Anybody familiar with Stephen King knows the man is a writing machine.
The author has written over 50 novels and short stories in his career, many of which have been adapted for the big and small screen. That’s why Hulu announced a series that would mine from many of those stories, fans — affectionally called Constant Readers by King himself — were thrilled. Many of the author’s stories are tied together; whether multiple books are set in the same place, or characters are mentioned, King has created his own horrifying multiverse.
Castle Rock plans to mine from all of King’s works — from his biggest, most prolific stories, down to his lesser known ones — all while telling its own tale in the cursed town. The series will likely be fit to burst with easter eggs, but here are just a few things to prime you for the upcoming release of the show.
Despite a number of excellent actors cast in the show, the main character will likely be the town itself. The fictional Castle Rock shows up in a hefty number of King’s novels and short stories. In fact, it’s used by the author more than any of his other made-up towns including Derry — the fateful setting for IT.
Some of his biggest books are set in the fateful town including Cujo, The Dead Zone, The Dark Half, Needful Things, Lisey’s Story, Bag of Bones, and The Body — known to moviegoers as Stand By Me. Castle Rock also shares a border with Chester’s Mill, the fateful setting of Under the Dome. It’s unclear if the Hulu series takes place before, after — which would be difficult as the town was nearly destroyed at the end of Needful Things — or in an adjacent timeline where characters from the stories exist in the town but not the events.
Castle Rock isn’t the only setting from numerous King stories headed to the series. Expect to see plenty of Shawshank State Prison as well. The penitentiary hasn’t been seen since 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption, but it’s going to play a big factor in Castle Rock’s story. Andre Holland plays death row attorney Henry Deaver, who returns to the town and prison to deal with an unusual death row case.
The final trailer for the show also revealed a visit to Juniper Hill Asylum . Mentioned nearly as often as Shawshank, the asylum has housed some of the worst character’s in King’s books — including IT’s Henry Bowers , Insomnia’s Charlie Pickering , and Gerald’s Game’s Raymond Joubert (the Space Cowboy). The same trailer also hints at the events from Cujo happening. Perhaps we get a quick shot of the mangled car Charity and Brett Camber used to hide from the titular hound.
Nearly all of the main characters in Castle Rock are original to the show. Scott Glenn’s Alan Pangborn bucks that trend. Pangborn is the main character in two of King’s Castle Rock-set novels — The Dark Half and Needful Things — and is mentioned in Bag of Bones and Gerald’s Game. This won’t even be the first live-action interpretation of the character. Ed Harris played Sheriff Pangborn in the 1993 adaptation of Needful Things. If one Castle Rock resident is popping up as a main character, it’s likely that other familiar names will show up throughout the season, too.
Stephen King Alums
It’s no secret Castle Rock plans to be chock full of references and in-jokes to King’s larger multiverse. Those references actually began months ago during casting. Four of the Castle Rock’s main characters have starred previous Stephen King adaptations.
The biggest of the four is Sissy Spacek. She plays Ruth Deaver in Castle Rock, but is better known as the titular character from the 1976 classic Carrie — based on King’s very first novel. Two actors from the 2017 mega-hit IT also have prominent roles in the Hulu series. Bill Skarsgard — who terrified as Pennywise the Dancing Clown — stars as a mystery character who has “an unusual legal problem” in the show, and his co-star Chosen Jacobs plays Wendell Deaver, but is probably more recognizable as Mike Hanlon from IT. Finally, Melanie Lynskey — who plays Molly Strand — had a role in 2002’s Rose Red miniseries.
Castle Rock — a Hulu original — premieres July 25.