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'Under the Dome' adds new cast, new sets and new deaths for season 2 premiere

Alexander Koch, Mike Vogel, and Dean Norris in "Under the Dome."
Alexander Koch, Mike Vogel, and Dean Norris in "Under the Dome."
CBS/Brownie Harris, with permission

"Under the Dome" returns for its second season tonight and it is the season of transformation. Season 1 was the season where secrets were revealed when the characters first became trapped under the dome. The effect was like a hot house and the secrets grew and bloomed.

In Season 2, the residents of Chester's Mill will discover what they are truly made of. In the premiere, we witness the untimely death of a beloved character. But because the rules of living under the dome are different than outside, the death doesn't mean that the character will disappear for good.

Executive producer Neal Baer spoke to for the premiere of the series. Here are the spoilers he revealed for Season 2:

No. 1 -- Stephen King is writing the first episode of Season 2.

No. 2. -- Each season is only going to be two weeks in the lives of the residents of Chester's Mill, so potentially the series could go for more a decade and it would still be less than a year.

No. 3 -- New characters:

Eddie Cahill will play Sam Verdreaux, Big Jim's (Dean Norris) brother-in-law, who has been a recluse for ten years since his wife died. He is an alcoholic.

Karla Crome will join as Rebecca Pine, who is a school teacher, so "Under the Dome" can get into the science versus faith elements this season. Rebecca represents scientific explanations for what's going on, while Rachelle Lefevre's character, Julia, is really much more about faith, and Big Jim is in the middle trying to figure it out.

Grace Victoria Cox plays Melanie Cross, a young woman Julia pulls out of the lake. She is a pivotal character whose connection -- particularly why she came out of the water, what she was doing there -- will be revealed.

Sherry Stringfield will play Pauline, and will be reunited with her "ER" co-star Eric LaSalle, who will be directing Sherry in episode ten.

Max Ehrich will appear in a couple of episodes. Initially, Ehrich will appear as a digital character named Hunter, who figures out that there is a break in the Dome through which Internet messages can pass. In episode three, Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) and Joe (Colin Ford) start to get messages from Hunter, and we will actually meet him in Episode 8

Dwight Yoakam will play a town barber, who gets to hold a blade Big Jim's throat.

No. 4: New properties for the dome:

It's definitely magnetic in the premiere, bringing kitchen appliances, and nails movement.

"Under the Dome" loves the butterfly metaphor. So this is a season about ecological disaster impending. In early episodes the characters, particularly Big Jim, will confront almost biblical problems of pestilence, bloody rain and more because our characters haven't been the stewards of protecting the land and protecting each other, as they should have. So they have a lot to learn this year and the dome is teaching them.

No. 5: New sets

The radio station was burned down last year, so there is a new set, which is the high school, where Rebecca Pine teaches. There are some really interesting things happening in that school this season.

"Under the Dome" premieres its second season tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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