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Pennywise lives! Bill Skarsgård, who recently turned in a memorable performance as Pennywise the Clown in the King adaptation It, also appears in Castle Rock, albeit as a different character. The first shot of him in the trailer is eerie and unsettling, which seems to be something Skarsgård does well. Skarsgård is playing a death row client of Holland’s Henry Deaver. The actor told the NYCC panel he was hesitant to take the role in Castle Rock since he had just done another King adaptation, but the script convinced him to sign up.

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I know I keep bringing up It, which is set in a completely different town, but again we have imagery here that invokes that other King adaptation. This is likely intentional – It was a box office smash, and the producers of Castle Rock, including J.J. Abrams, probably have no qualms about cashing-in on that success. Again, though, we have hints of darkness lurking beneath, a common theme in King’s work.

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“I was afraid I might never have the opportunity to do something this twisted again,” actress Sissy Spacek said during the Castle Rock NYCC panel. “It’s kind of an homage to Stephen King — and I owe Stephen King a lot.” Spacek is of course referring to her now-iconic role as the tormented telepath in Brian De Palma’s adaptation of King’s debut novel Carrie. Spacek is playing Holland’s adopted mother in Castle Rock, and here’s hoping this show gives her a lot more to do than Bloodline, which also had her playing a maternal character. But that character mostly hung around waiting for the plotline to involve her in someway. Do better by Ms. Spacek, Castle Rock, I beg of you. Spacek’s character is a retired professor who has memories of Castle Rock’s dark past.

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Two consecutive shots of characters up on high. One is a team mascot inexplicable standing on a roof waving at a little girl, which is just all kinds of creepy. The next is a woman jumping off a bridge. The sepia-toned nature of the bridge-jumper gives one the sense that this is a flashback to some time in the past. Several characters commit suicide by jumping off the same bridge in the King short story N., which deals with Lovecraftian forces. No King story I’m aware of deals with creepy team mascots, though.

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The woman falling from the bridge gives way to another character falling: Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe) falling back onto a bed. Levy plays Jackie, the death-obsessed self-proclaimed historian of Castle Rock, aka exactly the type of person I would’ve had a crush on back in high school. There’s yet another connection to It here: in King’s novel, the character of Mike Hanlon becomes the self-proclaimed historian of Derry, gathering together all the town’s dark and disturbing history into a journal.

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Another quick series of shots follow  – the young boy we saw earlier shining a desk lamp at something in the dark; a pile of greasy tools. The most striking moment, though, is this: a sheep dog cheerfully digging up a corpse (or at the very least, a severed head). Have I mentioned that death and decay seem to be the prevalent themes of this trailer?

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We may not know exactly how many original King characters will show up in Castle Rock, but we do at least have confirmation on one: Sheriff Alan Pangborn, played by Scott Glenn. Pangborn was a prominent supporting character in The Dark Half, where he investigated the case of Thad Beaumont, an author whose pseudonym came to murderous life; and a main character in Needful Things, where a demonic presence set up shop in Castle Rock. In King’s novels, Pangborn is a widower still haunted by the car accident death of his wife and son. The character has appeared in King adaptations before: Michael Rooker played him in the film version of The Dark Half, while Ed Harris took on the role in the Needful Things movie.

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“Bill Skarsgård peeking out of rectangular holes” is apparently the new running motif in King adaptations. Just as Skarsgård peered out from the drain as Pennywise in It, here he peers out from a slot in his prison cell. Not a lot of context here, save for the fact that Skarsgård has really creepy eyes and knows how to use them.

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A quick succession of shots: Holland’s character spray painting on some glass; a car going off a bridge; a dog looking mean. The spray painting bit can’t help but remind one of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which featured the now-iconic moment where Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) finds “LET’S ROCK” spray painted on a windshield. The barking dog may instantly make someone think of Cujo, King’s most novel about a rabid, killer dog which was also set in the town of Castle Rock. Take note, though: Cujo the dog was a St. Bernard; this is a Rottweiler. They’re completely different breeds, so don’t get your doggos wrong.

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As the trailer nears its end, things pick up considerably, growing more and more intense: Spacek with a box cutter, Skarsgård approaching a fire, two characters in the woods, one with a gun pointed at his head. There’s also someone in a bathtub and a dead neo-nazi laid out on a morgue slab. Things are clearly very tense in Castle Rock, and while there’s not enough material here to get a clear sense of what’s going on, we can draw a few conclusions. For instance, this reveals that Skarsgård’s character, locked away on death row, gets out at one point. He appears to be still in his prison garb, which hints at a possible escape. As for the man pointing the gun in the foggy woods, that could be Glenn’s Alan Pangborn, who is ex-law enforcement and would therefore logically have a pistol.

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A cut to black, and a character (I’m 95% certain it’s Skarsgård) gives voice to the audience by asking, “You have no idea what’s going on here, do you?” This quickly cuts to a car – likely the same car we saw going off a bridge a few seconds ago – slowly sinking into a body of water. A bumper sticker on the car reads SHAWSHANK DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS. Shawshank is, of course, the prison from The Shawshank Redemption, the film based on King’s short story Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Shawshank must be the prison where Skarsgård awaits his fate on death row.

Overall, this is a solid, creepy trailer. I personally would like to know just a little bit more about the series, and I hope that with J.J. Abrams working on the project it doesn’t adhere too strictly to his “mystery box” method. Nonetheless, as a die-hard Stephen King fan, I can’t wait to see this thing.

Castle Rock debuts on Hulu in 2018.

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