When it comes to TV shows and movies, shared universes are now commonplace, whether fans like it or not. With Marvel Studios a successful practitioner of intricate, interwoven world building, and many studios seeming to follow its creative lead, Stephen King is now throwing his hat in the proverbial cinematic ring. Which is fitting, considering the horror maestro had a shared universe long before the format was even a glint in Marvel Studios' eye.
Premiering on #Hulu, psychological-horror series Castle Rock will feature many of King's long-established, memorable characters and scenarios from his famous fictional setting in Maine. Here's the official synopsis:
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 far André Holland (Moonlight), Melanie Lynskey (Girlboss), Jane Levy (Twin Peaks) and Sissy Spacek (Bloodline) are confirmed for the cast, with Holland to play the role of Henry, a death-row attorney with a checkered past. Let's explore a little deeper and try to figure out how these characters will slot into King's shared universe.
A Character Taking Care Of Business
Henry will be the audience's point of view character and most likely connected to other #StephenKing stories and characters, such as Andy Dufresne from Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, or John Coffey's heartbreaking tale from The Green Mile. Perhaps Henry tried unsuccessfully to defend Dufresne in a court of law. He could even be spurred on by the fact that no one was ever charged for the murder of Ray Brower, the catalyst for the events in The Body (which later became the film adaptation Stand By Me).
A Character Who Lives In The Past
Levy will play a character named Jackie, the death-obsessed, self-appointed historian of #CastleRock. Given what little we know about the characters who have been cast so far, we could assume that Jackie is a fly in the ointment for Henry, in that she'll attempt to uncover secrets that he might want to keep hidden.
And seeing as she's quite the history buff, Jackie could be interested in the events that have taken place in neighboring towns like Derry — such as the children that were murdered by #Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Jackie would certainly be interested in John Coffey and his miraculous abilities, which could place her on a nursing home visit to see Paul Edgecomb.
A Character With Supernatural Flair
Castle Rock marks a triumphant return to the world of Stephen King for Spacek. Perhaps best remembered as the titular character in Brian De Palma's 1976 version of Carrie, here Spacek will play Ruth Deaver, the adoptive mother to Holland's Henry. She is a retired professor whose fading memories hold the key to Castle Rock's mysterious past.
With her academic background, perhaps Ruth has an interest in the supernatural, inspired by the possibility of vampires over in nearby Jerusalem's Lot (Salem's Lot), or clairvoyants trying to stop a nuclear war (The Dead Zone). Her connection to Henry is clear, but why would she adopt? Perhaps she lost a child to the dancing clown or was the mother of one of the boys who never made it to adulthood in The Body.
A Character Facing An Uphill Battle
The most recent addition to the cast list, Lynskey will play Molly Strand, a struggling real estate agent who suffers with a rare medical condition. In a town where many of the homes are the sites for the locals' worst nightmares come to life, business is understandably far from booming for our beleaguered broker. She may even be tasked with selling the home of a family whose rabid dog Cujo went on a rampage, killing Castle Rock residents and terrorizing a neighboring mother and her son.
Castle Rock has a wide variety of characters and scenarios to pull from within King's shared universe and will be produced in conjunction with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot, #Hulu and Warner Bros. — the same team-up behind the thrilling sci-fi series 11.22.63. Given the success of that series, it appears this fresh material is in the right hands. And of course extra points will be given if a link to The Lawnmower Man can be slotted in there effectively.
Castle Rock will air on Hulu in 2018. Stephen King's next cinematic outing will be The Dark Tower, which hits cinemas on August 4. What do you think this show's premise? Sound off in the comments below.