[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the Season 1 finale of Under the Dome as well as the Stephen King novel the series is based on. Read at your own risk.]
For those guessing it was aliens — like Stephen King's novel — you were right. You just probably didn't know you were right.
Under the Dome closed its first season Monday and left viewers with more questions than answers. After naming Julia (Rachelle Lefevre), not Barbie (Mike Vogel), the Monarch, pink stars fell in lines on the darkened dome, following which it turned opaque white. Before that, though, a vision of Alice (Samantha Mathis) appeared to the group to explain that the dome was put in place for their protection. From what? And what exactly was the vision of Alice? TVGuide.com turned to executive producer Neal Baer to find out... (Hint: It's aliens, of course.)
Let's start with some questions to clear up the finale: What exactly was the butterfly doing to the dome?
Neal Baer: It was trying to get out and every time it hit the dome, it would cause blackness to appear. It was the dome signaling that the Monarch needed to get out and the Four Hands needed to get their act together. The big dome was signaling there was trouble because Big Jim (Dean Norris) was doing very bad things. It was a tandem issue: The mini-dome and big dome signaling that something had to be done immediately to prevent catastrophe.
The butterfly was seemingly dead when the mini-dome disintegrated. Do the Four Hands have the power do bring things back to life or was that a coincidence?
Baer: I'm not sure that she brought it back to life or it was maybe just resting and it wasn't dead in the first place. You could look at it either way — that she brought it back or it was OK to begin with.
After a season of Big Jim treating Junior horribly, why did Junior (Alexander Koch) then ultimately side with his father?
Baer: Well, did Junior side with his father ultimately? Did he pull the lever? We don't know. Yes, he did side with his father, but when push comes to shove at the end when he says, "Do it, Junior. Do it now," will Junior ultimately go with him? There were all those wonderful moments when Junior said, "It's going to be very bad for us if you're lying." Junior is always questioning. Big Jim has said, "We're chosen. Your mother painted what was going to happen, we obviously are the chosen ones, you and I." Big Jim always has a response to Junior, but Junior is always questioning. Even in that look in Junior's eyes, he's still wondering if his father is telling the truth. He's torn between the love for his father and what his gut is telling him.
Speaking of Big Jim's wife, we know she's dead, but is there a chance we'll actually see her?
Baer: We'll have to wait for that for next season.
Why the decision to have Big Jim turn into such a mustache-twirling villain?
Baer: I don't know that he's mustache-twirling. He does want to save the town; he just has odd ways of doing it. He does really love his son and really does think that he is chosen once he realized the pink stars are falling in lines and made that connection with his dead wife's painting, it reinforced his thinking that he's chosen and this was all set up for him to take this on. From his perspective, he's not necessarily wrong that these drawings were made long before the dome came down and they are about him and his son. There are people who support that. Just as Julia is the Monarch, there's some way that he's been called too.
Now that Julia has been crowned the Monarch, what exactly is her purpose?
Baer: A leader to lead them in a way that Big Jim hasn't been able to. The dome can protect them from whatever the dome is there to protect them from, but the dome can't make them into people who can necessarily protect themselves. It's up to them. They have the free will to either make it as a group of people caught under the dome or not. The dome can try by turning out the lights, but the dome can't control Big Jim or the Monarch Julia. The people of Chester's Mill have to support each other and find a way to live. It can send them signals like that scenario where Big Jim is stabbed and bleeding, which was a message to get rid of him because he's bad for you, but the dome can't do it. The people have to rule themselves.
Let's talk about who or what is keeping the town under the dome and what they're protecting the town from.
Baer: When Alice appeared, Julia said, "I don't think that's your mother," so that's a taste of what's coming next season.
So more visions of people?
Baer: And we never know through which characters these visions will come. We've lost Alice, Dodee (Jolene Purdy), Rose (Beth Broderick), Reverend Coggins (Ned Bellamy) and Duke (Jeff Fahey), so you just don't know what's going to happen.
I have a theory: We've never actually seen the pink stars fall. They're always rising. But if you were watching the dome from space, like an alien would, then the pink stars would be falling toward you. Am I crazy or are these aliens?
Baer: Interesting. That's a very good theory. The pink stars did rise from the egg last night, but they did fall to clear the curtains. But we will understand what "falling in lines" means. That's a good theory. We're not going to drop the pink stars falling.
Is this black egg essentially the key to everything?
Baer: It is a key, definitely. We'll be exploring it, if we can find it. Alien Alice said the dome is there to protect them, so they need to protect the egg at all costs. Julia had to make a decision whether or not to take the egg and try to do something with it to bring the dome down or to protect the egg. She chose, as the Monarch, to protect the egg because there was a chance the egg could be the key to bringing the dome down.
There has been some backlash following the finale that you didn't really provide enough answers. What do you say to the fans?
Baer: I think we provided a big answer last night, which is that the dome is there to protect them and that there is some alien force — as we saw through Alien Alice — so that's a big revelation that there's something beyond us, beyond Earth, that's controlling the dome. I think that's a big answer as to what's to come and how they're going to deal with that. There's also the revelation that Julia will play a huge role against Big Jim next season.
So you're saying for sure that this is aliens?
Baer: Well, who's Alice? Alice died, so what is that? Yes. It's something apart from Earth that took the form of Alice last night, so that's a huge revelation.
From the beginning, you guys said that this answer would be different than that of the book. It may not be children aliens putting them under the dome for fun, but you guys are going a similar route then?
Baer: If you say aliens or something apart from Earth, yeah, you could say that.
Will the big answers about the dome not be answered until the series ends?
Baer: We just have to see how it all unfolds because we gave you a lot of stuff in the finale with Alien Alice, so I can't say until we see how it unfolds story wise.
What did you think of the season finale of Under the Dome?
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)