Stephen King Wrote Yet Another Ending for the Newest 'The Stand' TV Series

Stephen King's The Stand already has a lot of endings, but the horror author has written yet another one for the upcoming CBS All Access TV adaptation.

The latest adaptation of King's 1978 post-apocalyptic dark fantasy will be told over nine episodes, to debut weekly. Expected to premiere on the ViacomCBS streaming service on Thursday, December 17, The Stand will include in its finale episode what's being described as a "new coda," written by King himself.

Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abagail in 'The Stand.' CBS All Access

In The Stand, a weaponized version of influenza called Captain Trips is accidentally unleashed from a secret U.S. Department of Defense lab and swiftly decimates more than 99 percent of the planet's population. After society has collapsed, the survivors find themselves called—through their dreams—to the side of either "Mother Abagail" Freemantle (Whoopi Goldberg) or the "Dark Man" Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgård). The godly society gathers in Boulder, Colorado, while Flagg and his motley following of criminals and psychopaths assemble in Las Vegas.

While no details have been released regarding King's new ending, it's far from the first major change made to his sprawling, post-plague epic. When The Stand was first published in 1978, the events of the novel were set for 1980. Then, when it came out in paperback in 1980, the time period was changed again, to 1985.

Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg in 'The Stand.' CBS All Access

But the most substantial change came in 1990, when an "unabridged" version of the novel, called The Complete and Uncut Edition, was released. Adding approximately 400 pages (for a total page count of 1,152 pages), or about 150,000 words, this version of The Stand was now set in the 1990s. The edition expanded descriptions of society's collapse, as the plague tore through the United States, and even added whole new characters.

The most crucial change made, though, was to the very end. While The Stand already had the kind of multiple epilogues one might expect of a sprawling fantasy story—exploring the fates of various characters after the final confrontation in Las Vegas—the uncut version added an enigmatic coda centered around antagonist Randall Flagg.

In this new ending, Flagg, the embodiment of evil (who has appeared in various forms in other King novels) shows up on an unknown beach, at some unknown point of time, possibly even on an unknown world—though it's most likely much further into the future of humanity's post-apocalypse. There, he encounters a tribe of spear-toting men on a pristine beach. They soon bow down to him, and Flagg becomes the symbolic snake in some new garden of Eden.

CBS All Access hasn't yet revealed what additional ending King has in store for the upcoming TV adaptation. But according to showrunner Benjamin Cavell, quoted in a CBS All Access press release, the new King coda is something the author "has wanted to add for decades."

'The Stand' streaming TV series finally has a premiere date. CBS All Access

The upcoming adaptation also includes cast members James Marsden (Stu Redman), Odessa Young (Frannie Goldsmith), Jovan Adepo (Larry Underwood), Amber Heard (Nadine Cross) and more. The first episode of the series will premiere on Thursday, December 17.