Stephen King finds himself in the midst of a moment, again. The prolific author enjoys a steady stream of adaptations, such as It: Chapter Two in theaters now. Yet, the final Doctor Sleep trailer sets up the sequel to one of King’s most beloved stories as something more akin to an Avengers or X-Men story than one from King. Horror and comic book stories are close cousins. One need only look at the history of Comic-Con and how organizers included horror books and films from the beginning. So, while Doctor Sleep is very much a sequel to The Shining, the final trailer paints it as a clash between people with superpowers. While the final trailer for Doctor Sleep leans into the imagery from Stanley Kubrick’s take on The Shining, the story also highlights this conflict.
What Is Doctor Sleep About?
Image via Scribner
The novel that inspired this film follows Danny Torrance, the little boy with “the shining,” another word for psychic powers. He lives in New Hampshire working as an aide for a hospice, using his powers to help soothe dying patients. He also struggles with alcoholism brought on by the trauma he endured as a child. However, it all comes rushing back to him when he encounters a young girl named Abra who shares his powers. They bond, but they also face a serious threat in a group known as the True Knot. These people are basically immortal because they are able to consume life essence (called “the steam”) from people who possesses the shining. They try to capture and kill Abra. Danny helps her, leading the True Knot on a chase that ends at the very same location as the Overlook Hotel.
What the Final Doctor Sleep Trailer Reveals Changed From the Book
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One of the reasons Stephen King didn’t much like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining involves the liberties the late, legendary director took with his story. Yet, even King’s most ardent fans agree that Kubrick’s version of the tale is equally good as the book (if not slightly better). Writer and director Mike Flanagan makes an attempt to reconcile the differences between the two in the film. Yet, he states unequivocally that Doctor Sleep takes place in the “same cinematic universe” as The Shining.
One of the major changes from the novel is that the Overlook Hotel still stands. In the book, it’s been demolished and the True Knot actually camped on that location. In the final Doctor Sleep trailer, we see that the Overlook is still there, but it stands abandoned since Jack Torrance froze to death in the topiary maze. We even see the iconic “Redrum” door, complete with the destroyed panel through which Nicholson improvised the “Here’s Johnny!” line. We see flashbacks to his childhood, and while they look very much like they are from the original film, Flanagan cast new actors to play Wendy, Danny, and (possibly) Jack.
Perhaps The Shining didn’t need a sequel, but from the look of the final trailer we’re glad it got one. Doctor Sleep seems to lean just enough on the previous work while telling an original story about persecuted people with powers. If this performs well, it could possibly kick off a whole series of films and/or books set in the Torrance-verse.
What do you think of the final Doctor Sleep trailer? Tell us what you are looking forward to or dreading (or both).
Featured image via Intrepid Pictures
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.