It’s a good time to be a Stephen King fan.
Fresh off the success of It and Gerald’s Game in 2017, Hulu will release Castle Rock later this year, a series set in the King shared universe. The first teaser, released last February, promised ties to everything from Dolores Claiborne to Salem’s Lot to The Green Mile. Now, a new teaser, which Hulu released online ahead of its Super Bowl debut, is filled with more specific references, including characters straight out of King canon, and some visual imagery that recalls last year’s clown blockbuster.
Here’s everything we caught in the Castle Rock Super Bowl teaser.
1. The Shawshank Shout-out
The most overt reference comes at the beginning of the teaser, when André Holland’s character, Henry Deaver, reveals that he received a letter from Shawshank Penitentiary. Shawshank is famously the setting for the beloved film The Shawshank Redemption, based on King’s short story, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.
2. The Sheriff of Needful Things
Deaver, who plays a death row attorney, confesses he got the Shawshank letter to a character named Alan Pangborn, played by Scott Glenn. King fans will remember Pangborn as the protagonist of Needful Things, which is set in the town of Castle Rock. In that book, Pangborn is the local sheriff. Is he still?
These two shots aren’t necessarily direct call-outs, but the imagery really brings to mind It. Storm drains play a central role in that book and film, and the bloody sink is reminiscent of Bev’s iconic bathroom scene.
4. Pennywise without Makeup
Speaking of It, Castle Rock stars none other than Bill Skarsgård, a.k.a. Pennywise. He’s clearly playing a different character here—presumably one of Deaver’s clients, and probably the one serving time at Shawshank—but it’s still fun to see an actor so well-known as a King staple returning to his world.
5. Other Familiar Faces
Skarsgård isn’t the only Castle Rock actor who’s been in a King adaptation before. Melanie Lynskey, who plays real estate agent Molly Strand, previously starred in King’s TV miniseries Rose Red. And Sissy Spacek, playing Deaver’s adopted mother Ruth, is of course famous for Carrie, a role that earned her an Oscar nomination.
6. Bad Dog!
Spacek also appears in this standout moment. Notice that her hand covered in blood. A big dog and blood immediately brings to mind Cujo, though troublesome canines are prevalent among the breadth of King’s work, from Pet Sematary to Gerald’s Game.
The teaser is loaded with even more strong imagery that’s probably tied to King works but that are less easy to decipher. There looks to be a killer with a hammer, and some kind of secret group (or cult) that wears animal masks. We can’t wait to see how these things also tie into the horror master’s massive universe when Castle Rock premieres later this year.
More on Stephen King!
- The developing sequel to The Shining has found a director
- A Pet Sematary remake is on the way
- A guide to Stephen King’s Lovecraftian gods
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