Everything you need to know about 'The Stand'

The Boulder Free Zone.
(Image credit: CBS All Access)

Stephen King's 1978 post-apocalyptic novel The Stand is set in a world that's been decimated by a plague, and the latest adaptation had been in the works well before current events made the subject matter more unsettling. King's novel might not have been written about the world's current situation, but if you've re-read it recently you know just how jarring some of the parallels to a thirty-year-old novel have been. 

The limited series starring Whoopi Goldberg and Alexander Skarsgård - and a whole host of others - will be headed to CBS All Access very soon. Here's everything you need to know about the show, starting with the first trailer! 

Where Can I Stream It?

All nine episodes of The Stand will be exclusively streaming on CBS All Access, with the first episode premiering on Thursday, December 17th. Don't stress if you miss an episode's "release time." CBS All Access works just like any other streaming service. No need to DVR, etc.! The service is also home to all of Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, making it a real haven for science fiction fans.

What is The Stand About?

Here's where things may get a bit dicey. We know that the CBS All Access series will take some liberties with King's book - hopefully the kind that brings some of the characters into this century - so the "about" here is more focused on King's novel than it is information revealed by CBS All Access. Mostly because there hasn't been any of that just yet! With that in mind, the very basic premise of the The Stand is the process and fall-out of a flu epidemic that wipes out 99% of humanity. Those who survive must find ways to do just that in this empty and strange new world. They wind up settling in Boulder and trying to reform society. 

The fate of mankind will be determined by a battle between good, represented by the nurturing 108-year-old woman Mother Abagail (Whoopi Goldberg), and evil in the Dark Man Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgård), who has terrible powers.

The adaptation is of King's longest novel - clocking in at 1,152 pages in its longest iteration - meaning we could be here for quite some time if we were to explain everything. But above gives you the basic gist. While it is possible to ingest the complete novel in the time before you have the series, you'd need to be sure there's pretty much nothing else going on in your life. Even if the page count doesn't deter you, it is a great but not at all quick read.  

Who's in the Cast?

Short answer? Everybody. King's novel has an aggressive number of characters as it attempts to depict the remaining 1% of humanity and their reactions to this new world. However, there are some key players that we can outline. 

  • Stu Redman (James Marsden)
  • Larry Underwood (Jovan Adepo) 
  • Mother Abegail (Whoopi Goldberg) 
  • Nadine Cross (Amber Heard) 
  • Tom Cullen (Brad William Henke) 
  • Julie Lawry (Katherine McNamara) 
  • Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgärd)
  • Sergeant Cobb (Daniel Sunjata) 
  • Harold Lauder (Owen Teague) 
  • Lloyd Henreid (Nat Wolff)
  • Frannie Goldsmith (Odessa Young) 
  • Nick Andros (Henry Zaga) 
  • Joe (Gordon Cormier) 
  • Trashcan Man (Ezra Miller)
  • Teddy Weizak (Eion Bailey)

... and that's just a quick look. We've put together a more in-depth character guide if you're looking to make more sense of the who's who among all those names. But you'll be meeting all of them soon enough! 

When Will It Premiere?

The end of the world begins when The Stand premieres on December 17. New episodes of the nine-episode series release weekly on Thursdays.