On Friday, the world became aware of Hulu's Castle Rock, a series which sounds like it'll be taking an extended universe/anthology approach to the work of Stephen King. Yesterday, I sat down with the Castle Rock trailer and permanently damaged my eyesight while attempting to identify every single character and location contained therein. Today, we've got something much less strenuous: reckless speculation based upon a newly-issued Castle Rock press release.
For starters, let's see what the press release has to say for itself:
A psychological-horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse, Castle Rock combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of King’s best-loved works, weaving an epic saga of darkness and light, played out on a few square miles of Maine woodland. The fictional Maine town of Castle Rock has figured prominently in King’s literary career: Cujo, The Dark Half, IT and Needful Things, as well as novella The Body and numerous short stories such as Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption are either set there or contain references to Castle Rock. Castle Rock is an original suspense/thriller — a first-of-its-kind reimagining that explores the themes and worlds uniting the entire King canon, while brushing up against some of his most iconic and beloved stories.
So, this doesn't make Castle Rock's episode-to-episode format any more explicit, but it does let us know we're on the right track: the series will be set "in the Stephen King multiverse", and will "brush up against some of his more iconic..stories". That could mean a number of things, but my guess is we'll have a centralized plot populated by notable Castle Rock residents (perhaps even one that loosely adapts something like Needful Things, a novel which casts a pretty wide net in terms of this town's characters and locations), along with B-stories that will allow tertiary Castle Rock characters and incidents to pop up.
As an off-the-top-of-my-head example of how this would work: picture the scene from Stand By Me where Chris and Gordie shoot a trashcan behind the diner ... now picture that same scene taking place behind Leland Gaunt's place of employment.
Speaking of Stand By Me/The Body: none of that story's characters were given explicit shout-outs in the Castle Rock teaser, but the novella does appear in Different Seasons, which we already know will factor into Hulu's series. Not surprising to see it mentioned here, in other words, but encouraging: I'd be super curious to see who they'd cast in those now-iconic roles.
The Dark Half is another interesting mention here: Sheriff Alan Pangborn was mentioned in the Castle Rock teaser, but that character's better known for the large role he plays in Needful Things. Wouldn't it be cool to see The Dark Half's George Stark roll through Castle Rock in his jet-black Toronado? I submit to you that it would.
On a final note: this press release says Castle Rock has been cleared for a 10-episode order, with production to begin this year. Assuming Castle Rock delivers on the incredible promise of its concept, that's very good news, indeed.
Stay tuned for more on Castle Rock as it becomes available. In the meantime, feel free to hit the comments with your dream pairings for this series: wanna see Teddy Duchamp mixing it up with Cujo? Wanna see Mr. Grey sent to Shawshank State Prison? How about a scenario wherein Leland Gaunt sells Dolores Claiborne her rubber sheets? Sound off in the comments below, folks - we wanna hear all about your weirdo Stephen King mash-ups.