A post-apocalyptic, dark fantasy set in a world where ninety-nine percent of humanity is wiped out by a weaponized strain of influenza, The Stand seems to be the last Stephen King novel that CBS should have adapted into a nine part limited series for their streaming service. People have been living under the looming shadow of a real global pandemic for months now, they wouldn’t want to tune in to a show where they watch their worst fears come to life, right? On the contrary, as Stephen King’s The Stand is about far more than the end of civilization.
Set to air some time later this year on CBS All Access, the show is reportedly going to be a faithful retelling of the original source material, following characters Stu Redman, Frannie Goldsmith, Glen Bateman, Nick Andros, Nadine Gross, and more as they travel across what’s left of the United States to reach Mother Abigail. These will be played by James Mardsen, Odessa Young, Greg Kinnear, Henry Zaga, Amber Heard, and Whoopi Goldberg, respectfully. The cast also comprises Brad William Henke as Tom Cullen, Owen Teague as Harold Lauder, and Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg (I guess playing Stephen King villains runs in the family!)
For those of you who may not be familiar with the plot of The Stand, Mother Abigail is a 108-year-old black woman living in the fictional town of Hemingford Home, Nebraska. The survivors of the superflu have dreams leading them to her, and together they form the Free Zone in Boulder, Colorado, a new society where everyone can live happily and lawfully. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Randall Flagg, an otherworldly supernatural entity, amasses his own following, and constructs a fascist dictatorship bent on obliterating the Free Zone. As the book progresses, tension between the two groups escalates, resulting in espionage, firefights, and even the detonation of a nuclear warhead.
The Stand isn’t about the pandemic, not really. The pandemic is more just the backdrop, the inciting incident that leads to the war between Randall Flagg and Mother Abigail. The Stand is really about the fight between good and evil, not just the literal interpretation with Mother Abigail being the good and Randall Flagg being the bad, but the symbolic war between good and evil in oneself. In times of conflict, in times of strife, people have a question to ask themselves: are we to work together to get through these hard times, or are we to fight amongst ourselves and only ensure that the strongest survive? Do we embrace humanitarianism or Darwinism? Do we indulge in our dark, selfish instincts or do we do what’s right for the sake of others?
This is why The Stand couldn’t be coming out at a better time, because it’s not just about a plague, but about people coming together and sacrificing for the betterment of all. So, please, keep doing your part to prevent this virus from spreading to those at risk!