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There are a number of links between the 1980 Stanley Kubrick directed version of Stephen King’s The Shining and Star Wars, not least the ‘accidental’ fire which took down the set of the film that slowed down production of The Empire Strikes Back. Now, one of Star Wars brightest stars Ewan Mcgregor features in Doctor Sleep, the adaptation of King’s sequel to that classic book, and Empire take a look.

There’s a huge amount to unpack here – namely that while this is not exactly a direct Shining sequel, Flanagan is fully leaning into the iconography of Stanley Kubrick’s absolute classic. Doctor Sleep will be a sequel that reconciles both the Kubrick Shining (which King famously hates) and King’s follow-up material. Who’s getting tingles? Flanagan confirmed at a press event that all of the Shining shots here were shot specifically for Doctor Sleep, aside from the blood in the elevator. Yes, those are new sets and original footage. By the sounds of it, both King and the Kubrick Estate are pleased with what Flanagan’s cooked up – which might just be the ultimate seal of approval.

Plot-wise, this one sees Ewan McGregor playing a grown-up Danny Torrance (or, Dan as he’s now known) who has descended into alcoholism and avoided using his ‘gifts’ since that whole Overlook Hotel situation. But the trailer also teases a connection that he makes with a young girl, Abra, who also has the Shine, a creepy cult who’s killing people with abilities – and crashing back into Dan’s world, after all this time, the place that haunted his childhood. It’s a truly chilling moment seeing McGregor step back into the Overlook, with its axe-chopped door and ‘Redrum’ etchings.

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Doctor Sleep: A Novel
  • Doctor Sleep
  • Stephen King
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Edition no. 0 (07/26/2016)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages