‘The Stand’ Season 2: Will the CBS All Access Stephen King Adaptation Continue?

The Stand, CBS All Access‘s original series based on Stephen King‘s seminal 1978 post-apocalypse novel of the same name, wrapped up its nine-episode run on Thursday, Feb. 11. The final episode, “Coda: Frannie in the Well,” was new to fans of the book, as it was written for the series by King himself, according to Deadline.

[Spoiler alert: Gonna spoil the end of The Stand, the novel and the show.]

Odessa Young as Frannie in 'The Stand'
Odessa Young as Frannie in ‘The Stand’ | Paramount Plus/Youtube

Will ‘The Stand’ get a second season?

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While The Stand is a, well, stand-alone novel, the finale ends on something of an open-ended note. After Stu (James Marsden) and Frannie (Odessa Young) establish a new life on the Maine coast, the episode cuts to a village somewhere in a far-off jungle. Randall Flagg (Alex Skarsgard), seemingly reincarnated after his death in the destruction of New Vegas, emerges from the water and confronts the local tribe.

Now calling himself “Russell Faraday,” the demonic Flagg demands that the tribespeople bow down and follow him (“WORSHIP ME,” he shouts, never one for subtlety), and they oblige. Kind of seems like this is setting up the return of Flagg for a future season, yeah?

Well, almost certainly not-yeah. The Stand is and always has been marketed as a “limited series.” It’s even front-and-center on CBS’s official page for the series. That’s pretty concrete evidence against a second season. There’s also no sequel novel to The Stand, after all.

There is, of course, plenty of precedent in this, the era of Peak TV, for miniseries getting turned into ongoing shows after they prove successful. Just look a Big Little Lies and The Flight Attendant: both pitched as miniseries based on stand-alone books, both got renewed for a second season. Even HBO’s The Outsider, another miniseries based on a King novel, was considered for a second season, according to Deadline.

Combine that with the lack of comment on the possibility from showrunner Josh Boone, or anyone else involved in the show, and you’ve got pretty overwhelming proof against a continuation of The Stand.

The show’s open ending comes straight from the book

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The Stand‘s open, almost-cliffhanger ending wasn’t created for the series to generate speculation about further seasons. In fact, it comes directly from King’s book, sort of.

The novel was originally released in 1978 in a severely edited-down form, after prompting from publisher Doubleday about it being too long to sell. In 1990, a new edition was published, The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition, that restored the roughly 400 pages that King initially cut out. This included the final scene with Flagg in the jungle village. In the book, he is said to have memory loss, something which isn’t clear in the show.

The epilogue chapter with Flagg is titled “The Circle Closes,” tying it into the theme of evil as a recurring cycle. Fans of King’s Dark Tower series might know this as the writer’s “wheel of ka,” the notion in a handful of his works that fate and destiny are always turning forward, for good or ill, and are extremely difficult for anyone to disrupt.