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The Stand - What We Know So Far

CBS' The Stand is the latest adaptation of Stephen King's classic post-apocalyptic tale of good versus evil, but as readers of the original novel will already know, the series came to a very different conclusion than the original ending of the book. So far, it looked like the series would live up to its limited series billing and just be a self-contained story — but the new ending (written by Stephen King himself, no less) seems to imply that there's more to come from this grim world. Spoilers ahead.

Because the legendary horror author didn't write a full sequel to The Stand, there isn't a specific blueprint for a potential season 2 — but that's not to say it couldn't be done. The series ended with Stephen King's brand-new coda, following the nuclear destruction of New Vegas and the apparent death of Randall Flagg. After reuniting in the Free Zone, James Marsden's Stu Redman and Odessa Young's Frannie Goldsmith traveled to Maine with baby Abagail and found out the hard way that the battle of good and evil is still far from over. Let's dive into everything we know about what The Stand season 2 would look like if it were to ever happen.

What's the release date for The Stand season 2?

As we already mentioned, CBS advertised The Stand as a limited series, meaning the network wasn't planning to spread the story out or continue it past the original book. So at the time of this writing, there's no concrete plans to make The Stand season 2. But if the network does decide to push into new ground for a follow-up series, it could be a few years before audiences meet these characters again.

Although it'd be relatively easy to surround the surviving characters with a new cast, it might be some time before returning stars like James Marsden and Alexander Skarsgård are available due to their busy schedules. Marsden is gearing up to start work on Sonic the Hedgehog 2, in which he'll reprise his role as Tom Wachowski next to everyone's favorite blue speedster. Meanwhile, Skarsgård has quickly become one of the most sought after actors working today, and he'll next appear in Robert Eggers' Viking revenge thriller, The Northman. Although it currently doesn't have a release date, it also stars the likes of Ethan Hawke and Anya Taylor-Joy.

Who's in the cast of The Stand season 2?

Presumably, should CBS push forward on making The Stand season 2 a reality, James Marsden would return as Stu alongside Odessa Young as Frannie Goldsmith, while Brad William Henke could also reprise his role as the beloved Tom Cullen. But, most importantly, the ending of the first season implies the spirit of Randall Flagg survived the New Vegas explosion, so a second season would probably benefit if Alexander Skarsgård were also to come back. But that said, the villain is able to change his appearance, so it would be relatively easy to recast him if Skarsgård is too busy or is no longer interested in the role.

As an alternative, the showrunners could bring Matthew McConaughey to reprise his version of the character from The Dark Tower movie – but that's just a bit of dream-casting. Regardless, since the new ending to The Stand shows Flagg encountering a primal tribe in an unidentified jungle, it'd be interesting to flesh those characters out and see how they flourish or falter under Flagg's rule. Regardless, there's plenty of opportunities to bring new actors onboard if The Stand season 2 ever actually happens.

What will happen in The Stand season 2?

The series finale saw more children being born who were immune to Captain Trips, so it's possible a second season could follow the repopulation of the world after a short time jump. But admittedly, post-apocalyptic shows attempting to rebuild the world have already explored plenty of avenues for this kind of story. The real selling point here, of course, would be the survival of Randall Flagg — who now calls himself Russell Faraday.

It follows Stephen King's circular method of storytelling, resetting the status quo in the world as good and evil constantly battle it out for control. Now that Flagg/Faraday has a new group of people to manipulate, there's every possibility that he could make an even stronger return in a potential second season. Unfortunately showrunner Ben Cavell confessed to Collider that the producers never planned to follow the miniseries up with future seasons. "But no, we never talked about that, and we never talked about leaving a door open for that."

Of course, just because they didn't intend to leave the door open doesn't mean that door isn't open all the same. And The Stand season 2 is a fascinating idea to think about. Audiences have seen several different versions of Rick Flagg across the Stephen King multiverse in TV and film over the years, so it probably won't be long until another iteration of the demonic villain makes a return in another project.