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The Stand

The Stand
First edition cover
Author Stephen King
Cover artist John Cayea
Country US
Language English
Genre Post apocalyptic
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
September 1978
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 823

The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King. It expands upon the scenario of his earlier short story, "Night Surf". The novel was originally published in 1978 and was later re-released in 1990 as The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition; King restored some text originally cut for brevity, added and revised sections, changed the setting of the story from 1980 (which in turn was changed to 1984 for the original paperback release in 1980) to 1990, and updated a few pop culture references accordingly. The Stand was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1979, and was adapted into both a television miniseries for ABC and a graphic novel published by Marvel Comics.[1][2] It marks the first appearance of Randall Flagg, King's recurring antagonist, whom King would bring back many times in his later writings.

King dedicated the book to his wife, Tabitha: "For Tabby: This dark chest of wonders."


  • Plot summary 1
    • "Captain Trips" 1.1
    • "On the Border" 1.2
    • "The Stand" 1.3
  • Characters 2
  • Background 3
  • The Complete & Uncut Edition 4
  • Adaptations 5
    • Live-action 5.1
    • Comics 5.2
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Plot summary

"Captain Trips"

June 16 – July 4, 1980 [1990]

At a remote U.S. Army base, a weaponized strain of influenza, officially known as Project Blue and nicknamed "Captain Trips", is accidentally released. Despite an effort to put the base under lockdown, a security malfunction allows a soldier, Charles Campion, to escape with his family. By the time the military tracks Campion to Texas, he has already died of the illness and triggered a pandemic of apocalyptic proportions which eventually kills off 99.4% of the world's human population.

As the pandemic intensifies, a multi-faceted narrative—told partly from the perspective of primary characters—outlines the total breakdown and destruction of society through widespread violence; the failure of martial law to contain the outbreak; the military's increasingly violent efforts to censor information; and, finally, the near-extinction of mankind. The emotional toll is also dealt with, as the few survivors must care for their families and friends, dealing with confusion and grief as virtually everyone they know succumbs to the flu.

The expanded edition opens with a prologue titled "The Circle Opens" that offers greater detail into the circumstances surrounding the development of the virus and the security breach that allowed its escape from the secret laboratory compound where it was created.

"On the Border"

July 5 – September 6, 1980 [1990]

Intertwining cross-country odysseys are undertaken by a small number of survivors in three parties, all drawn together by both circumstances and their shared dreams of a 108-year-old woman in Hemingford Home, Nebraska,[3] whom they see as an embodiment of good. The woman, Abagail Freemantle—better known as "Mother Abagail"—becomes the spiritual leader for the survivors. Mother Abagail directs them to Boulder, Colorado, where they struggle to re-establish a democratic society called the "Free Zone."

Meanwhile, another group of survivors is drawn to

External links

  1. ^ a b King: Marvel to Adapt The Stand as a graphic novel, Newsarama, March 17, 2008
  2. ^ "1979 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  3. ^ King used the Hemingford, NE for both novels, The Stand, and It, America's heartland location for Mother Abigail. The Denver Post, USA Weekend, March 19–20, 2010,, page 2.
  4. ^  
  5. ^ King, Stephen. : The Inspiration"Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition". Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  6. ^ On Writing, Stephen King, 2000.
  7. ^ "ARMAGEDDON, COMPLETE AND UNCUT". The New York Times. 1997-03-09. 
  8. ^ "Stephen King The Stand Signed Limited Coffin Edition". Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  9. ^ "Stand, The – S/L – Palaver". Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  10. ^ Hixx, Don Alex. """THE RISE AND FALL OF "THE STAND. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  11. ^ Kit, Borys (2011-01-31). "Stephen King's 'The Stand' Heading to the Big Screen (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  12. ^ Brodesser, Claude (2012-06-19). "What Is Warner Bros. Planning to Replace the Harry Potter Cash Cow?". Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  13. ^ McWeeny, Drew (2012-06-28). "Exclusive: Potter masterminds Steve Kloves and David Yates reunite for The Stand". Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  14. ^ "David Yates Says He’s Not Making THE STAND Because It Should Be TV Mini-Series". 2011-11-12. Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  15. ^ Thompson, Anne. "More Details on Ben Affleck in Snyder's Superman/Batman UPDATED". IndieWire. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  16. ^ Shaw, Lucas. "‘Crazy Heart’ Director Scott Cooper Exits Warner Bros.’ Stephen King Adaptation (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (2014-02-25). "'Fault In Our Stars' Director in Talks to Tackle Stephen King's 'The Stand'".  
  18. ^ Sneider, Jeff (2014-08-22). "'"Matthew McConaughey Courted for ‘The Stand,’ Nearing Deal for 'Gold.  
  19. ^ Josh Boone (23 Aug 2014). "I have always wanted McConaughey as Stu and Bale as Flagg. Still not sure how that story leaked - just not true.". Twitter. 
  20. ^ Cook, Tommy (2014-09-10). "Director Josh Boone On THE STAND, Fidelity to the Novel, Script Status, and Whether He'll Direct LESTAT". Retrieved 2014-09-10. /
  21. ^ "Hollywood Babble-On Bonus: Babble on Hollywood: Josh Boone: The Fault In Our Stand". 
  22. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (November 21, 2014). "Josh Boone Says Warner Bros Will Turn Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ Into Four Films." Deadline.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Stevens, Tim (2008-05-31). "Wizard World Philadelphia 2008: Stephen King's The Stand". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 


Marvel Comics adapted The Stand into a series of six, five issue comic book miniseries.[1] The series was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrated by Mike Perkins. Colorist Laura Martin, letterer Chris Eliopoulos and cover artist Lee Bermejo were also on the staff. The first issue of The Stand: Captain Trips was released on September 10, 2008.[24]


There are current plans to adapt The Stand into an eight part miniseries before the film is released.[23]

On February 25, 2014, it was reported that Josh Boone was hired to write and direct the adaptation.[17] On August 25, 2014, The Wrap reported that Matthew McConaughey is being courted for the main antagonist, Randall Flagg.[18] Boone soon took to twitter to denounce this rumor and revealed he actually wanted Christian Bale to play Randall Flagg and Matthew McConaughey for the role of Stu Redman.[19] On September 10, 2014, Boone announced the script has been completed and that pre-production is currently underway. The adaptation was to be a single film of three hours.[20] In the November 17, 2014 episode of director Kevin Smith's Hollywood Babble-On podcast, Boone revealed he plans to split his adaptation into four full-length feature films in an effort to remain true to the breadth of King's sprawling novel.[21][22]

In January 2011, it was announced that Warner Bros. and CBS Films will be developing a feature-length film adaptation of The Stand.[11] There is currently no official release date. In July 2011, it was reported that the film may be a trilogy, and that David Yates is considering directing.[12] On August 10, Warner Bros. finalized the deal for Yates and Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves to re-team for a multi-movie version of The Stand.[13] However, in October 2011, it was reported that both Yates and Kloves had left the project because Yates felt it would work better as a miniseries, and that actor/director Ben Affleck was Warner Bros.' new choice for the project.[14] In August 2013, it was reported that Affleck had left the project for the role as Batman and Scott Cooper was in talks to rewrite and direct.[15] Cooper later dropped out of the project over creative differences with the studio.[16]

ABC eventually offered Stephen King the chance to make The Stand into an eight-hour miniseries for television. King wrote a new screenplay (toned down slightly for television). The miniseries was broadcast in 1994, directed by Mick Garris, and starring such actors as Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, Miguel Ferrer, Laura San Giacomo, Jamey Sheridan, Ossie Davis, Bill Fagerbakke and Shawnee Smith, with notable cameos including Ed Harris, Kathy Bates, and Sam Raimi.

A movie adaptation of The Stand was in Rospo Pallenberg, who was a fan of The Stand, to write his own adaptation of the novel. Pallenberg's script would clock the film in at close to three hours, while still staying true to the novel. Everyone liked the script; however, just as it was about to finally come together, Warner Brothers backed out of the project.[10]



In 1990, a new unabridged edition of The Stand was published, billed as "The Complete & Uncut Edition". Published in hardcover by Doubleday in May 1990, this became the longest book published by King at 1152 pages. When the novel was originally published in 1978, Doubleday believed the readers would be averse to such a long book, and that The Stand would be a bigger seller if it was much shorter. Stephen King cut approximately 400 pages (around 150,000 words) from the original manuscript. This edition reinstates most of the deleted pages (as selected by King), as well as updates the setting from the 1980s to the 1990s. This new edition features a new preface by Stephen King, and illustrations by Bernie Wrightson. Additionally, Doubleday published a deluxe edition of The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition, limited to 1,250 numbered copies and 52 lettered copies. This edition, known as the "Coffin Box" edition due to the book being housed in a wooden case, was signed by Stephen King and Bernie Wrightson.[7][8][9]

The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition
The Complete & Uncut Edition cover
Author Stephen King
Cover artist John Cayea
Country US
Language English
Genre Postapocalyptic
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
May 1990
Media type Print
Pages 1152

The Complete & Uncut Edition

King nearly abandoned The Stand due to writer's block.[6] Eventually, he reached the conclusion that the heroes were becoming too complacent, and were beginning to repeat all the same mistakes of their old society. In an attempt to resolve this, he added the part of the storyline where Harold and Nadine construct a bomb which explodes in a Free Zone committee meeting, killing Nick Andros, Chad Norris, and Susan Stern. Later, Mother Abagail explains on her deathbed that God permitted the bombing because He was dissatisfied with the heroes' focus on petty politics, and not on the ultimate quest of destroying Flagg. When telling this story, King sardonically observed that the bomb saved the book, and that he only had to kill half of the core cast in order to do this.

For a long time—ten years, at least—I had wanted to write a fantasy epic like Randall Flagg. The land of Mordor ('where the shadows lie,' according to Tolkien) was played by Las Vegas.[5]

The Stand was also planned by King as an epic The Lord of the Rings–type story in a contemporary American setting:

(…) and one day while sitting at my typewriter, (…) I wrote—just to write something: The world comes to an end but everybody in the SLA is somehow immune. Snake bit them. I looked at that for a while and then typed: No more gas shortages. That was sort of cheerful, in a horrible sort of way. [4]
With my Patty Hearst book, I never found the right way in… and during that entire six-week period, something else was nagging very quietly at the back of my mind. It was a news story I had read about an accidental CBW spill in Utah. (…) This article called up memories of a novel called Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart.

The author also mentions Earth Abides, which describes the odyssey of one of the last human survivors after the population is decimated by a plague, as one of the main inspirations:

In his non-fiction book Danse Macabre, Stephen King writes about the origins of The Stand at some length. One source was Patty Hearst's case. The original idea was to create a novel about the episode because "it seemed that only a novel might really succeed in explaining all the contradictions".



The expanded edition follows this with a brief coda called "The Circle Closes", which leaves a darker impression and fits in with King’s later works. An amnesia-stricken Flagg wakes up on a beach on an unknown island, having somehow escaped the atomic blast in Vegas by using his dark magic. There he begins recruiting adherents among a preliterate, dark-skinned people, who worship him as a deity.

The inhabitants of Boulder anxiously anticipate the birth of a baby by Stu's love interest, Frances Goldsmith; they fear that the child may not possess an immunity to the superflu and may die, implying a permanent end to humanity. Soon after she gives birth to a live baby, Stu returns to Boulder, having been rescued by Tom Cullen, the only survivor of the three Free Zone spies. The baby, Peter, manages to fight off the superflu. The original edition of the novel ends with Fran and Stu questioning whether the human race can learn from its mistakes. The answer, given in the last line, is ambiguous: "I don't know."

The remaining three are soon taken prisoner by Flagg's army. When Glen refuses to grovel before Flagg, he is killed by Lloyd Henreid, his second in command. Flagg gathers his entire collective to witness the execution of Brentner and Underwood. Moments before they are to be killed, the Trashcan Man, an insane follower of Flagg's, arrives with a stolen nuclear warhead. Flagg conjures a magical ball of energy in an attempt to silence a dissenter, but it is transformed into a giant glowing hand—"The Hand of God"—which detonates the bomb, destroying Las Vegas and killing all of Flagg's followers, along with Larry and Ralph.

The stage is now set for the final confrontation as Flagg's group becomes aware of the threat from the Free Zone. There is no pitched battle, however. Instead, at Mother Abagail's dying behest, four of the five surviving members of the leadership committee—Glen Bateman, Stu Redman, Ralph Brentner, and Larry Underwood—set off on foot towards Las Vegas on an expedition to confront Flagg. Stu breaks his leg en route and persuades the others to go on without him, telling them that God will provide for him if that's what's meant to happen.

September 7, 1980 [1990] – January 10, 1981 [1991]

"The Stand"
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