There can be no doubt now that Warner Bros see Stephen King's 1,100 page apocalyptic 1978 tome The Stand as their first post-Harry Potter sci-fi/fantasy franchise hope to plug the gap left behind by the wonderful wizard of Hogwarts. Hitfix reported last night that the director of the last four Potter movies, David Yates, and screenwriter of them all, Steve Kloves, have struck a deal with the major to bring King's seminal supernatural novel to life in what is hoped will be a multi-film series comprising of at least two epics, which seems the right way to go. Theres a helluva lot of material and storytelling that would be troubling to condense into a 2 and a half hour feature and indeed, weve already seen a cult mini-series adaptation which was a modest version of the novel that clocked in at six hours and still felt like it was incomplete (though with the perfect casting of Gary Sinise) but with a studio budget and a more ambitious scope and director, theres lots of room for a new movie here. The Stand is a post-apocalyptic novel where a plague nicknamed Captain Trips has caused mass devastation to the planet, wiping out almost everyone. The novel focuses on the rag-tag group of survivors who share dreams of a mysterious evil being and they team-up, forming a community, to try and rid them of it. Yates began talks with the studio the day after the final Harry Potter movie opened in the UK and it was said he re-read the novel on the long plane journey across the Atlantic. Yates was being courted for four movie projects at the time which also included an adaptation of Bill Willinghams Fables and a Godfather-esque trilogy based around Tom Hardy as Al Capone. If there's a sour note to the fact that The Stand is coming to the screen, it's that the gangster project now looks like it won't happen. I'm not much of a fan of the Harry Potter books so I never really got into the films and I am definitely not the best to judge but from people I know and can trust - Kloves always did a top notch job of getting to the core of what the Harry Potter novels were about but Yates struggled to make the transition from the small screen to the big, before really maturing and knocking the final movie out of the ballpark. What I really love about this appointment though is that here's two collaborators who will know each other so well and are comfortable working with each other... and let's see what they can do with The Stand. And Warner Bros - if you may - three further things. 1) Please buy the rights immediately to King's The Dark Tower series with the bottomless pit of cash that you have and get Frank Darabont and Ron Howard collaborating on an epic t.v. and film franchise... which you can build as a mini-Avengers style universe.... with characters/actors crossing over from The Stand into The Dark Tower and vice versa. 2) Don't make these movies in 3D. 3) R-rated adaptations only please.