Warner Bros. unveiled a first look at its upcoming Stephen King-inspired show Castle Rock with a teaser trailer at New York Comic Con today, which included details about a new cast and story planned for season 2.
In February, J.J. Abrams announced a new show for Hulu that would be heavily inspired by King’s enormous, interconnected world, set in the familiar location of Castle Rock, but with few other details. The show is expected to begin streaming at some point in 2018.
Dustin Thomason, the show’s executive producer and creator, described it as an original story that “brushes up against the characters” from King’s many stories. He said the series will embody the tone of King’s books, and the stories will feel as though they could have come from him. The panel shed a bit more light on the nature of the show, and the trailer shows off fleeting glimpses of the decrepit town, invoking some creepy images and plenty of Easter eggs that should be familiar to dedicated King fans.
One reference particularly stands out: Shawshank Prison. The assembled panel was tight-lipped about what the show’s first season would be about, except for the fact that Andre Holland’s character returns to his home of Castle Rock and deals with an issue with Skarsgård’s character, who is imprisoned at Shawshank. The prison is from one of the best-known adaptations of King’s works, The Shawshank Redemption, which followed a prisoner named Red who was imprisoned for his wife’s murder.
Whatever the story for season 1, it’ll be self-contained, according to Skarsgård, who revealed there will be a definite ending. The show will be an anthology; Thomason and fellow executive producer Sam Shaw said during a pre-panel briefing that the show’s second season would contain a completely new story and cast.
This puts the show into really strange territory. The television world could easily tolerate an anthology show based on individual Stephen King novels, but setting an original story within that world is something new. This grants the show’s creators some unique advantages: it provides them with free rein to tell a story in an established universe, while helping them avoid some of the pitfalls of living up to the original material. Essentially, Castle Rock will be fan fiction, a project that goes far beyond the homage of projects such as Netflix’s Stranger Things.