This question has been around since Part 3 and we have yet to receive an answer as of Part 9. As the different story lines begin to converge, I believe the question is important to understanding the larger story that The Return is attempting to tell.
I’m going to explore 3 possibilities:
MR C / BOB CREATED DOUGIE
Early on in The Return, Mr C says he has a plan to not get pulled back into the Black Lodge. In Part 3 we are introduced to Dougie Jones who looks a lot like Mr C and Cooper. He also has the Owl Cave ring on his left hand. At 2:53, he and Mr C both get sick. Dougie vomits first and is pulled into the Black Lodge. Philip Gerard sees Dougie and tells him that there has been a trick and that he was manufactured. His head pops off and all that remains of Dougie is a golden marble.
The first option is that Mr C created Dougie in 1997 in an effort to ensure that he stays in the real world. He knows that at some point in the future, the Lodge itself or something will attempt to pull him back into another dimension. By creating a duplicate of himself and Cooper, he can trick the Lodge into pulling Dougie, as long as he can keep the vomit in longer than his manufactured entity.
The second step in his plan is to kill the real Agent Dale Cooper who will have replaced him. By working with the DoppleArm, BOB and Mr C can ensure that Cooper doesn’t arrive smoothly back into the real world. Once he arrives in Las Vegas, hired hit men will ensure that Cooper is finally dead and Mr C is free to roam the Earth without fear of having a dimensional exchange in the future.
This is the way I’ve been viewing the story up to Parts 8 and 9. After watching the newest hours, this possibility is still on the table but we also have new ones that are just as plausible.
THE GIANT (???????) & DIDO CREATED DOUGIE
In Part 8, we watch as a Laura orb is created from ???????’s head. Dido takes the orb and sends it through a strange flute-like device to earth. It could be said that ??????? “manufactured” this orb of Laura. If this is a manufacturing of an individual then it opens the door for the option that these two entities did the same with Dougie. But we have to ask the question WHY.
Part 8 may give us the answer to this. In 1945, ??????? watched as humans either ripped open portals to other dimensions or created a new kind of evil. One thing is likely – BOB entered this world on July 16, 1945. The alarm in this other world went off, and it alerted ??????? and Dido to the issue. ??????? watched it occur on a screen, and as a response, Laura’s orb was created. Whether the orb creation happened in 1945 or some point thereafter, we can’t be sure yet. Regardless, it does appear that the creation of the Laura orb was in direct response to the evil that was created.
1945 was the first domino that fell that has led us to where we are today – the possession of Leland, the death of Laura Palmer, which brings Cooper to Twin Peaks, and ultimately the event that brings the Evil Cooper into the world. Even though the White and Black Lodges are ancient entities, it appears that BOB and the evil that The Experiment created is new, putting the White and Black Lodge out of balance.
It may be the job of ??????? and Dido to right what is wrong and they do this through the production of Laura’s orb which will help bring back balance. Cooper places a instrumental role in this process. One small step in this plan is to ensure that Mr C is killed and can never return.
If Cooper hadn’t been stopped by DoppleArm, Cooper more than likely would have arrived where Mr C was and Mr C would have been pulled back into the Lodge allowing him the ability to exit again. Dido and ??????? knew the Good Cooper was going to be stopped by DoppleArm and would be thrown into space by the floor opening up. They had to get Cooper into the real world so that he had a chance to kill Mr C.
In order to get Cooper into the real world safely, a stand-in had to be created – Dougie. Dido and ??????? manufactured Dougie so that Cooper could ultimately change places with him, instead of Mr C.
Philip Gerard is not privy to any of this information – that is why he is surprised when Dougie appears.
BRIGGS CREATED DOUGIE
We know from Part 9 that Major Briggs has been hibernating in another dimension for the last 25 years. We also know that his fingerprints have popped up over a dozen times since his death. This suggests that Briggs has been actively working on something in the real world while hiding out.
Maybe Briggs has been working on bringing Cooper out of the Lodge and back to the real world. And to do this, he needed to create Dougie. Because he appears to know aspects of the future, he knows what could happen. He knows that DoopleArm would attempt to kill Cooper 25 years later and as a result, Briggs has been instrumental in making sure that Cooper arrives safely. He could be behind the Glass Box which may have pulled Cooper out of space and then sent him to the strange room floating in space.
Much like above, a placeholder needs to be in place to ensure Cooper arrives safely and that placeholder is Dougie Jones.
I’m not sure if either of these options are correct, or if it’s a mix of one or two or all of them — they all have merit, and I’m not sure which one I like the most. BOB creating Dougie is the simplest and most straightforward. But the complexity of Dougie being created by ??????? or Briggs is juicy.
All three options result in the same thing. Cooper replaces Dougie. Mr C puts a hit on Dougie (either knowing that he is a placeholder or knowing that Dougie is Cooper) to ensure that he remains in this dimension. And as long as Cooper remains asleep, he is in danger.