Keck's Exclusives: Dallas' Exec Producer Talks About the Shocking Season Finale
Spoiler alert! This story addresses the big reveals in Wednesday night's season finale of Dallas.
J.R. didn't get shot, but he may very well shoot himself when he finds out that a Barnes has once again infiltrated his family. And this time, that Barnes is carrying a set of Ewing heirs! That's right, TNT's Dallas relaunch concluded its first season with the stunning twist that Rebecca — Christopher's estranged bride and the mother of his unborn twins — is actually the daughter of age-old Ewing nemesis, Cliff Barnes.
And that wasn't the only cliffhanger fans are left to ponder until January, when the saga picks up with 15 new episodes. Executive producer Cynthia Cidre, who managed to make the decades-old primetime soap water cooler fodder for a new generation, took time away from penning Season 2 to answer a few burning questions.
TV Guide Magazine: Having wrapped a successful first season, what do you feel worked and didn't work in Dallas' first 10 hours?
Cynthia Cidre: I think we had a few too many hairpin turns, which are fun, but with the next 15 episodes I'd rather let some more emotional moments breathe. I was watching the deleted scenes in the DVD box we're going to put out and there were some lovely scenes that I can't believe we cut out [for time purposes].
TV Guide Magazine: I know you had to lose a sweet scene with J.R. and Sue Ellen dancing at the Ewing barbecue, and another with Sue Ellen and Cliff walking through downtown Dallas. What were some of your favorite moments that didn't make it on screen?
Cidre: They were all emotional scenes; scenes where people were talking about feelings and were beautifully done. When your shows come in 10 minutes over, these are the scenes that go because you have to stick to the plot for the shows to make sense. So next season we will be writing scripts that are 10 pages shorter so we won't have to cut out the fun flavor and humor.
TV Guide Magazine: And what worked particularly well that you plan to continue in Season 2?
Cidre: I'd like to have more music. And I personally love our [week-to-week] cliffhangers and whoppers. I think they are surprising people. I read some reactions to the finale and it seems like they didn't see it coming.
TV Guide Magazine: Let's talk about the big 'it'. Rebecca is Cliff Barnes' daughter. Can you confirm that this daughter is the same child Cliff's wife Afton [Audrey Landers] gave birth to back in the '80s?
Cidre: Yes — that's the same Pamela Rebecca Barnes. I knew all along she was going to be Cliff's daughter, and I didn't think that many fans would pick up on the name. So I used her middle name to keep people guessing.
TV Guide Magazine: Is Afton still alive?
Cidre: I don't know yet.
TV Guide Magazine: Audrey Landers still looks incredibly hot by the way, in case you were considering bringing her back.
Cidre: Oh my God. Fantastic!
TV Guide Magazine: Now that we know she's a Barnes, will Rebecca be a villain in Season 2?
Cidre: You know I don't like anyone being all villain. Her heart has been broken [by Christopher] and there's going to be a little payback. But we get to reinvent her. We are working on her past since she is really nothing like she seemed. I'm changing her whole wardrobe. Instead of pink tones she'll be in Prada. She'll have different hair. I think Julie [Gonzalo], our actress, is going to have a blast because she'll get to play a whole different version.
TV Guide Magazine: So was it just a fortunate coincidence that Rebecca happened to partner up with that no-good Tommy Sutter who had a real sister also named Rebecca?
Cidre: Yes, actually. She was using her middle name and Becky Sutter's identity.
TV Guide Magazine: Any big new cast additions next season?
Cidre: Yes. Elena's brother, who is called Drew, is coming.
TV Guide Magazine: So a hot Latin stud?
Cidre: [Laughs] You know where we're going.
TV Guide Magazine: What about Elena's dad?
Cidre: I think I killed him... many years ago. But I suppose he could always come back.
TV Guide Magazine: You showed John Ross and Christopher moving into their daddies' old Ewing Oil building. Was the building we saw in the exteriors the same building featured on the original series?
Cidre: The outside of the building with the lit X where the helicopter pulled out was for sure the old Ewing building that was used for the majority of the years that the show existed. But we couldn't shoot in the inside of the building, so we ended up shooting in a different building.
TV Guide Magazine: Switching gears to Sue Ellen, I believe you'd previously mentioned that by the end of the season we'd learn whether or not she was elected governor. But we were left hanging.
Cidre: We lied. I can tell you she will become a powerful force. We want to make sure Sue Ellen stays a woman who is sober and doesn't drink.
TV Guide Magazine: Will there be a time jump when we reunite with the Ewings in January?
Cidre: Yes, but not huge. Like six weeks have passed. We want a little breather. Life has settled a little bit and we'll see Sue Ellen and the election.
TV Guide Magazine: Elena and Christopher are newly engaged. Love them as a couple. Might we see another Southfork wedding in Season 2?
Cidre: Possibly. We're discussing it.
TV Guide Magazine: And what about a possible Rebecca/John Ross coupling?
Cidre: It's also under discussion. It seems like a delicious alliance to me. And the actors are really friendly in real life, so they are always pitching that to me. Julie and Josh [Henderson] barely had a scene together for the entire first season.
TV Guide Magazine: This season we saw visits from Lucy and Ray. What other Dallas vets might you welcome back to Southfork next year?
Cidre: We're just breaking stories now so I don't really know yet. I just met Joan Van Ark [Lucy's mother, Valene] the other day and she was lovely. We tried for a cameo with her and Ted Shackelford this past season, but it didn't work out. I also met Donna Mills [Knots Landing's Abby Ewing] and she looks awesome, but I don't know that we can use Knots Landing characters.
TV Guide Magazine: As you were assembling several antagonists with bones to pick with the Ewings, I was worried a mystery assailant might take a shot at Sue Ellen as she was at the podium delivering her campaign speech.
Cidre: It's been pitched. We had a whole Sue Ellen assassination thing, but I thought, 'Oh c'mon, we're not there yet'. Let's just wait.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you consider ending the season with a classic Dallas whodunit?
Cidre: This is the show that did that classically, but we're going to try to avoid that for a little bit. It doesn't mean we're not going to ever do that, but I don't think in our first couple of seasons. How could we ever top 'Who Shot J.R.?'
TV Guide Magazine: Oh, somehow I believe you can!
What did you think of the Dallas finale?
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