Everything we know about Hulu’s Castle Rock so far

By A. Lynne Rush

There’s no doubt 2017 treated Stephen King fans right (especially if we’re pretending that Dark Tower movie never happened). 2018 is primed to follow that trend, and “Castle Rock” should be exactly what we need to help hold us all over until “It 2” arrives in 2019. Like all JJ Abrams projects, “Castle Rock” is shrouded in the kind of mystery that keeps us twiddling our fingers in glee. With two trailers and tiny scraps of news reports to sustain us, the question becomes: what, exactly, do we really know about “Castle Rock?”

It’s on Hulu

King’s properties are popping up across a multitude of formats; “It” rocked a theatrical release, “Gerald’s Game” and “1922” stream on Netflix. “Castle Rock” found its home on Hulu. This isn’t the first time Hulu housed a Stephen King property; “11.22.63,” the series version of his JFK assassination-based novel, starred James Franco and streamed on Hulu. “Castle Rock” is set to air summer of 2018 and is 10 episodes long.

It’s Got a King-tastic Cast

Credit: Hulu

“Castle Rock” is a reunion of sorts, featuring actors from a handful of other King media projects. Bill Skarsgard, fresh off his triumph as Pennywise the Dancing Clown in 2017’s “It,” has turned up in the trailers sans clown makeup (but inside Shawshank prison. More on that later). Sissy Spacek, who famously played the titular “Carrie” in 1976, is playing Ruth Deaver, estranged adopted mother of death row attorney Henry Deaver (played by Andre Holland). Melanie Lynskey, who played Sister in the delightfully campy “Rose Red” will be Molly Strand, a real estate agent tasked with offloading the presumably difficult-to-sell, violent history-laden homes in town.

Scott Glenn, better known as Stick in Netflix’s “Daredevil,” will take up the role of Alan Pangborn, sheriff of Castle Rock whose book credits include “The Dark Half” and “Needful Things.” Glenn is not the first actor to take on the role of Pangborn; Ed Harris and Michael Rooker have previously brought the character to life.

Terry O’Quinn of “Lost” fame (who also appeared in “Silver Bullet”) stars as Dale Lacy, a pillar of Castle Rock’s community. Jane Levy is the town’s death-obsessed, self-appointed historian (and knowing Castle Rock there’s a lot of death to be obsessed with).

It Features Familiar Locations

Credit: Hulu

King’s books are famously interconnected, and he’s fond of setting multiple books in the same areas. Castle Rock is one of his busier hubs. Some of the more famous Castle Rock books include “Cujo,” “The Dead Zone,” the novella “The Body” (which was later turned into the film “Stand By Me”), and “Needful Things” (the mother of all Castle Rock books). The town is referenced in a vast collection of King’s works, including “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.” Shawshank is featured prominently in the footage we’ve seen so far, and one of the residents of Castle Rock, Harry Deaver, works with inmates. While the prison isn’t located in the town itself, it serves as a sign that we might see the broader world of Stephen King turn up in the series including The Dark Tower, which connects to all of King’s works (and to his son Joe Hill’s books as well).

It’s Missing One Important Person

Credit: Hulu

We know who isn’t involved — Stephen King. The author told Entertainment Weekly, “I’m as much in the dark as anybody else. I don’t know anything about it so I just hope it turns out really well.” He did tell USA Today that he’s in contact with Abrams and has talked out a few ideas.

The show is helmed by J.J. Abrams’s production company, Bad Robot (which is also behind Westworld season 2, one of 2018’s most anticipated properties), and the lack of knowledge can be directly attributed to the famous secrecy of Bad Robot productions. This isn’t Abrams first foray into the world of King — he executive produced “11.22.63.” Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason are running the show. Shaw is known for creating the show “Manhattan” and writing episodes of “Masters of Sex.” Thomason’s credits include executive producing “Manhattan” and “Lie to Me.”

It’s Spooky

The brief glimpses we’ve gotten so far seem to indicate that the show knows who the built-in audience is, and is catering to them. Stylistically, a lot of callbacks to King’s body of work are there: underground tunnels, bloody sinks, scary dogs, creepy masks, broken people, and a healthy dose of the unexplained. There are boarded up and abandoned buildings – perhaps it takes place after the catastrophic end of “Needful Things?” Will it live up to the master of horror’s work? We’ll have to wait until this summer to find out.

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