See Whoopi Goldberg, Heather Graham, Odessa Young, and more.

By Nick Romano
May 20, 2020 at 08:50 AM EDT
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The Man in Black makes his return to the screen, only the world looks a lot different than we remember.

The first photos from CBS All Access miniseries The Stand, a fresh adaptation of Stephen King's pandemic-apocalypse novel, have arrived with looks at Big Little Lies' Alexander Skarsgard as demonic hell-raiser Randall Flagg and Whoopi Goldberg as benevolent Mother Abagail, courtesy of Vanity Fair.

The story of The Stand sees what happens when a virus, a man-made biological weapon that goes out of control, wipes out about 99 percent of the human population. Those that remain are left with the choice to follow their more baser, primordial instincts, or work together to build something good. That's where Randall and Mother Abagail find themselves in opposite camps.

Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

“[Flagg is] so charming and he’s so handsome, and so powerful — I mean genuinely powerful, able to perform these sort of miracles where he could levitate himself and he has these actual powers,” Taylor Elmore, who showruns the series with Benjamin Cavell, told Vanity Fair. “And yet he needs this adulation and this kind of worship from these people whom he’s summoned to him. He needs to have them make a show all the time of how grateful they are to him.”

Cavell makes the obvious connection to our current reality: "And there’s something fundamentally weak about that. Does it remind you of someone you know?”

Mother Abagail, a 108-year-old prophet faced with doubts, is "very, very righteous and very good. But really flawed I feel,” Goldberg said. “I’ve been fighting with not making her the Magic Negro, because she’s complicated.”

The photos also reveal Odessa Young as Frannie Goldsmith, an expectant mother immune to the disease; Owen Teague as Frannie's neighbor Harold Lauder; Jovan Adepo as musician Larry Underwood; Heather Graham as former New York socialite Rita Blakemoor; and Nat Wolff as inmate Lloyd Henreid, who's visited by Flagg in his hour of need.

But then there's also Henry Zaga as Nick Andros, Amber Heard as Nadine Cross, Greg Kinnear as Glen Bateman, and James Marsden as Stu Redman to look forward to.

“It’s about the fundamental questions of what society owes the individual and what we owe to each other,” Cavell said. “Over the last however-many years, we have sort of taken for granted the structure of democracy. Now, so much of that is being ripped down to the studs. It’s interesting to see a story about people who are rebuilding it from the ground up.”

A premiere date for The Stand has not been announced, though it's expected to debut on CBS All Access later this year.

Read the full story on Vanity Fair.

Related content:

The Stand (2020 series)

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  • CBS All Access

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