After a year in which all the things we enjoyed doing were taken away from us due to a deadly pandemic our government did nearly nothing to prevent, CBS All Access will comfort us with the story of an even deadlier plague that kills 99% of the population and gives rise to an authoritarian hellbilly. That’s right, the streamer has, at long last, announced a December 17 premiere date for its 8-part adaptation of Stephen King’s epic The Stand. Merry Christmas!
Alexander Skarsgard stars as the demonic Randall Flagg, while Whoopi Goldberg plays the saintly Mother Abigail. The two, which serve as beacons of dark and light, respectively, serve as magnets for the survivors of a super-flu that’s devastated the globe. James Marsden, Greg Kinnear, Odessa Young, Amber Heard, Jovan Adepo, and Owen Teague are just a handful of the names that will make up the story’s vast ensemble.
A press release announcing the premiere date also contains a few new nuggets of casting information. Native American actress Irene Bedard (Smoke Signals) will play Ray Brentner, presumably a gender-swapped version of the original’s Ralph Brentner, a kindly farmer. Another gender-swapped character is the Rat Man (now the Rat Woman), a sneering agent of Flagg that was memorably played by Rick Aviles in the 1994 miniseries. Fiona Dourif, daughter of Brad Dourif, will step into that role. As for who’s playing the eccentric Trash Can Man, well, that’s still a mystery. Marilyn Manson, we’re looking in your direction.
“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. He goes on to remind us that King has written a new ending for this version of the story. “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.”
The Stand’s eight episodes will unfold weekly on Thursdays on CBS All Access. Below, check out the show’s logo.