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SYFY WIRE the stand

The Stand casts Whoopi Goldberg, Alexander Skarsgard as oppossing leaders of humanity

By Josh Weiss
Whoopi Goldberg Alexander Skarsgard

The Stand miniseries coming to CBS All Access has found its Mother Abigail and Randall Flagg in the forms of Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost) and Alexander Skarsgård (Godzilla vs. Kong). These major casting confirmations were reported by Entertainment Weekly and Collider, respectively.

As much as we may have been hoping that Oprah would land the role of Abigail Freemantle, Goldberg is still an excellent choice — an actor who often exemplifies wisdom, experience, and overall trustworthiness. In the book written by Stephen King, Freemantle is a 108-year-old woman with supernatural abilities to rival those of the story's main antagonist, Randall Flagg. When a super-flu virus wipes out most of humanity, the aged woman from Nebraska becomes the de facto leader of the survivors, who view her as a sort of Moses/Messiah that will save them from Flagg's growing evil. In the original ABC television adaptation from 1994, Mother Abigail was portrayed by Ruby Dee (as seen below).

Inspired by Sauron in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Flagg is Abigail's polar opposite, a mysterious entity who can perform great feats of black magic, like possessing wolves to attack his enemies. When the flu hits, Randall (who may or may not be Satan) seizes his chance to form a growing movement of peons he will use to overtake Abigail and her disciples. Consolidating his power in the western part of the United States, Flagg sets up shop in Las Vegas and crucifies anyone who disagrees with his methods. Characters like Harold Lauder, Nadine Cross, Trashcan Man, and Lloyd Henreid are all essential to the villain's story arc. In the '94 miniseries, he was portrayed by Jamey Sheridan.

Interestingly, Alexander will be the second Skarsgård sibling to take up the post of an iconic King villain after his younger brother, Bill, played Pennywise in the two IT films for Andy Muschietti. 

Ruby Dee Whoopi Goldberg The Stand

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Goldberg and  Skarsgard are just two of six new additions to the project, which is being helmed by Josh Boone (The Fault in Our StarsThe New Mutants).

The miniseries has also added Jovan Adepo (Overlord) as Larry Underwood, a musician who becomes a major leader among the surviving humans just as his career begins to take off; Owen Teague (Black Mirror) as Harold Lauder, a teenage boy and traveling buddy of Frannie Goldsmith whose fate becomes entwined with that of Flagg; Brad William Henke (Orange Is the New Black) as Tom Cullen, the slow-witted, but kindhearted traveling partner of Nick Andros; and Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me) as Cobb, a member of the military tasked with watching Stu Redman after the protagonist shows signs of being immune to the super-flu, sometimes referred to as "Captain Tripps."

James Marsden (Stu Redman), Odessa Young (Frannie Goldsmith), Amber Heard (Nadine Cross), Henry Zaga (Nick Andros), and Greg Kinnear (Glen Bateman) were all previously confirmed as main players in the highly-anticipated miniseries.