A 'Doctor Sleep' Sequel Was In The Works Before The Film Underperformed At The Box Office

Doctor Sleep was expected to be a big hit for Warner Bros., and the studio had such high hopes that they were already planning a sequel. But as the saying goes, life comes at you fast, and while The Shining follow-up garnered positive reviews, the box office returns have been a major disappointment. So what happens now? We don't know. But we do have some idea of what kind of sequel director Mike Flanagan was planning.

Buried in a THR story about the box office failure of Doctor Sleep is this surprising tidbit:

Warners was so keen on Doctor Sleep that movie studio chief Toby Emmerich had already struck a deal with director Mike Flanagan and his Intrepid Pictures to script a sequel whose working title is Hallorann, drawn from the character who appears in both The Shining and Doctor Sleep.

Hallorann refers to Dick Hallorrann, the psychic cook who was played by Scatman Crothers in Stanely Kubrick's The Shining and Carl Lumbly in Doctor Sleep. Dick was killed in Kubrick's The Shining (although he survives in Stephen King's novel), but returned as a helpful ghost in Doctor Sleep. With this in mind, one has to wonder what this proposed sequel is about. Is it a prequel? Does Dick's ghost come back to help someone else?

If it is a prequel there is some material from King's work to draw on. In the Doctor Sleep novel (and movie), Dick talks about his traumatic childhood where he suffered at the hands of an abusive grandfather. And in King's It novel there's an extended flashback sequence involving a young Dick Hallorrann in the military, where he was stationed on the same army base as the father of It character Mike Hanlon.

Of course, all of these questions regarding the prospective sequel might be moot at this point. Is Warners going to want to go ahead with Hallorann in the wake Doctor Sleep's box office slump? The movie was tracking for a possible $30 million opening weekend but only took in $14.1 million domestically, well below what WB was hoping for. With this in mind, plans for Hallorann might be dead. Which is a shame, because I like the idea of Flanagan sticking around in the world of The Shining a little bit longer.