The Stand NYCC panel arrived today and brought with it a new trailer that gives us our best look yet at the new Stephen King adaptation. Stars Whoopi Goldberg, James Marsden, Greg Kinnear, Amber Heard, Jovan Adepo, Odessa Young, and Owen Teague alongside showrunner Benjamin Cavell and executive producer Taylor Elmore were all on hand to discuss the upcoming adaptation, which seems to be sticking close to the book – while also updating things for a more modern age.
The Stand Trailer NYCC
The trailer above debuted at The Stand NYCC panel today, and I have to say, it’s a heck of a lot better than the teaser trailer. The teaser made the adaptation look rather small in scope, which is odd since Stephen King’s novel is so sprawling. This trailer, however, sells the widespread apocalyptic dread. During the panel (which you can watch below), the creative team behind the adaptation addressed the elephant in the room: COVID-19. As fate would have it, this story about a worldwide plague is arriving in the midst of a real worldwide plague – although that wasn’t planned, of course.
As showrunner Benjamin Cavell and executive producer Taylor Elmore explained, the scripts for The Stand were finished in 2018, and filming on the show wrapped in March 202o – which was just before things started to get very serious with COVID. While the virus in The Stand is far worse than coronavirus, Cavell and Elmore pointed out that the fact that Stephen King wrote his tale 40 years ago and we’re still talking about it today proves how prescient a writer he can be.
That 40-year gap between book and adaptation came up again when discussing the character of Mother Abigail, the godly woman who leads the “good” plague survivors against the “evil” survivors lead by Randall Flagg. Whoopi Goldberg plays Mother Abigail in the CBS All Access adaptation, and Goldberg pointed out that it was important that her take on the character wasn’t another “magical negro.” “I needed her not to be the little old black lady who has all the magic information,” Goldberg said.
As for Flagg – played by Alexander Skarsgård, who wasn’t on hand for the panel – the writers made sure to make him seem believable. Yes, he’s an evil supernatural being, but it was important “to make Flagg seem like a viable option; someone you can imagine people following.” I’m happy to hear this, because as much I love Stephen King, and as much as I enjoy The Stand, I’ll admit that some of the characters in his epic novel are a bit one dimensional, fitting far too easily into “good” or “evil” categories.
Beyond that, one thing the panel made clear is that this adaptation is sticking close to the book. The character motivations mostly all sound the same, as does the basic story – although all of it has been updated to reflect a more modern age rather than the 1970s, when the book was published. And there’s definitely going to be one major difference: the ending. Because this miniseries adaptation has a new coda written by King himself.
The Stand premieres on CBS All Access on December 17.
The Stand NYCC Panel
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