Some major cast members have been announced for CBS All Access’ adaptation of The Stand, along with the news that Stephen King, on whose book the series is based, will be penning a new coda for its finale. Previously adapted as a miniseries in 1994, The Stand takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a weaponized virus spreads into a global pandemic and kills off almost the entire population of the planet save for isolated survivors who are inexplicably immune, while also bringing about the complete collapse of worldwide society.
The Stand is a sprawling saga that follows the cross-country journeys of an increasingly expansive number of survivors, who meet each other on the road and band together for safety. Over time they gather together into two locations: Boulder, Colorado, whose inhabitants try to restore the ideals of freedom and democracy under the benevolent leadership of centennial Mother Abigail who receives visions from God, while those of a darker and more selfish disposition are drawn to Las Vegas, a city of vice and chaos under the tyrannical rule of Randall Flagg, a pseudo-demonic entity who has appeared in various guises in a number of King’s other novels, most notably The Dark Tower series.
Reported by THR, four of the show’s central roles have been cast. James Marsden will play Stu Redman, an everyman whose quiet intelligence results in him rising to a position of authority in Boulder, and Amber Herd will play Nadine Cross, a teacher conflicted by a sense of destiny that draws her towards dark forces, both of which confirm earlier reports that they were in talks to star. Also, Odessa Young will play Frannie Goldsmith, a pregnant college student determined to keep doing what’s right in the face of the world’s descent into a bleak future; and Henry Zaga will play Nick Andros, a deaf-mute young drifter who overcomes circumstance to become the leader of a band of survivors.
The casting announcements were followed by news from Deadline that the events of series would continue beyond the end of the novel. Although the book climaxes with its titular confrontation, a lengthy epilogue continued events for some time afterwards, ending on an ambiguous note that leaves the ultimate fate of the surviving characters uncertain. This new coda, to be penned by King himself, will provide a more in-depth exploration into how life progressed after the book’s events ended.
Given the huge number of characters The Stand contains, these will only be the first of numerous announcements that will fill out the cast in the coming weeks, their volume likely illustrating to newcomers to the story of just how expansive it is. As for the new ending, with The Stand already being a lengthy and sprawling story (at 1,152 pages, it’s the longest book King has ever published) it might be questionable whether it needs any more added to it, but given the greater length of time the coda is to reportedly cover, it will likely provide a sense of closure that has previously been one of the few things the story lacked.