CBS All Access’ The Stand adds James Marsden, a new ending by Stephen King

Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic novel The Stand isn’t pretty, but the cast of CBS All Access’ adaptation sure is. In a press release, CBS announced that the upcoming 10-episode miniseries will feature James Marsden (Westworld) and Amber Heard (Aquaman), as well as up-and-coming stars Odessa Young (A Million Little Pieces) and Henry Zaga, who appeared in Netflix’s controversial 13 Reasons Why and the long-delayed The New Mutants.

That’s not all, though. CBS also revealed that Stephen King will write the final episode of The Stand, which will feature a new coda that didn’t appear in either the book or ABC’s award-winning 1994 miniseries.

In The Stand, Marsden plays everyman Stu Redman, a survivor of an apocalyptic event that pits the remaining men and women against each other in a battle of good versus evil. Heard will take on the role of Nadine Cross, an ally of recurring King nemesis Randall Flagg. Young’s Frannie Goldsmith is described as “a pregnant young woman navigating a strange new world,” while Zaga’s Nick Andros is “a young deaf and mute man who finds himself in a position of authority when the unthinkable happens.”

The latest adaptation of The Stand has been in the works for quite a few years now, with The Fault in Our Stars and The New Mutants director Josh Boone developing the project with SEAL Team executive producer Ben Cavell. Boone will co-write and direct the 10-episode adaptation for the CBS streaming service, according to Deadline.

King’s best-selling novel was previously adapted as a four-part miniseries that aired on ABC in 1994 and earned six Emmy Award nominations and won two awards for sound mixing and makeup. King wrote the script for that series.

“I’m excited and so very pleased that The Stand is going to have a new life on this exciting new platform,” said King in a statement accompanying the announcement. “The people involved are men and women who know exactly what they’re doing; the scripts are dynamite. The result bids to be something memorable and thrilling. I believe it will take viewers away to a world they hope will never happen.”

First published in 1978, The Stand unfolds as an apocalyptic pandemic ravages the world, killing off 99 percent of the population and causing the total breakdown of society. In its aftermath, the survivors find themselves pushed to choose between the forces of good, led by an enigmatic 108-year-old woman, and allegiance to the evil entity known as Randall Flagg, who wields powerful supernatural abilities.

“I read The Stand under my bed when I was 12, and my Baptist parents burned it in our fireplace upon discovery,” said Boone in his own statement accompanying the project’s announcement. “Incensed, I stole my Dad’s FedEx account number and mailed King a letter professing my love for his work. Several weeks later, I came home to find a box had arrived from Maine, and inside were several books, each inscribed with a beautiful note from god himself, who encouraged me in my writing and thanked me for being a fan. My parents, genuinely moved by King’s kindness and generosity, lifted the ban on his books that very day. I wrote King a cameo as himself in my first film and have been working to bring The Stand to the screen for five years. I’ve found incredible partners in CBS All Access and Ben Cavell. Together with Stephen King, Owen King, my longtime producing partners Knate Lee and Jill Killington, we plan to bring you the ultimate version of King’s masterwork.”

The Stand joins a growing lineup of impressive current and upcoming projects on CBS All Access, including Star Trek: Picard and Jordan Peele’s new version of anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Updated on August 1, 2019: Added cast information.

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