Fans of Stephen King's The Stand will soon rejoice with a brand new CBS All Access series. The iconic dark tale about the end of the world gets a serious revision as the story explores the ultimate fight between good and evil. Starring Alexander Skarsgård, James Marsden, Whoopi Goldberg, and Amber Heard, the cast for the latest adaptation is impressive, but how close is the casting when compared to the original book?
Looking at both the original 1994 miniseries and the 2020 reboot, and comparing them to Marvel's version of The Stand - which was hailed for being extremely faithful to the look and feel of the characters in the original text - here is a look at all versions of the main characters who populate The Stand. How do the book versions of Randall Flagg, Mother Abigail, and the Boulder Free Zone measure up to the comic, the 1994 mini, and the new series?
Decked out in denim from head to toe and adorned with novelty pins, the Walkin' Dude is an ageless demonic force who "radiated a horrible handsome warmth." Described as a "tall man of no age," the comic represents the overall look of the Dark Man through the shadows that cover his horrible, smiling face, a face that can "make waterglasses shatter." Tom Cullen described him thusly:
He looks like anybody you see on the street. But when he grins, birds fall dead off telephone lines.
In the 1994 miniseries, actor Jamey Sheridan seemed to capture Flagg's everyman look while implying his sinister nature. And while the 2020 series' version of Flagg is indeed tall (Alexander Skarsgård is over six feet), his over-the-top good looks make him stand out rather than blend in.
In the book, the widower from Arnette, TX, is a quiet man in his mid-30s with dark hair and blue eyes. While under observation at the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC worker Dick Deitz described Stu as having "black hair, blue eyes, one hell of a suntan." His nondescript good looks not only made him popular with the ladies (especially Frannie), but set him up as a romantic rival for Harold Lauder.
All versions of Stu seem to nail his casual good looks and his basic aesthetics.
At 108, “Mother Abagail” Fremantle is definitely spry for her age, but her pure white hair gives away her years. In the book, the ancient leader of the Boulder Free Zone is the daughter of freed slaves with a love of music, an iron will, and strong faith.
Mother Abagail suffers from all the ailments one would expect from a centenarian, including a spindly frame, false teeth, and arthritis. Her look in both the comic and the 1994 miniseries (played by Ruby Dee) accurately portrays the character as described in the book, while the 2020 series casting of Whoopi Goldberg seems to lack the siginificant aging of previous versions.
A rocker on the cusp of fame before Captain Trips made humanity obsolete, book Larry Underwood was a good-lookin' chap with a face made for music videos. Charismatic and a hit with the ladies, Larry is cocky, young, and well-built, according to Stephen King's original text. In Chapter 44, Larry grows a beard that is described as "twany red-gold two shades lighter than his hair." But other than being an attractive man in his late 20s, not much else is known about the physical appearance of the singer-songwriter.
In the 1994 miniseries, Larry seems to reasonably represent his book version in both looks and demeanor, but by the 2020 update, the character is revamped with the casting of Jovan Adepo.