It has been 39 years since the release of Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING, and while that’s not typically seen as a major anniversary, there is a major reason to celebrate in 2019. After all, this is the year audiences will be treated to the arrival of DOCTOR SLEEP, the adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel novel, written and directed by Mike Flanagan. With the 1980 horror classic still possessing a massive fanbase, there is a significant fervor for the follow-up.
Of course, there are some looking forward to DOCTOR SLEEP who aren’t quite as obsessed with THE SHINING. But the good news for members of that group is we have you covered. Using Stephen King’s novel as a reference point, here is a list of the characters from the first chapter of this duology that moviegoers may see in the new film.
This one is kind of a “duh,” as an adult Danny Torrance (now going by “Dan”) is the central protagonist in DOCTOR SLEEP. As a kid (portrayed by Danny Lloyd), he barely escaped with his life when his father, Jack (Jack Nicholson), went insane while serving as the caretaker at the Overlook Hotel, and that is a nightmare he carries with him growing up. When we meet him (played by Ewan McGregor) at the start of this new story, he is hitting rock bottom and is a serious alcoholic just like his old man. He’s worked hard to suppress his telepathic gifts known as The Shine, but that all changes when he starts putting his life back together and meets a special little girl named Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran).
Like her son, Wendy Torrance was also able to get away from the crazed Jack during the family’s fateful winter in the Colorado Rockies. In the novel “Doctor Sleep,” she winds up moving with Danny to sunny Florida where they are able to live out a mostly normal life. But we’ll have to wait and see exactly how she will be incorporated into the film adaptation. The character was famously played by Shelley Duvall in Stanley Kubrick’s movie, but it will be Alex Essoe in the role in DOCTOR SLEEP.
This is where things get a bit tricky. There are more than a few ways in which Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING differs from Stephen King’s source material, but one of the most significant is the fate of Dick Hallorann (originally portrayed by Scatman Crothers). In King’s book, he escapes with Danny and Wendy Torrance, all of them going on to live in close proximity to one another in Florida. But Kubrick’s movie featured the character being killed by the crazed Jack Torrance with an axe. Because of this change, it will be interesting to see the way in which he will be included in DOCTOR SLEEP — and we know he will be, because he is confirmed to be played by Carl Lumbly.
The name “Lorraine Massey” may not be familiar to even the most ardent fans of Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING, but everyone recognizes who she is as soon as she is described (or shown in an image like the one above). She is the horrible, decomposing woman that both Danny and Jack encounter in the Overlook Hotel’s Room 237. In Stephen King’s sequel novel, she remains a nightmare that sticks with Dan Torrance even after he leaves the haunted Colorado establishment, but we’ll just have to wait and see if she makes an appearance in the DOCTOR SLEEP movie.
Alexie and Alexa Grady
Speaking of the ghosts of the Overlook Hotel, it also appears that both Alexie and Alexa Grady will be showing up in DOCTOR SLEEP, as evidenced by the most recent trailer where they can both be seen surreptitiously stepping into frame. While not much is known about the lives of these sisters, how they died is rather notable, as their father also went crazy in the hotel while serving as the caretaker and killed them with an axe.
Lastly, we have what could be called the biggest mystery surrounding DOCTOR SLEEP, which is the question about whether or not we can expect an appearance by the aforementioned Jack Torrance. Without getting deep into spoilers, the spirit of the character has a very brief but helpful role in the grand finale of Stephen King’s book, but it’s unclear if that’s something that the movie version will even attempt.
As you can see, there are a good number of significant questions still lingering about DOCTOR SLEEP, but it won’t be long until we all have answers. The movie hits theatres everywhere on November 8.