We can only imagine that the higher-ups at CBS are thanking themselves right now that someone decided many months ago that the 2020 version of Stephen King’s The Stand should start some time after the country is destroyed by a killer viral pandemic. The devastation wrought by the deadly “Captain Trips” germ will no doubt still be difficult to watch for many Americans, given that fact that our own COVID-19 pandemic continues unabated, but at least it won’t be a major focus of the mini-series, as it is in King’s original 1978 novel. That might have just been too much to bear.
Audiences are now getting their first look at this new version of The Stand, which has been quietly biding its time at CBS All Access for a while now, but has a Dec. 2020 release date. Sporting a true ensemble cast, including the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Greg Kinnear, Heather Graham, Nat Wolff, Amber Heard, Alexander Skarsgard and many others, The Stand is an epic tale of post-apocalyptic survival, in which those who were immune to the deadly virus struggle to pick up the pieces afterward, while a madman takes advantage of the situation to bring about the ultimate conflict.
That madman, the supernatural provocateur known as Randall Flagg, is considered one of King’s most iconic villains, and a character who is represented in a variety of King properties in different forms, including The Dark Tower. Here, he’ll be played by the cooly seductive Alexander Skarsgard, which sort of makes sense—Flagg is supposed to be a guy with an undefinable aura of cool and charisma about him, which he uses to form a cult of personality of post-apocalypse America and stockpile weapons for a final battle against the forces of good. Here’s hoping that Skarsgard can pull off the denim-centric wardrobe of “the walkin’ dude.”
The rest of the glimpses we see in the teaser below are short, but important. There’s Heather Graham and Jovan Adepo, picking their way through abandoned cars in an urban environment. You see a bit of Greg Kinnear, prowling the interior of an abandoned mental hospital. You see a second or two of Skarsgard, seeming to levitate off the ground. And of course, you see Whoopi as Mother Abigail, the ancient spiritual leader of the survivors who build a new world in the “Boulder Free Zone” community.
It remains to be seen how seriously this CBS series will take the horror of the Captain Trips pandemic, but one has to imagine it will be an intense watch no matter what. Check out the teaser below—The Stand is scheduled to arrive on Dec. 17 on CBS All Access.