A film adaptation of Stephen King’s bricklike 1978 post-apocalyptic novel The Stand has been bouncing around Development Hell for several decades, following a best-left-forgotten TV-miniseries attempt back in 1994. The incredible scope of the book—which runs over 800 pages (over 1,000 if you’re reading the 1990 “Complete & Uncut Edition) divided into three parts—proved problematic for early attempts at a film adaptation, including one directed by George Romero and written by King, which never materialized. In these post-Lord Of The Rings days, though, Hollywood is much more amenable to epic adaptations of epic stories, and The Stand movie has recently started picking up steam again, gaining and losing a director and attracting high-profile casting rumors.
The most current iteration of the project has Fault In Our Stars director Josh Boone on board as writer and director, and he’s promised a “three-hour, R-rated version with an amazing A-list cast.” Now King himself, who has apparently read Boone’s script and “absolutely loved it,” has trumped the director’s claims by hinting that “three hours” could turn out to actually be something more like “three movies.” In an interview with MTV about his new A Good Marriage, the writer said, “Don’t count on it being one film, because there’s talk about doing it in an entirely different and innovative way.”
Now, movie trilogies (or tetralogies, with the third part divided in two) aren’t exactly “different and innovative” these days, and King never exactly says the word trilogy in this interview, but based on the three-act structure of The Stand, that certainly seems to be the insinuation. The Stand would certainly divide neatly into three movies, and King seems to have confidence in Boone to do large-scale justice to his large-scale work. But given The Stand movie’s history, and given the fact that King has never been shy about teasing and and making coy hints about his work in general, and The Stand in particular, it’s probably best to leave this claim in the realm of speculation until Boone weighs in and production actually begins. Which, given this film’s history, should be in five to 10 years, by which point I’m guessing movie trilogies will be hopelessly out of fashion and the project will have been rejiggered as a reboot of the TV miniseries.