Just to be clear, ‘what we know’ could be different for each person since some folks have read the book, which was a pretty long but impressive tale, while others might have watched the previous miniseries back in 1994 with Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald. For the sake of it, I’ll be tackling both since the version in 94 did deviate from the book a few times, and it does look as though this current version coming in December has already done the same since Larry Underwood wasn’t a POC in the book or the initial miniseries. But kind of like Roland in The Dark Tower, if the guy can act the part and make it work, it’s not a big deal. There are other differences that are being noticed though, and among them are the fact that The Rat Man, a character that a lot of people might not remember, is being replaced with The Rat Woman, while Julie Lawry, the unstable and extremely angry young woman that met Nick Andros and Tom Cullen (M-O-O-N, that spells Tom Cullen, readers of the book will get it) as they were on their way to meet the mysterious Mother Abigail, who will be played by Whoopie Goldberg. Do you know what all the changes that we’re bound to see will amount to? Not much, so long as the actors can make it work and keep people entertained. I’ll admit to being one of those that used to get upset by huge changes in a favored work by a favorite author or actor but at this point, it’s rather childish to rant and rave about the changes that take place.
Instead, it’s much better to sit back and see if those that have been selected for certain roles are bound to do well enough to make the role work. And as far as gender and race-swapping for roles go, it’s the same thing. If the actor can make it work, then so be it, this act doesn’t negate the stories that came before, and an individual is free to enjoy whichever version they like. But change does happen, and a story does need to remain versatile and capable of change. It’s going to be interesting to see who they use for the role of the Trashcan Man unless they’ve ditched this character entirely, which wouldn’t make a lot of sense considering that he plays such a pivotal role. Bringing in the character Julie Lawry, a minor player in the book and the previous miniseries, is an odd move, but getting rid of a character that was instrumental to the ending of the story would be a huge mistake.
As far as the rest of the tale goes it does look as though the upcoming series will stay true to the story for the most part, but without being able to see the whole thing yet it’s fair to state that we don’t know what else is going to be changed. There are things to consider since The Stand does deal with issues of mental retardation with Tom Cullen, and bullying that led to Trashcan Man’s mental state, but the hypocrisy of trying to curb such things in any production is that they end up showing up in other shows and movies despite the lack of conflict that anyone decides to bring to one project and not another. It might be kind of interesting to note that Amber Heard will be playing the role of Nadine Cross, the woman that became Flagg’s concubine, and it does appear as though she’ll have an equally prominent role in the series. It’s odd to see that Heather Graham will be playing the character of Rita Blakemoor, who has a short-lived existence in the story since she dies before Larry meets Nadine. Another change that appears in the trailer comes during the time when the four individuals from Boulder are traveling west towards Las Vegas, where Randall Flag, played by Alexander Skarsgard, will have set up his own community. The foursome consists of three men and a woman, and unless Greg Kinnear, who is apparently playing Glenn Bateman, is among them, then it would appear that a swap has been made.
Obviously, this story has Stephen King’s blessing as he’ll be working on the teleplay for several episodes, and will even be working with his son Owen as well. The changes look as though they might be intriguing to see, but we’ll have to wait to see just how other people are going to take them. A lot of what will happen should depend more on the acting than the actual swapping of roles, since the only time that swapping of any kind is done happens to be an issue is when it’s done just for the sake of it, meaning that the person placed in the role can’t act, can’t bring the character to life, and was likely the worst choice put forth by the call for continued diversity. Hopefully, that won’t be the case.