Under the Dome (CBS) Panel at WonderCon 2013

Under The Dome

CBS premieres its new summer series Under the Dome on Monday, June 24 at 10:00pm. The series is based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel of the same name.

Want to know more about Under the Dome? Here is a brief synopsis from CBS:

Under the Dome is the story of a small town that is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome. The town’s inhabitants must deal with surviving the post-apocalyptic conditions while searching for answers to what this barrier is, where it came from and if and when it will go away.

At this past weekend’s WonderCon 2013, cast members Dean Norris and Rachelle Lefevre, along with executive producers Neal Baer, Brian K. Vaughan and Jack Bender were on hand for a sneak peek screening and Q&A session.

Here are a few things we learned in the panel:

The series is not limited to what happened in the novel. Stephen King has visited the set of the new series to observe filming, but though he may be a visitor on set, he hasn’t made any demands about how the show should be done. “He said use the book as a jumping-off point and don’t be afraid to take changes.” Vaughan said.

The series is not just big and cinematic, but character-driven as well. Asked to describe what viewers can expect from the series, Bender said, “We always want it to be big and cinematic as possible, but character-driven. It’s been fun to play with that balance.”

The summer season will be broken up into three F’s. Baer said that the show’s first season will be split into thirds in regards to them. The theme of the first third of the season is “faith,” the second third “fear,” and the final third “fascism.”

They have the scientific facts to back up the show. While working on the scripts, the writers and creators of the series were careful to research the science behind the dome. Baer promised that they will be able to answer fan questions about things like how the dome could exist, what kind of waves (sound, etc) could get through it and what can’t, plus many more.

But don’t expect all facts. Baer was quick to point out that, as a TV show, they did have the right to make stuff up as well. “We’ll balance hard facts with making sh** up.” Vaughan said.

Brian K. Vaughan makes a cameo in the series… sort of. For any who have read the original novel, you may know that there is a character in the story that is a fan of books and comics that just so happen to be written by one of the show’s executive producers, Brian K. Vaughan. He described working on the show as “surreal.”

Dean Norris plays a character very different than the one he played on Breaking Bad. Asked to talk about his character, Norris said that the dome isn’t bad news to everyone in town. It gives his character, named “Big Jim,” the chance to be a dictator. “[big Jim] likes being under the dome. He feels like he’s found his power.” Norris explained. Norris also said that one of the reasons he took the role on the series was for the opportunity to play a character “so different” from his role on Breaking Bad.

Getting the role in Under the Dome made Rachelle Lefevre think hard about her life. Doing a show like this can make people contemplate how they would react in a similar situation, which is exactly how Lefevre reacted when she started working on the series. “[It makes me] wonder what I would do to save myself and when I would sacrifice myself [to save others].” Lefevre joked that she might not be as heroic as she would hope in a similar situation. “I’d hope that my favorite restaurant is on my side of the dome and I’d just go there and hide.”

Norris added that he too might have more practical thoughts if a dome descended around his home town. “I would just hope for a decent ventilation system in the dome. I have a teenage son.”

When asked what he would do if a dome descended over his town, Brian K. Vaughan said, “I would just hide.”

Jack Bender added, “One would hope that you rise to the occasion, but you don’t know.”

What do you think? How would you react if a dome dropped itself over your hometown? What do you think now that you’ve heard more Under the Dome? Are you planning on checking it out when it premieres on CBS this summer?

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