After 45 years of crafting bestselling novels, Stephen King has established one of the most dense fictional universes in pop culture, with many tied together by a handful of iconic Maine locations. The town of Castle Rock, for instance, has shown up in dozens of novels and stories, and it's the central setting for the new Hulu thriller of the same name. Planned as an anthology, Castle Rock will combine characters and themes from many different works, and showrunners Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason explained why they wanted to center the show's events in the often doomed town. According to Thomason:
It felt to us like there was a really interesting way to approach the material, which was to say, what is a town like Castle Rock like now? I think we were excited by the idea of coming back to this place that had haunted our childhood dreams and thinking about what it would be like in modern times.
While Castle Rock has appeared in several of Stephen King's more current works such as 2014's Revival and the novella A Good Marriage, among many more, the town's heyday came during King's prolific period through the 1980s and early 1990s. Stories such as "The Body" and "The Sun Dog," as well as novels Needful Things and The Dark Half, fully explored Castle Rock's darkest corners and most cursed residents. So for Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason, the draw for this new project was digging into how the town managed to survive into the modern day, and the kind of people that have kept it from becoming a full-on ghost town. (Such as Desperation, Nevada.)
In a similar way to how the IT remake established an updated take on the similarly legendary location of Derry, Castle Rock will introduce new wrinkles into the Maine town that form further connections between King's many works, with Scott Glenn's Alan Pangborn, Sissy Spacek's Ruth Deaver and André Holland's Henry Deaver just some of the characters that will try to find the metaphorical light in the darkness.
Speaking to crowds at the ATX Television Festival (via TV Guide), Sam Shaw said this about such Castle Rock citizens.
You wonder who the fuck stays in a town after like the second serial killer and the demonic truck and the rabid dog. What is this town that has been visited by more than its share of nightmares?
Intelligently, Holland's death-row lawyer Henry Deaver didn't stick around in adulthood, as he was wrongfully blamed for the death of his father, but was drawn back, in part thanks to the discovery of a feral and forgotten Shawshank prisoner played by IT's Bill Skarsgård. So already, we know we're not going to be meeting up with the town's most genius and sure-headed citizens. Interestingly, though, Melanie Lynskey's Molly Strand is a realtor in town, so her story might shed some light on the kind of people that end up buying houses in Castle Rock these days, despite its sordid history.
Find out all the horrors still lurking through the dark and dusty roads when Castle Rock debuts on Hulu on Wednesday, July 25, at 12:01 a.m. PT. To see what new and returning shows are hitting primetime elsewhere, head to our summer premiere schedule.