The Stand EPs on Why the Story Is Not About a Pandemic

In Stephen King's The Stand a horrifying pandemic -- a superflu called "Captain Trips" -- wipes out most of the world's population and leaves the survivors to not only establish a new world but take a stand in a battle between good and evil. Considering that in real-world 2020 mankind is dealing with its own pandemic, the release of CBS All Access' limited series adaptation of the iconic King novel may seem a little eerily timely. However, the series' executive producers say that just because there's a pandemic in The Stand doesn't mean that's what the story is about.

In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Benjamin Cavell and Taylor Elmore spoke about how no one anticipated just how devastating the real-life pandemic would be, but that The Stand offers a chance to see what's on the other side -- and that it's a story about the characters, not disease.

"I remember when we were in Vancouver shooting and we started hearing noise about it," Elmore said about the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic. "When then the notices started going up, being taped up in the bathrooms, saying 'wash your hands, be extra careful, there's this cold going around.' And I don't think anybody anticipated just how devastating this was going to be, but we certainly were making jokes about it at first and then, later on, we're not making so many jokes about it. We wound up having to cut the entire show remotely from home, essentially, which is unprecedented for a show this size. I hate to say it was a good challenge because that sort of undercuts how awful everything is that led up to the challenge, but it's been really interesting to try and work. I kind of got this feeling when it started getting awful that it would be no fun to work on the show, but it hasn't been the case at all really. It's been kind of therapeutic really, to get a chance to get through that stuff and see the other side. And, of course, the other side of Captain Trips is a hellscape but hopefully we'll have better luck."

Cavell added that for both himself and Elmore, King's novel really isn't even about a pandemic in the first place. It's just part of the story.

"The fact is for both of us, the book's not really about a pandemic," Cavell said. "I mean, there is a pandemic in the book and it kind of creates the circumstances for an empty world, you know, across which our characters can walk to Mordor, but you know the story is not the story of a pandemic. And that's a big part of why we are telling this in a nonlinear way, that we didn't want to just go through this very linear story in which the first three episodes are all about a pandemic and the kind of death of the world. I mean, this book is about what comes after and this elemental struggle between good and evil. And that was going to be the story we were telling whether there was a pandemic or not in the real world."

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The Stand is set to premiere on Thursday, December 17. New episodes will premiere weekly exclusively for CBS All Access subscribers.