The horror anthology series Castle Rock has become the latest Hulu original to end after a brief run, joining the ranks of Chance, The First, Future Man and several other scripted programs, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. The season two finale arrived on the streaming site in December 2019.
Castle Rock was based on the works of Stephen King. The first season blended well-known King elements like Shawshank State Penitentiary and the Torrance family of The Shining and Doctor Sleep fame, in addition to Sheriff Alan Pangborn and Deputy Norris Ridgewick, both introduced in The Dark Half. Season two brought a young Annie Wilkes from 1987’s Misery into the world of the Merrill crime family, whose patriarch is introduced in the novella The Sun Dog. However, in an interview on the WGAW podcast 3rd & Fairfax, the show’s creators Sam Shaw (Manhattan) and Dustin Thomason (Lie to Me) claim that they made it a point of order early on to not make assumptions about the audience’s familiarity with King’s massive, ever-expanding bibliography: “We had to be kind of the gatekeepers of making sure that it didn’t start to feel like you were being overwhelmed by those Easter eggs… but it was definitely something we were thinking about all the time, because we really wanted a viewer who didn’t know anything about Stephen King to be able to kind of engage with the story and not feel like, ‘What am I watching?'”
According to Thomason’s Reddit AMA from December 13th, 2019, the first character conceived for the initial Castle Rock script was an original creation: “It started with The Kid. A mysterious man who appears in Shawshank Prison, never accounted for.” The Kid is played by Bill Skarsgård, whose portrayal of the child-abducting clown Pennywise in another King adaptation, 2017’s It, earned him critical praise and accolades aplenty. Shaw and Thomason revealed during their 3rd & Fairfax interview that Skarsgård was cast in Castle Rock before the duo had even seen It: “He had shot It, but it hadn’t been released yet… The truth is, we had no idea that that movie would go on to become the… titanic cultural phenomenon that it became.”
Although Hulu won’t be producing any more episodes of Castle Rock, Shaw and Thomason were able to confirm in the 3rd & Fairfax interview that they had thoughts pertaining to a third season during their pitch phase: “From the very outset, [we] knew what seasons two and three would be.” The complete hour-long interview can be heard below.
All two seasons of Castle Rock are available to watch on Hulu, priced at $5.99 a month with minimal ad interruptions. Additionally, an ad-free version of the service is available to purchase for $11.99 a month.