The Stand: 8 Questions We Still Have About The CBS Miniseries

The Stand Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail

More than a quarter century after its previous television adaptation, Stephen King’s The Stand is once again getting the small screen treatment. CBS All Access is making a brand new miniseries based on the epic, apocalyptic pandemic novel, and not only does it feature an excellent cast including James Marsden, Alexander Skarsgard, Jovan Adepo, Greg Kinnear, and Whoopi Goldberg, the timing of the project is downright prescient given everything that’s going on in the world. Needless to say, our anticipation for the series is through the roof – and that anticipation has led our minds to be filled with all kinds of questions about what to expect.

Creator Josh Boone and members of the cast have talked about the new take on The Stand, and we’ve seen a select number of stills officially released, but there is still a lot about the adaptation that we don’t know regarding both the content of the miniseries and the plans for its release. In this realm there are eight questions in particular that stick out, so without further ado let’s dig in, shall we?

The Stand miniseries cover

What Is The Stand’s Release Date?

One of the odd things about the current streaming age is that idea of strict seasonal releases for television shows has become antiquated. With programming not featured on anything like a network schedule where content needs to fill time slots, the production and launch of content has become practically randomized. An extension of this is that it’s common for audiences not to learn about drop dates until shortly before they happen, and it would appear that The Stand is taking that familiar route.

Having completed filming, with principal photography extending from last August to this past March, The Stand theoretically has all of the material it needs to get post-production work done (barring the need for any massive reshoots), but it has not yet been announced when the miniseries will be made available on CBS All-Access. The original impression given was that it would come out at some point in 2020, though at this time it’s unclear if work on the project is hampered or hindered in any way by the on-going real-life pandemic. This is definitely our most pressing question about the production, hence why it’s first in this feature.

The Stand Odessa Young as Frannie Goldsmith

When Can We Expect The First The Stand Trailer?

It’s entirely possible that CBS All-Access will opt to announce the release date for The Stand via the closing moments of its first trailer, and with any luck it won’t further tease us with a surprisingly long wait, but it has us asking a question similar to the first because we also don’t know when such a trailer might drop. Obviously we’re also curious about exactly what will be featured in the preview, but that’s secondary to just anticipating its availability.

We got super excited back in late May when the debut stills from The Stand were posted online, giving us our first look at Odessa Young as Frannie Goldsmith, Jovan Adepo as Larry Underwood, Alexander Skarsgard as Randall Flagg, and more, and at the time it had us wondering if footage would be made available shortly after. Two-and-a-half months later we’re still waiting.

The Stand Alexander Skarsgard as Randall Flagg

Will The Stand Be Binge-able Or Weekly?

Prior to this year, betting that The Stand would be a series with episodes made available weekly on CBS All Access would have been a safe move. After all, the service’s primary original content, including the Star Trek shows and the first season of The Twilight Zone, had that distribution model. Now, however, what to expect from the format of the release is unclear. CBS threw audiences a curveball when they announced in May that The Twilight Zone Season 2 was going to drop all 10 episodes at once in June, and now it makes one wonder how they may approach the new Stephen King adaptation.

If done properly, The Stand could definitely be a show that leaves audiences so hungry for more at the end of each episode that they gladly wait seven days for the next chapter, but CBS All-Access could also be looking to use the miniseries to draw in a massive influx of audience members during a time when we are all hungry for new content. It’s possible that the reason we haven’t heard about a release date yet is because making the show binge-able means that all of the episodes have to be finished at the exact same time, and the material just isn’t there yet.

The Stand Jovan Adepo and Heather Graham as Larry Underwood and Rita Blakemoor

How Will Modernity Influence The Story?

Published in its original form in 1978, Stephen King’s The Stand had readers imagine the year 1990 as one where a militarized virus breaks out of containment and causes the majority of the human population to die. The idea was for the book to be a depiction of the not-too-distant future… though obviously that chosen year is now 30 years in our past. In reflection, just about everything in the world has changed since the last decade of the 20th century, and it makes one wonder how the material will be forced to change as an extension of the technology boom and everything else that has happened post-2000.

One of the advantages of The Stand is that it is primarily set after the world has fallen apart, which means that the characters won’t be able to make much use of electronic and network devices like laptops, tablets and smart phones. That by itself is significant, however, given how important those machines have become in society, and there will be a certain onus on the show to reflect the influence on their absence. How that will go down, and how that will force the show to deviate from the source material is presently unclear.

Stephen King cameo in Sleepwalkers

What Can We Expect From The New Stephen King-Written Ending?

Speaking of deviating from the source material, one way in which we know that The Stand will be different than the original novel is that it will be sporting a wholly original ending – and we know this because the material is being handled by Stephen King himself. The beloved author co-wrote the script for the final episode of the new miniseries with his son, Owen King, and it’s been described as a coda for the book that has been with King for the last 30 years. But how will it impact the story with which we are already familiar?

Without getting into spoilers, the notion of a new chapter being added to this particular story is a remarkably exciting one. After all, The Stand is an “end of the world” epic, and the prospect of seeing a canon aftermath of events and what society has become is fascinating. The questions we have about it could fill their own feature.

The Stand book cover

Will It Leave Any Kind Of Opening For A Sequel?

Stephen King isn’t known for writing a lot of sequels, instead preferring to tell original stories with new characters in familiar locations, but it’s not a practice to which he is totally averse. After all, Doctor Sleep is a wonderful follow-up to The Shining, and he has written multiple books centering on retired detective Bill Hodges and Holly Gibney. Keeping that information in mind alongside the knowledge that the Master of Horror is writing a new final chapter for The Stand makes us wonder if there might be even the slightest possibility that there will be an open-endedness to the miniseries that could keep the door open for a follow-up.

This is obviously entirely speculative, but it’s worth noting that it wouldn’t exactly be an extraordinarily novel move given that we just saw something similar happen earlier this year with The Outsider on HBO. Being based on a single book, the Richard Price-created adaptation was expected to simply exist as a miniseries prior to the broadcast of the finale… but then said finale hit audiences with a post-credits scene hinting at the possibility of more to come (though nothing has been officially announced just yet). There’s nothing that currently suggests that The Stand adaptation on CBS All-Access will pull off a similar surprise, but the potential for it shouldn’t be ignored.

Marilyn Manson Sons of Anarchy

Is Marilyn Manson Really Playing The Trashcan Man?

While we may not have a trailer for The Stand yet, and only a few images have been released, one thing that’s nice about the confirmed cast list for the show is that it’s easy to imagine each of the actors who are playing significant protagonists and antagonists in the book. There is one key character who remains a big question mark, however, and that’s The Trashcan Man. The production has not yet announced who is playing the psychotic pyromaniac despite the fact that he is a key figure in Stephen King’s book… but we are very much hoping that rumors pan out to be true that the role is going to be portrayed by notorious rocker Marilyn Manson.

Manson confirmed in a July 2019 interview with Revolver that he is playing a character in The Stand (in addition to providing a cover of “The End” by The Doors), and while there has been no official word on the subject from CBS, speculation has been rampant. The rumor that he’s playing The Trashcan Man does seem legitimate in that he does have a fair bit of acting experience (with credits including episodes of Salem, Sons of Anarchy, and American Gods), but we won’t totally believe it until we’re either seeing it for ourselves, or the news is written into a press release.

The Stand masks and coverings

How Will The Stand Be Affected By The COVID-19 Pandemic?

Having completed production just prior to the classification of COVID-19 as a pandemic, The Stand won’t feature any direct references to the spread of the novel coronavirus – and that’s perfectly fine. After all, the craziness presented by the sickness known as Captain Trips in the original story should really be more than enough virus content for the show. That being said, there is another angle to consider in the matter, which is the way in which audiences will watch the adaptation while living through a far-less-apocalyptic version of similar events.

Given all that we’ve been through and witnessed in the last five months, each and every one of us has become a kind of expert in mid-pandemic behavior, and all of that experience will be at front of mind while watching what plays out in the early events of The Stand. Will it be a realistic depiction? We’ll have to wait and see, but what’s certain is that there are thousands of people in the world who now have the capability of offering authoritative critique.

We are hotly anticipating the answers to the questions above, and once they start to roll in you can be sure that we will share the information with you as quickly and efficiently as possible. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for all of the latest updates about The Stand all major upcoming Stephen King adaptations (of which there are so, so many).

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.