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Doctor Sleep’s Jocelin Donahue Reveals the Divisive Plot of the Canceled Sequel

Doctor Sleep's Jocelin Donahue Reveals the Divisive Plot of the Canceled Sequel


  • Jocelin Donahue revealed that the canceled sequel to
    Doctor Sleep
    planned to explore Abra’s backstory as its central plot.
  • Doctor Sleep
    crafted a delicate adaptation that pleased fans by balancing King’s novel with Kubrick’s film legacy.
  • Flanagan’s narrative tweaks in
    Doctor Sleep
    deepen emotional bonds without delving into more divisive plot points.

Doctor Sleep actor Jocelin Donahue recently revealed that the canceled plans for the sequel will explore the controversial plot of Stephen King’s 2013 novel. The first film opted to omit the divisive aspect of the novel.

The original Doctor Sleep, released in 2019, followed the troubled life of Danny Torrance, a man grappling with his traumatic childhood and supernatural abilities, decades after the events of The Shining. Directed by Mike Flanagan and featuring performances by Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson, the film received critical acclaim but didn’t do well at the box office.

doctor sleep

Doctor Sleep

Release Date
October 30, 2019


Dare to go back

Speaking with Screen Rant, Donahue talked about the discussions about the narrative focus of Doctor Sleep 2. The actress said that the sequel would likely have had a more in-depth look into the character of Abra, the young prodigy with ‘shining’ abilities, portrayed by Kyleigh Curran. Donahue expressed her admiration for Curran’s performance and her enthusiasm for the untold stories of her own character’s complex family history, which were only hinted at in the original film. Read Donahue’s full comment below:

We didn’t really talk about it at that point, the movie wasn’t out yet, and this is all pre-COVID. And, of course, things changed with how things get greenlit.
But we definitely talked about the book a lot, and of course, with my character, there’s a lot more family history that wasn’t explored yet. So, if it ever does come about, I think it would be a super interesting story to tell, for sure.

And I think Abra’s character just, Kyleigh did such a great job with that role, and I’d love to see her continue that story, as well. You can’t control the timing of everything when something comes out.
But what feels good is when something sticks around, and has legs, and people come back to it, or people hear about it, it’s still out there for people to discover. And you never know, maybe it will turn into more future projects.

Doctor Sleep Threads the Needle Between King’s Vision and Kubrick’s Legacy

Doctor Sleep, as an adaptation, straddled the line between being faithful to King’s novel and serving as a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film adaptation of The Shining. The challenge of undertaking these enormous tasks resulted with numerous narrative modifications, some of which have sparked debate among fans and critics.

One of the more subtle yet significant changes introduced by Flanagan concerns the backstory of the Torrance family. In the original King narrative, a twist reveals a familial connection between Danny Torrance and Abra, the young girl possessing similar psychic abilities. This connection is rooted in a secret affair involving Danny’s father, which leads to Abra being Danny’s niece.


20 Movies That Feel Like Stephen King (Even Though They’re Not)

Stephen King has certainly had an influence in cinema. But contrary to what they feel like, the following movies aren’t based on his work.

Flanagan opts for a more understated approach in the film, merely hinting at this connection in a scene where Danny meets Abra in a park, playfully suggesting he could be her “Uncle Dan.” This alteration, while minimal, strategically deepens the emotional bond between Danny and Abra without going into the more controversial aspects of their connection.

Flanagan’s adaptations in Doctor Sleep reflect a careful balancing act between honoring King’s detailed storytelling and maintaining thematic continuity with Kubrick’s cinematic masterpiece.

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