Posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 by Jacob Hall
After plowing through several of his novels and short story collections, all Stephen King readers eventually come to a realization: all of his stories take place in the same universe. Well, more specifically, a multiverse. Some stories take place in the same town, while others take place in alternate dimensions. Characters from disparate stories cross paths. People with the same names appear in different places and die different deaths, suggesting alternate realities and timelines. All of this chaos orbits the Dark Tower series of novels, which tie King’s massive bibliography together in one intentionally untidy package. You can read the King oeuvre for the genre chills or you can read it to find those secret and not-so-secret connections.
And considering everyone’s obsession with “shared universes” these days, Hulu’s upcoming Castle Rock series was inevitable. We’ve already seen a trailer, but thanks to a new press release, we now know more about what this show will offer. Specifically, it will be the first onscreen Stephen King project to acknowledge that all these stories take place in the same realm.
What We Know About Castle Rock
You may have already seen the trailer from a few days ago: eerie audio and music provide a soundtrack for a number of familiar names and locations and titles, all culminating with a location that will be familiar to King fans: Castle Rock, Maine. Although King has created a number of fictional towns to stage his various horrors, Castle Rock remains a lynchpin of his entire universe – Cujo, Needful Things, The Dark Half, The Dead Zone, and the short story “The Body” (later adapted as Stand by Me) all take place there. Other stories reference it, listing it among real-life locations as if it was just another town and not a place where really bad things happen on a regular basis.
So let’s take a look at this paragraph from the new press release, which dives into detail about what this series is going to be:
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.
The press release also notes that Hulu has ordered ten episodes of Castle Rock, with series creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason executive producing alongside J.J. Abrams, Ben Stephenson and Liz Glotzer. This is the second time Hulu has brought Stephen King to the big screen – their pretty good adaptation of the magnificent 11.22.63 arrived last year.
It should also be noted that this isn’t the first time someone has attempted a series like this. In 2006, TNT debuted Nightmares and Dreamscapes, a short-lived anthology series that adapted various King short stories for television. It was ambitious but not very good, constantly pushing against the boundaries of a traditional TV budget. If it had arrived a few years later, after The Walking Dead made grisly violence perfectly okay on cable, it could have been an all-timer.
And that’s all of the hard news and if you want to mosey on out of here, you are entirely welcome to click away. But if you’re a Stephen King fan, or if you want to hold your breath and take a deep dive, let’s talk about what this series could be.