Last year, Netflix scored an unexpected hit with Stranger Things, a show that combined the influence of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg into one glorious, retro-80s treat. Audiences apparently weren’t the only ones that noticed, because now King and Spielberg heir apparent J.J. Abrams have announced a Hulu project with its own Stranger Things-esque vibe called Castle Rock.
The announcement came today via the Twitter account of Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, with a mysterious, handwritten card from the filmmaker asking, “What is the hoax in the forest?” A link to the teaser trailer was also included, a short clip that rattles off many of King’s most famous novels and characters, before revealing the names of both the author and Abrams, stylized in a font that will look very familiar to fans of Stranger Things. (It should be noted that Things lifted its font from King’s own books, making this a bit of an influence merry-go-round.)
Longtime fans of King’s work will no doubt recognize the name Castle Rock. It’s one of a handful of fictional towns that the author has set various books in over the years, from The Dead Zone and the short story “The Body” (which was adapted into Stand By Me), to The Dark Half and Needful Things. And just from a world-building perspective, Castle Rock is a constant presence, referred to in passing in nearly every important King work — including the series 11.22.63, which King and Abrams previously made for Hulu.
As illustrated by the teaser, details are extraordinarily thin at this point. Deadline reports that it will be written by Manhattan’s Sam Shaw and Dusty Thomason and will be based on King short stories, but other than that all we really know is that the music and font choices signal a certain stylistic intent. But if there’s anything King is great at, it is creating an overarching, interconnected world, something that he did with great skill in The Dark Tower series, which was able to connect almost all of his works into one grand meta-narrative that even included his own life. The idea of him exploring similar territory in Castle Rock is instantly intriguing, but unfortunately we don’t know when it will be released or who else is involved. What we do know is that Stranger Things might instantly have a reason to turn to Hulu — and the streaming service is doing it by going straight to the influential source himself.