farmers? Maybe you do.”
Also in discussion:
- The fantastical elements of the show, namely the giant invisible dome which separates the town of Chester’s Mill from the rest of the world, will be grounded in science.