Y: The Last Man and Saga writer Brian K. Vaughan is one of the main writers of the new CBS show Under the Dome, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. And last night, we got the first glimpse of some footage, and Vaughan talked about how he aims to take a 1,000-page novel and turn it into a TV show that could run for years.
There haven’t been any real teasers released yet for Under the Dome, which comes to CBS in June — but we saw a four-minute sizzle reel, in which the theme seemed to be that once a small Maine town gets cut off from the rest of the world by a forcefield (like in the Simpsons Movie), some people will rise to the occasion and become better people — but other people will be at their absolute worst.
We caught a lot of glimpses of Jeff Fahey (Lawnmower Man) as the town sheriff, who’s being screwed with royally by Big Jim (Dean Norris from Breaking Bad) who becomes a sort of small-town dictator and major asshole. We also saw bits of Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) realizing her husband was cheating on her — to which another man responds that no man in his right mind would step out on such a beautiful woman. There was also some “young serial killer” action, as the isolation and chaos under the dome drives Junior Rennie to go off the rails.
We also caught some glimpses of total chaos — an airplane ripped in half by the barrier, with flaming chunks falling to earth, severed limbs and a truck crashing into the barrier. There was footage of King himself saying that you’re only as sick as your secrets — and some people inside Chester’s Mill are very sick indeed.
So how do you adapt a massive book like that into a TV show? Vaughan told the audience at the Dome panel that they really opened up the world and made the story open-ended. “In true Stephen King fashion,” King reached page 1,000 of his novel and felt like he was just getting started — but they can’t publish books longer than about 1,000 pages. So King would have loved to have told the story of the town under the dome as days turned into weeks and weeks turned into years — and on the TV show, they might get the chance to do that. King’s manuscript for the novel weighed 19 pounds, and Vaughan joked that he just took “the three best pounds.”