Fans of Stephen King already know that the author began writing his tremendous (and tremendously entertaining) “Under the Dome” over thirty years ago, but put the novel aside because he felt he couldn’t handle the logistics of having an entire town trapped in a giant “glass” prison cell. Before he finally finished the tome, he took a second crack at the material during the filming of he and George Romero’s “Creepshow.” That incarnation was called “The Cannibals” and according to King, was inspired by real life circumstances:
I spent two months in a depressing suburban apartment complex that became (with the usual fictional tweaks) the setting for the story. It was called The Cannibals, and this time I got a lot further—almost five hundred pages—before hitting a wall. I assumed the manuscript was lost.
But it wasn’t. The manuscript turned up around 2009 and King rolled the content into what became “Under the Dome.” Upon publication of the book, King made an excerpt of “The Cannibals” available on his website. He did so for two reasons: One, so fans could get a peek behind King’s creative curtain, And two, so folks would stop accusing King of ripping off the plot of “The Simpsons Movie,” which sees Mr. Burns seal Springfield under a giant dome. King said:
everal Internet writers have speculated on a perceived similarity between Under the Dome and The Simpsons Movie, where, according to Wikipedia, Homer’s town of Springfield is isolated inside a large glass dome (probably because of that pesky nuclear power plant). I can’t speak personally to this, because I have never seen the movie, and the similarity came as a complete surprise to me…although I know, from personal experience, that the similarity will turn out to be casual.
…this excerpt should demonstrate that I was thinking dome and isolation long before Homer, Marge, and their amusing brood came on the scene.
The cannibalism subplot didn’t make it into the final draft of “Under the Dome,” but according to an interview with The NY Times, King teased that if CBS’ “Under the Dome” adaptation is a hit, we could maybe, possibly see some of the human eating human action in the TV series. He said: “I never did get to cannibalism in ‘Dome…’” Adding, “But maybe after three or four seasons. …”
“Under the Dome” premieres tonight on CBS.