Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Doctor Sleep.
Doctor Sleep, the new adaptation of Stephen King's sequel to The Shining, brings back several characters from the original movie - the most obvious one being Danny Torrance, who is now a grown man and continuing to face his demons. The hardest demon of all to face, however, is his own father, Jack Torrance, who makes a surprise return in the movie's final act. Unlike The Irishman, Doctor Sleep didn't have a big enough budget to spend millions de-aging Jack Nicholson for a return to the role, so director Mike Flanagan instead cast actor Henry Thomas as Jack Torrance.
In the final act of Doctor Sleep, Dan Torrance returns to the now-condemned Overlook Hotel to set a trap for the movie's villain, Rose the Hat. Like his father, Dan struggled for years with alcholism, but managed to get clean and spend eight years without drinking a drop of alcohol. As he wanders around the hotel, waking it up, Dan finds himself in the same ballroom where his father was once tempted away from sobriety by a ghost. This time, though, it's Jack Torrance standing behind the bar, wearing a uniform and claiming that his name is Lloyd. Just as the original Lloyd once did, Jack pours a glass of scotch and offers it to Dan - but unlike his father, Dan finds the strength to resist.
Henry Thomas first big role was as Elliot in Stephen Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Doctor Sleep marks the fourth time that Thomas and Flanagan have worked together. Thomas appeared in Flanagan's previous horror movies Ouija: Origin of Evil and Gerald's Game, and also played another father figure, Hugh Crain, in Flanagan's acclaimed horror series The Haunting of Hill House. Between his passing resemblance to a young Jack Nicholson and a convincing affectation of Nicholson's performance, Thomas well may cause viewers to do a double take when he shows up in Doctor Sleep.
Doctor Sleep features three shots from The Shining, but otherwise the scenes that take place in the past feature new actors in the roles of the Torrance family. Roger Dale Floyd plays young Danny Torrance (who was originally played by Danny Lloyd), and Alex Essoe plays Wendy Torrance (taking over the role from Shelley Duvall). Dick Hallorann also returns as a ghost, this time around played by Carl Lumbly (succeeding the late Scatman Crothers, who played Hallorann in The Shining and passed away in 1986).
As de-aging technology grows more and more popular, Doctor Sleep demonstrates how effectively a simple bit of recasting and some carefully selected camera angles can bring a character like Jack Torrance back to life (so to speak). The fact that Thomas doesn't look exactly like Nicholson actually works in the film's favor, as combined with the character's insistence that he's just Lloyd the bartender, it leads the audience to question whether Dan really is seeing his father's ghost.