The latest adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand debuted on CBS All Access last December, but with the streaming service having since rebranded as Paramount+, the first episode of the adaptation has been made available for free on YouTube. While the iconic tome from King was previously adapted into a four-episode series in 1994, this latest adaptation once again enlisted top-tier talent, though its production budget largely eclipsed that previous take on the material. Additionally, this new adaptation ran for nine episodes, allowing for even more of the source material to be brought to life, while it also featured an all-new epilogue crafted by King himself.
The Stand is Stephen 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 in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man.
James Marsden, Amber Heard, Heather Graham, Odessa Young, Jovan Adepo, Owen Teague, Henry Zaga, Brad William Henke, Eion Bailey, Katherine McNamara, Hamish Linklater, Alexander Skarsgård, Greg Kinnear, and Whoopi Goldberg all star in the new series. Josh Boone serves as the showrunner of the adaptation.
The Stand is one of King's most beloved stories, as it blends together horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and drama into one unforgettable experience. Given that the story features a deadly virus that wipes up nearly the entire human population, audiences weren't entirely thrilled to wade into those waters as we dealt with the real-world coronavirus pandemic.
For those who might have been apprehensive about the eerie subject matter, executive producer Ben Cavell previously detailed why this adaptation spent less time detailing the horrors of the virus, also known as "Captain Trips."
"I'm not certain that there is a particular set of things where I felt like, 'Oh, those aren't vital,' or that there was a particular set of things that I felt were. Certainly, I knew that we weren't going to fundamentally alter the characters and the way that we understand them. We were gonna have those iconic characters that are so iconic in the book as much as possible," Cavell detailed to Collider. "The timeline is probably the biggest shift that we made, and that felt important to me. I love the first third of the book, but I don't know that an audience wants to sit through three episodes of the world dying before we get to the meat of the story. The Stand doesn't seem to me to really be a book about a pandemic. That first third of the book is the narrative of the pandemic, which at this point now, we've seen done so brilliantly by Steven Soderbergh in Contagion. It just felt very clear to us that it was gonna be an awful challenge to try to do that better than Steven Soderbergh."
He continued, "The book is about what comes after – this elemental struggle between the forces of Flagg and the forces of Mother Abagail, and the pandemic is a mechanism. If this is King's The Lord of the Rings in the United States, as he has said, then Captain Trips is the mechanism to empty out the world so that the heroes can walk to Mordor. The idea of wallowing in it for the first 300 pages of the book just felt like something we didn't wanna do. And now, given the context in which we find ourselves releasing the show, I feel even better about that approach, but I felt good about it anyway. I stand by the idea that just rubbing people's faces in Captain Trips for episode after episode before we start the real stand part of The Stand just never appealed to me."
All episodes of The Stand are now streaming on Paramount+.
Will you be checking out the series? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!