Just what is going on in Doctor Sleep, The Shining sequel starring Ewan McGregor? The trailer, which arrives today, offers some clues. The story picks up 40 years after Jack Torrance’s meltdown at the Overlook hotel. Over the course of that time, Danny Torrance has attempted to assimilate into normal, everyday life — and, as you might expect from someone carrying around that much baggage, mostly failed.
When we meet Danny in the trailer, he’s awakened out of his bed with a thud and gets up to find “Redrum” on the mirror in his bedroom. Some things never change, apparently. From there, things get weirder: Danny befriends a young girl named Abra, played by newcomer Kyliegh Curran, who has the power to shine like Danny. “You’re magic, like me,” she tells him, as they’re sitting on a park bench, to which he replies, “I’ve only met two people like me. When I was a kid, I bumped into these things. I don’t know about magic. I always called it The Shining.” Fast forward and Danny is back at the Overlook hotel. (The rest of the cast is rounded out by Carl Lumbly, Zahn McClarnon, Emily Alyn Lind, Bruce Greenwood, Jocelin Donahue, Alex Essoe and Cliff Curtis; meanwhile, Mike Flanagan is directing and handling the script.)
The plot, which is based on Stephen King‘s sequel of the same title, largely follows Danny and Abra’s attempts to escape from cult leader Rose the Hat, played by Rebecca Ferguson, who is in the midst of a murdering spree, targeting children who can shine like Abra. “Forming an unlikely alliance, Dan and Abra engage in a brutal life-or-death battle with Rose,” the film’s official description states. “Abra’s innocence and fearless embrace of her shine compel Dan to call upon his own powers as never before—at once facing his fears and reawakening the ghosts of the past.”
As daunting as it is to follow up Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic, King has talked about why he came around to the idea. “When I really got serous about it, I thought to myself ‘Do you really want to do this? Because most sequels really suck,’” he told Entertainment Weekly. “The only two exceptions I can think to that is Huckleberry Finn, a book that is a sequel to Tom Sawyer but is really a much better book, and I think Godfather II is a much better movie than The Godfather.” We’ll see how Doctor Sleep compares when it arrives November 8.