Eagle-eyed Stephen King fans are going to want to pay close attention to all nine episodes of CBS All Access’ The Stand, because the author is going to show up in a cameo just like he did for the 1994 miniseries.
Today at the Television Critics Association virtual panel presentation of CBS All Access’ The Stand, showrunner Benjamin Cavell told SYFY WIRE and other outlets that asked about King making an appearance that, “I would say there’s a chance you may see him this time.”
Some of the new limited series’ cast, including James Marsden (Stu Redmond), Whoopi Goldberg (Mother Abigail), Amber Heard (Nadine Cross), Jovan Adepo (Larry Underwood) and Odessa Young (Frannie Goldsmith), joined Cavell to discuss their adaption which drops episodes weekly starting December 17, 2020.
The Stand remains one of King’s most popular works. The post-apocalyptic epic tracks how an extreme virus cuts down 99 percent of the population and then the survivors are compelled to migrate either to Boulder, Colorado or Las Vegas, Nevada. Originally published in 1978, it was then re-released in 1990 in a Complete and Uncut Edition. Cavell confirmed that their CBS All Access adaptation is based on that extended book version. “We had to make some decision to include, or not include, some things in the extended version,” he said. And this adaptation also restores some characters left out of the popular ABC miniseries like book character Rita Blakemore, who will be played by Heather Graham.
More importantly, Cavell says King’s eyes and prolific hands are all over this adaptation including new material King has been mulling over the past 30 years.
“He wrote a coda that is our ninth episode,” Cavell confirmed. “It will be completely new to the entire audience. I can, and will say, the big reason he wanted to do the coda was, he was thinking about for [the last] 30 years that Frannie doesn’t go on 'the stand' in the book. She’s seven or eight months pregnant, and can’t walk across the mountains to face the Dark Man. It always ate at him that she was one of the heroes of the book, and she was never given her ‘stand.’ The coda is his planned attempt for the last 30-years to give her her ‘stand.’”
Adding to the King familial ties is the author’s son, Owen King, who was in the limited series' writers' room and wrote on a number of the scripts.
Cavell added that he was personally emailing King during the writing process for input. “King read every draft and signed off on every draft,” he confirmed. “To have him vetting every script by reading it and he had an open line of communication with Owen and me…vetting all the changes we made to characters in real time.”
And aside from King’s mystery cameo, fans of the ABC miniseries may also recognize the face of that adaptation’s director, horror legend Mick Garris. That was the idea of the new adaptation’s pilot and finale director, Josh Boone (The New Mutants). Cavell shared, “We discussed it and are all fans of the original miniseries. Ours is a very different take on the book and story than they did but it felt like a fun Easter egg.”