The Stand Is Coming This Holiday Season, as if Deadly Viruses Weren't Already on Your Mind

A new logo for The Stand.
A new logo for The Stand.
Image: CBS

This holiday season, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself celebrating with your family, why not sit back, relax, and watch a story about a deadly virus wiping out humanity? And no, we’re not talking about the news.


CBS All Access will debut its highly anticipated adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand on December 17. After that, eight more episodes (nine total) will premiere weekly on Thursdays. Josh Boone (The New Mutants) directed the premiere and finale of the series, which features a new coda written by King. The show stars Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg and Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail, leading a massive ensemble that also includes James Marsden, Odessa Young, Amber Heard, Owen Teague, Henry Zaga, Nat Wolff, Eion Bailey, Jovan Adepo, Heather Graham, Katherine McNamara, Fiona Dourif, Natalie Martinez, Hamish Linklater, Daniel Sunjata, and Greg Kinnear, among others.

Of course, unlike the covid-19 pandemic, the virus of The Stand wipes out almost 99% of the population as opposed to the other way around. But nevertheless, the timing of this release during a global pandemic, after a long and well-documented road to the big screen, feels more than a little creepy. Typical Stephen King stuff.

“During the two years we spent making The Stand, we all felt the responsibility of adapting what may be the most beloved work of one of the world’s most beloved storytellers, but none of us could have imagined that Stephen King’s 40-year-old masterpiece about a global pandemic would come to be so eerily relevant,” showrunner Benjamin Cavell said in a statement shared by Variety. “We’re honored to tell this sprawling, epic story, including a new coda that Stephen King has wanted to add for decades. We’re so proud of this show and its attempt to find meaning and hope in the most uncertain of times. We can’t wait to share it with the world.”

And that begins December 17.

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Entertainment Reporter. NYU Cinema Studies Alum. Formerly Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and /Film. AP Award-Winning Film Critic & CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.



I often wonder if King is mentally (and/or “spiritually”) on the same wave length as he when writing this book—I recall an NPR interview where he def. seemed to be less clear on his beliefs...and I think his novel Revival also taps into those thoughts.

(I mean, the obv. answer is “no, he’s not the same person” since folks change and develop and grow in ideas)

But for a morality tale like The Stand, it can be viewed through a (literal) ham-fisted evangelical perspective that I’d wager he doesn’t have anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like The Stand...I just think it would be interesting to see it deviate from the book (and the 90s mini-series) this time around.

**Mental Pivot**

Heh. In typing all that, I realize that I’m projecting—and I simply want 2020 The Stand to align with how I’ve also changed in my view of “spirituality.”

Except for Trash Can Man. Trash Can Man, don’t you ever change.