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The Stand Cast Makes Some Big Changes From The Book

The 2020 update is much more diverse.

CBS

When it comes to the classic Stephen King novel The Stand, readers may disagree on certain aspects. Is the ending actually trash? Does Stu Reman make for a boring protagonist? Is there too much filler in the story? But one thing everyone agrees on is that The Stand is seriously epic. It's epic in story, it's epic in length, and it's epic in its enormous roster of characters. That roster is arguably getting even more epic in the new CBS All Access adaptation of the novel, as The Stand cast of characters is getting a diverse new update for the limited series.

The Stand takes place after a pandemic has decimated the world's population, with the few remaining survivors being cordoned off by supernatural forces into two sides representing good and evil. Among the cast of the new series are a number of familiar faces. Leading the way is James Marsden, who recently was part of Westworld's ensemble and who has starred in films like the X-Men series, Enchanted, and Sonic the Hedgehog. There's also Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear, Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg, Aquaman star Amber Heard, fellow DCEU alum Ezra Miller, and Big Little Lies star Alexander Skarsgård as the main antagonist. Skarsgård, it's worth noting, happens to be the brother of another on-screen King baddie, Bill Skarsgård, who played Pennywise in the big screen It adaptation.

Read on to see which characters all of these stars are playing in The Stand, as well as the rest of the main cast.

Jason Marsden as Stu Redman

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Stu is the closest thing The Stand has to a traditional protagonist. He's a Texan who is preordained to represent the side of goodness in the post-apocalyptic clash between good and evil, and he becomes a de facto leader of the group of "good" plague survivors who settle in Boulder, Colorado.

Odessa Young as Frannie Goldsmith

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Frannie is another member of the "good guys" in Boulder, and she also becomes romantically involved with Stu despite their age difference. One can't be picky in the end times, apparently. Frannie is also pregnant throughout much of the story, and she has to endure lots of speculation over whether her child will be able to survive in the plague-ridden world. She's played by Australian actor Young, known for her role in the film The Daughter.

Owen Teague as Harold Lauder

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One of the most complicated characters in the book is Harold, a 16-year-old with a history of being a bullied outcast. He is from the same small Maine town as Frannie, and has unrequited feelings for her. These feelings cause him to be a target for recruitment by Randall Flagg, the supernatural villain of the story. He is portrayed here by Teague, who played another troubled teen created by King, Patrick Hockstetter, in the 2017 adaptation of It.

Jovan Adepo as Larry Underwood

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Larry is another one of the story's protagonists, and maybe the one with the largest arc. A selfish musician from New York, Larry doesn't start out as an unquestioned good guy at the start of the story, but earns his hero bona fides along the way. The character is white in the book, but in the series he will be played by Adepo, who is Black. "[Director] Josh [Boone] was very clear that he wanted my version of Larry Underwood, and he wanted it to feel organic," the actor told io9. "I definitely had the freedom to kind of figure out what Larry was going to be to me and for our audience."

Greg Kinnear as Glen Bateman

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Kinnear, at a youthful 57, plays a slightly de-aged version of this character from the novel. In the original, Bateman is a retired professor who suffers from arthritis who nevertheless establishes himself as a wise and important asset to the Boulder group.

Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg

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Flagg, also known as "The Dark Man," is the embodiment of evil. An immortal supernatural being, Flagg is essentially the devil, and he appears in a number of King's works — including as the main antagonist in the Dark Tower series. In The Stand, he builds a settlement in Las Vegas by telepathically drawing the evil-inclined to gather there and support his malevolent goals.

Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail
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The counter to Flagg is Mother Abigail, a 108-year-old Nebraska woman who apparently is in communication with God. She represents good and believes that Flagg and his evil must be defeated. Just as Flagg calls survivors to Vegas, she calls them to Boulder, where they assemble to save the world. The character has long been criticized as a "Magical Negro" stereotype, a criticism Goldberg recently addressed. "She had to be a real person," Goldberg said of her portrayal of the character at New York Comic Con, according to io9. "I needed her not to be the little old Black lady who has all the magic information. She doesn’t. She’s hopeful that she’s right, but she’s not positive."

Amber Heard as Nadine Cross

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Nadine is one of the most tragic characters in the book, with an involvement in the story that predates most others. A school teacher from New Hampshire, Nadine was chosen by the demon Randall Flagg to be his bride when she was young. Now that the end of the world is here, the time has finally arrived for Nadine to reluctantly come face to face with the evil force that controls her.

Ezra Miller as Trashcan Man

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One of the most important members of Flagg's group of rapscallions is the enigmatic figure known as the Trashcan Man. The character is a pyromaniac who goes around the country causing destruction before being called to Las Vegas by Flagg, but some old habits prove hard to kill.

Henry Zaga as Nick Andros

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One of the leaders of the Boulder settlement, Nick is arguably the closest of the group to Mother Abigail. He is without the ability to hear or speak, which caused some controversy when Zaga was cast, as the actor is able to do both. Series director Josh Boone defended the casting, stating that a hearing and speaking actor was cast because the character is able to do so in his dreams. Boone also added that people with hearing loss were on set as consultants, according to the Daily Moth.

Brad William Henke as Tom Cullen

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In another controversial casting, former NFL player Henke was cast to play Tom, a character from the Boulder group with a mental disability. The character has been updated for the series, making his disability more realistic. "It was very important to us to have Tom not [be] in the dark about having his deficits or his challenges, but that he’s found a way to navigate the world," co-showrunner Benjamin Cavell told io9. "And it was important for us to try to be honest about that experience and not play him as a trope."

Nat Wolff as Lloyd Henreid

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An imprisoned murderer when the plague breaks out, Lloyd is freed by Flagg in exchange for becoming his right hand man. While most of The Stand's Las Vegas characters have some gray to them, Lloyd is pretty irredeemable and enjoys being a bad guy. Wolff is known for his child stardom as the co-lead of Nickelodeon's The Naked Brothers Band.

Heather Graham as Rita Blakemoor

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Graham is an established movie star, but her role in The Stand is on the smaller side. Rita is a survivor of the plague who meets Larry Underwood in New York, and the two make plans to escape the city together. Rita, however, has a hard time moving on.

Katherine McNamara as Julie Lawry

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A minor character in the novel, Julie is a cruel teenager and possible nymphomaniac who joins Flagg in Las Vegas and attempts to thwart the Boulder group's efforts to overthrow her demon overlord. She is portrayed by McNamara, who is best known as the star of Freeform's Shadowhunters.

Fiona Dourif as Rat Woman

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The character known as Rat Man in the novel has been gender-swapped for the new series. In the book, the character dresses like a pirate and is one of Flagg's most sadistic and loyal adherents. Dourif has some family pedigree when it comes to playing evil killers, as her father, Brad Dourif, was the original voice of Chucky from Child's Play.

Irene Bedard as Ray Brentner

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Another gender-swapped character, Ray Brentner was known as Ralph Brentner in the book. Brentner is a farmer from the Midwest and one of the "good guys," and is also among the first characters to come face to face with Mother Abigail. Bedard, a Native American, provided the speaking voice for the title character in Disney's Pocahontas.

Daniel Sunjata as Cobb

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Cobb is said to be a main character in the series, but it's unclear just who he is, as no one by that name appears in the novel and he does not appear to be a renamed version of another character. Sunjata, meanwhile, is known as one of the stars of the FX series Rescue Me.

Natalie Martinez as Dayna Jurgens

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Dayna is a member of the Boulder group who, while a minor character, plays an important role in the conflict with Flagg. She is played by Martinez, who starred in the action film Death Race alongside Jason Statham.

Stephen King as ???

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As he often does in adaptations of his work, King will cameo in The Stand. It's unknown what character he'll be playing, but he appeared as minor character Teddy Weizak, a member of the Boulder settlement, in the 1994 TV adaptation. Weizak is being played by actor Eion Bailey this time around, which guarantees that the author will not be reprising his performance.