Castle Rock’s second season looks, for a Stephen King fan at least, confusing. It’s set in 2019, yet Misery’s Annie Wilkes is 20 years younger than Kathy Bates was in 1990's Misery. Also on hand are Tim Robbins’ Pop Merrill and Paul Sparks’ Ace Merrill, characters whose arcs both culminated in previous King stories. And then there’s ‘Salem’s Lot, a town infested by vampires in King’s 1975 novel. Here, it boasts not bloodsuckers, but a healthy population of Somali immigrants. Of course, Castle Rock co-creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason have room to play around—King’s books, after all, toy with the concept of alternate realities and universes that don’t quite parallel. So, sure, let’s see what happens when characters from a handful of different King stories, one of which is set on the opposite side of the country, clash.
The new trailer for the season doesn’t offer too many plot details, aside from the fact that Annie and her daughter, Joy (Elsie Fisher), are running from a murder charge. It is clear, however, that the season will take us back to the cursed town’s early days, and will fold in the neighboring Shawshank prison and ‘Salem’s Lot’s Marsten House, both hotbeds of their own bloody trauma. If you watched the first season, you can also expect to see the return of one Castle Rockian.
Will the season draw upon King’s lore to tell a new story that elaborates or reinterprets some of his iconic characters? Or is it just some bizarre fan fiction—“What if Annie fought a vampire?!”—that’s interested only in the novelty of it all?
We’ll find out when the show’s first three episodes hit Hulu on October 23.