Back in mid-2019, it felt like fantastic news to hear that Stephen King’s The Stand was getting the remake treatment with a limited series on the CBS All Access streaming service. Then six months passed, and you-know-what happened, and suddenly, this show seemed like the victim of unfortunate timing. Yes, King’s book is widely considered to be one of the best post-apocalyptic works of fiction, but perhaps a revisiting of the Captain Trips virus that obliterated 99% of Earth’s population isn’t such a great idea in 2020. Well, CBS All Access has thought this through, and they still got production back on track to move ahead with a December 17 release.
Variety quotes The Stand showrunner Benjamin Cavell about why the time might still be right for this remake, despite it feeling all-too-eerily relevant:
“During the two years we spent making ‘The Stand,’ we all felt the responsibility of adapting what may be the most beloved work of one of the world’s most beloved storytellers, but none of us could have imagined that Stephen King’s 40-year-old masterpiece about a global pandemic would come to be so eerily relevant. We’re honored to tell this sprawling, epic story, including a new coda that Stephen King has wanted to add for decades. We’re so proud of this show and its attempt to find meaning and hope in the most uncertain of times. We can’t wait to share it with the world.”
The cast for the upcoming remake bolsters some pretty impressive names, check out the full cast below:
James Marsden as Stu Redman, Amber Heard as Nadine Cross, Greg Kinnear as Glen Bateman, Odessa Young as Frannie Goldsmith, Henry Zaga as Nick Andros, Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abagail, Jovan Adepo as Larry Underwood, Owen Teague as Harold Lauder Brad William Henke as Tom Cullen, Daniel Sunjata as Cobb, Marilyn Manson, Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg, Nat Wolff as Lloyd Henreid, Eion Bailey as Teddy Weizak, Katherine McNamara as Julie Lawry, Hamish Linklater as Dr. Ellis, Heather Graham as Rita Blakemoor, Irene Bedard as Ray Brentner, and Luca Batista as Young Nick.
The Stand is described as “King’s apocalyptic vision of a world decimated by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil. The fate of mankind rests on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail and a handful of survivors. Their worst nightmares are embodied by a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the nefarious ‘Dark Man.'”
King has also written a new ending for the remake. King reveals it will tie up loose ends of the main characters and has been on his mind for 30 years. “for fans of the book who have wondered what became of the survivors of The Stand, this episode will contain a story that takes us beyond the book to answer those questions.”
The original novel had over 400 pages that tied up a lot of loose ends however they had to cut it because King’s publisher at the time couldn’t physically print such a large manuscript. By 1991, King was with another publisher who could, so an uncut, 1,200-page version set in the 1990s was released, with a new and more ominous coda. This time, Flagg has survived the “hand of God”/nuclear explosion, and been transported to an island peopled by a “primitive; simple; unlettered” people. He starts again.
Maybe it just shows that in the end it isn’t about good vs evil or right and wrong. Maybe it’s about choice. Choice chooses what we become. Maybe that was the point King was trying to make. Either way, we will find out when the series arrives on CBS All Access this December.