As Stephen King adaptations are coming thick and fast at the moment, it seems only natural that someone takes the plunge and produces a TV show that is set in one of Stephen King’s best-known fictional locations, Castle Rock, and that’s exactly what is happening with Hulu’s upcoming TV series.
Inspired by the many works of Stephen King that have been set in Castle Rock, or that have a connection to the fictional town in Maine, the Castle Rock TV show promises to be a ten episode anthology that will enter into the world of Stephen King and have brushes with many of the infamous characters that have stalked the streets and the surrounding woodlands of Castle Rock over the years.
To date, most of the plot details of Castle Rock have been kept a closely guarded secret, but there have been some clues as to the content of the TV series, which is expected to air in 2018, dropped by executive producer J.J. Abrahams and in the teaser trailers that have been released so far.
What we do know is that Castle Rock will be an original story, but it won’t be written by Stephen King. However, as the teaser suggests and as the show’s executive producer and creator, Dustin Thomason, has confirmed, there will be plenty of brushes with Stephen King characters and the show will have a definite Stephen King feel to it.
An impressive cast has been assembled for Castle Rock and J.J Abrahams’ name will add some weight to the production too. Cast members confirmed so far include Melanie Lynskey, André Holland, Jane Levy, Sissy Spacek, Scott Glenn, Terry O'Quinn and Bill Skarsgård. Yes, you did read that right; that was Bill Skarsgård, but there is no indication yet as to the role that he will be playing, so whether or not Pennywise will be making the short trip from Derry to Castle Rock is still unknown. However, this latest teaser does provide some tantalising clues as to what is to come.
Castle Rock has been the setting for a number of Stephen King stories, including Cujo, The Body, The Dark Half, Needful Things, and Gwendy's Button Box. The town is also mentioned in many other Stephen King tales, including Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Gerald's Game, The Stand, Dreamcatcher and 11/22/63.
So, there is certainly plenty of backstory there for Castle Rock to work with, but will the new TV show simply make passing references to Stephen King stories, attempt to make hitherto unknown connections, or will it simply use the town of Castle Rock as an interesting background for entirely new stories?
Stephen King fans would lap up a TV series that is an anthology of old Stephen King stories, they might even flock to watch a TV show that is heavily influenced by Stephen King, such as Stranger Things, but how will they react to original stories that are set in the town that was invented by Stephen King, but stories that have not been written by the master himself?
If Castle Rock plays out as fan fiction, an addendum to the works of Stephen King, all should go well. However, the producers of Castle Rock had better tread warily in the Stephen King Universe if they want to keep Stephen King fans onside, because some things are best left untampered with.