How Doctor Sleep Sets Up a Sequel

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Doctor Sleep, in theaters now.

Doctor Sleep continues the story of Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) as he deals with his Shining abilities in adulthood. But while the story of the Torrance family is definitively ended by the conclusion of the film, that doesn't mean the door is closed on the greater world that Doctor Sleep expands. Here are all the elements of Doctor Sleep that could be followed up on in a sequel.

RELATED: The Shining: The True Story & Real-Life Hotel Behind The Movie


Abra is introduced early in the film as potentially one of the most powerful people in the world. Her connection with the Shining is so powerful that she becomes "pen pals" with Dan from across the country. But as her powers develop over the years, she becomes noticed by others, such as Rose the Hat and her associates, the True Knot. Eventually, though, Abra is able to work with Dan Torrance to fight back against the group. Along the way, she showcases just how powerful she's becoming by literally staring down ghosts and murderers with ease.

Continue scrolling to keep reading Click the button below to start this article in quick view.

Although Dan Torrance is dead by the end of the film, he's last seen speaking to Abra as a spirit. It's likely that Dan could continue to mentor her like Hallorann did when he was younger. Abra's development of her powers will likely continue as she grows older. With time, she could maybe become the most powerful person on the planet. She's also choosing to be more open about her abilities than either she or Dan were. She speaks with her mother about them, hinting that she may bring the existence of those powers to the forefront of society, which could in turn anger another secret group.

RELATED: Doctor Sleep Is a Visually Stunning Love Letter to The Shining


The True Knot is the group of empowered people led by Rose the Hat. They've spent countless years hunting down people like themselves so they can consume their spirits, prolonging their lives to an unnatural length, The oldest of their number is even said to have been alive during the time of the ancient Romans. While her group contains a number of people with powers, Rose hints that they aren't the only ones like them. Even beyond having powers, these people have existed for centuries and, according to Dan, have connections to the wealthiest and most powerful people on the planet. This makes the group a larger, more existential threat than just a band of murderous wanderers.

Even if the True Knot is all wiped out by the end of the film, there's always the chance that the other people connected with the Shining may have been observing the chaos that occurs across Doctor Sleep. They may even come to see Abra in the same way that Rose did: a threat that needs to be removed before she can become too powerful to stop. And while Abra is a powerful figure, the next time she battles other forces it'll be without Dan's overt help.

RELATED: CBR's Holiday Movie Preview



Early in Doctor Sleep, it's revealed that the spirits of this world have the ability to move from location to location. They can even latch on to people if they're hungry or desperate enough. That was the fate of many of the spirits within the Overlook Hotel after it was closed. They went after the best possible source of energy they had most recently seen: Dan Torrance. But as he grew up, Dan learned an ability to contain the restless spirits. He did this many times over the years, eventually sealing away almost all of the spirits that used to call the Overlook Hotel home. Forced back there for his battle with Rose, Dan eventually unleashes the spirits against her. The spirits quickly re-acquaint themselves with the Hotel and shift their attention to Dan and Abra.

In the end, however, Dan's backup plan to destroy the Overlook (by setting the boilers to blow) succeeds. The Hotel burns down, presumably taking many of the spirits with it. But because the spirits from the Overlook are apparently separate beings from the overall machinations of the building, at least the rotting Old Woman is revealed to have escaped back into the greater world. She even went after Abra, although the film implies that Abra will contain it like Dan once did. But how many other spirits survived the destruction of the Overlook, and could they eventually target Abra or someone else? There's a lot of storytelling opportunities based on the questions these surviving spirits raise.

Written and directed by Mike Flanagan, Doctor Sleep stars Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Carl Lumbly, Alex Essoe and Zahn McClarnon. The film is in theaters now.

KEEP READING: How Doctor Sleep's Shining Scenes Compare To The Original Movie

Rick and Morty: Operation Phoenix Is the Universe's Most Dangerous Weapon

More in CBR Exclusives