Hulu announced the renewal of the second season on August 14, 2018, the day before the sixth episode of the ten-episode Season 1 aired on the streaming service.
The renewal of Castle Rock for Season 2 was expected after the first season proved to be a hit on Hulu.
The J.J. Abrams-produced web TV series, which premiered on July 25, 2018, attracted viewership from both casual as well as hardcore King fans.
According to Hulu, the series registered a strong opening in terms of consumption and reach when it premiered, and remains the streamer’s most successful first-season original series, with the highest ever view-through rates for a Hulu Original in the first two weeks after launch.
The early season success of the series probably explains why Hulu eagerly handed out a quick Season 2 renewal.
Castle Rock is the second series that Hulu has taken from the Stephen King universe, the first being 11.22.63 (TV Mini-Series 2016), which premiered on Hulu in February 2016.
Castle Rock joined Hulu’s expanding library of scripted original series which includes The Handmaid’s Tale (TV Series 2017- ), Catch-22 (TV Mini-Series 2019- ), The Looming Tower (TV Mini-Series 2018), The First (TV Series 2018- ), the upcoming Little Fires Everywhere, Runaways (TV series 2017- ), and Into the Dark (TV series 2018- ).
Castle Rock Season 1 referenced multiple Stephen King stories, including The Shining, Shawshank Redemption, Cujo and The Green Mile. Castle Rock’s storyline saw it set in the fictional small mill town of Castle Rock, Maine, and featured characters, settings and plot themes already familiar to readers of King’s stories. Upcoming seasons of Castle Rock will continue to make references to other works in the King multiverse.
The Castle Rock Season 1 finale, titled Romans, which aired on September 12, 2018, concluded the strange story of Henry Deavers (André Holland), including The Kid (Bill Skarsgård) and Molly Strand (Melanie Lynskey).
Fans had thought that the fact that Castle Rock is an anthology meant they did not have to worry that the series would get cancelled after ending in a cliffhanger, but the season eventually ended with many unresolved questions. The questions left fans speculating whether Castle Rock Season 2 would revisit the unresolved mysteries of Season 1.
Ahead of the premiere of Castle Rock Season 2, we bring you everything we know so far about the horror anthology, including release date, cast, and plot.
Castle Rock Season 2 release date
Hulu announced the renewal of Castle Rock for Season 2 on August 14, but the streaming service did not announce an official release date for the upcoming season.
But while fans impatiently await the details of the timetable for Castle Rock Season 2, they have been trying, as usual, to predict when the highly-anticipated upcoming season will premiere, based on the fact that, unlike Netflix or HBO, Hulu maintains a consistent premiere date calendar, with consecutive seasons of each original series premiering in the same month.
For instance, so far, consecutive seasons of Hulu’s original series, such as Chance (TV series 206-2017), Shut Eye (TV series 2016-2017), and The Handmaid’s Tale (TV series 2017- ), have all premiered in the same month. The two seasons of Chance premiered in October, while the two seasons of Shut Eye premiered in December. The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1 and Season 2 both premiered in April.
Season 1 of Castle Rock premiered on July 25, 2018, so if Hulu sticks to the previous pattern of its premiere date schedule, Castle Rock Season 2 should premiere in July 2019.
Castle Rock Season 2 overview
Details of Castle Rock Season 2, including release date, cast members, number of episodes, and plot, have not been made known, but Castle Rock Season 2 is expected to feature a new self-contained story, new characters and cast.
However, the entire Castle Rock Season 1 creative team is expected to return for what would likely be a 10-episode Castle Rock Season 2.
The first season creative team included show co-creators, showrunners and executive producers Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason. Stephen King, J.J. Abrams, Mark Lafferty, Ben Stephenson, and Liz Glotzer, also served as executive producers, with Robin Sweet, Tamara Isaac and Robin Brown as producers.
The series is distributed by Warner Bros Television, which also distributed Hulu’s Stephen King/J.J. Abrams (Bad Robot Productions) adaptation of 11.22.63.
Castle Rock Season 1 received an overall positive response from critics, with an 86% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an average rating of 7.57/10, based on 70 critical reviews. It scored a “generally favorable” 66/100 based on 35 critical reviews on Metacritic.
Castle Rock Season 2 trailer
The trailer for Castle Rock Season 2 has not been released. We will update readers when Hulu releases the official trailer for the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, enjoy the official trailer for the first season released last July.
Castle Rock Season 2 cast
Castle Rock co-creator Sam Shaw revealed at the show’s New York Comic-Con panel in October 2017 that, unlike the FX Network’s horror anthology American Horror Story, which has kept its core cast intact over its eight season run so far, Castle Rock Season 2 will introduce a new story and a new cast of characters and actors.
Castle Rock Season 1, set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine, starred André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Scott Glenn, Terry Quinn, Bill Skarsgård, Jane Levy, and Sissy Spacek.
Some have interpreted Shaw’s statement to mean that the main characters, including André Holland, Bill Skarsgård, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Lynskey, and Jane Levy, won’t return to play new roles in Castle Rock Season 2, and that the new story for Season 2 will be performed by an entirely fresh group of actors. If this happens then the major element of Season 1 that Season 2 will retain is its setting in the spooky town of Castle Rock in Maine.
To explore multiple storylines in the same small mill town of Castle Rock, the creators may have to set Castle Rock Season 2 in a different time or in an alternate reality version of the first season’s Castle Rock. And fans are already speculating that the phenomenon called Schisma (apparently a version of the “thinnies” from King’s Dark Tower series) that exists in the woods outside Castle Rock could be the device that the showrunners will use to create different storylines for the different seasons of the series.
“Thinnies” represent points where the fabric of space and time has worn thin and thus acts as a wormhole or “stargate” portal connecting different versions of reality existing in different times or dimensions.
This means that Castle Rock Season 2 could introduce fans to an alternate reality version of the first season’s Castle Rock that has a different timeline.
Another exciting possibility is that Castle Rock Season 2 is set in the same timeline as the events of the previous season but tells a story involving a different set of residents of Castle Rock who may interact with the characters from the previous season. This means that Castle Rock Season 2 shifts focus from the events in the lives of the Season 1 characters to the events in the lives of a new set of characters.
Fans who have balked at the idea of the producers letting go the entire cast of highly talented actors from Season 1 to tell a new Season 2 story performed by a new cast, favor the suggestion that Castle Rock Season 2 could simply shift focus to a new set of characters while Season 2 continues to reference Season 1. Overall, this means that as the series progresses, characters from previous seasons continue to appear as past seasons intersect with the current season.
Fans of the Stephen King book series are already familiar with King stories mentioning characters and referencing places and events in other books.
Others have suggested that a new self-contained story could be created by simply introducing new characters, plots and settings, while retaining connections with the first season through some characters and actors reprising their roles or taking on new roles.
Castle Rock Season 2 plot
Castle Rock Season 1 followed the death row attorney Henry Deaver (André Holland), who returns to his hometown of Castle Rock after receiving a mysterious phone call from Shawshank State Penitentiary. At Castle Rock, Deaver works on a strange case involving a mysterious character, The Kid (Bill Skarsgård), who was secretly held against his will at the prison without any official records by the now deceased Warden Dale Lacy (Terry O’Quinn).
The Kid is a creepy character who exudes an evil influence, with death and mayhem following him like a shadow. He escapes from Shawshank after Dennis Zalewski massacres his fellow guards. He also escapes from the police station after the riot that leaves many dead.
Later in finale episode, out in the woods, we witness The Kid’s visage momentarily transform into that of a monstrous entity, apparently giving proof of his devilish supernatural nature after claiming in Episode 9 that he was an alternate reality version of Henry Deaver.
So are we to believe The Kid’s claim that he is an alternative-reality version of Deaver? Or go by the clue that Skarsgård dropped before the series started, that The Kid is an original character with “mythological connection” to the larger King universe?
Some viewers believe that The Kid lied and that Molly was deceived to believe his story that he is an alternate reality version of Henry Deaver. But others will point to Deaver’s questionable antecedents to suggest that there is more to Deaver than is made plain.
Viewers will recall Deaver’s role in the death of his father, the mentally ill Reverend Matthew Deaver (Adam Rotenberg) who, like the warden Dale Lacy, was hearing voices from God. Henry pushed the reverend off a cliff to save his mother Ruth Deaver (Sissy Spacek) who the reverend wanted to kill for her sinful acts of adultery — she’d been trysting with Sheriff Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn).
Molly later felt influenced by Henry and pulled the plug on the reverend’s life support.
Henry apparently passed through the Schisma after he killed the reverend. He went missing for several days during which he appeared to have visited an alternate universe where he met the alternate Matthew Deaver who locked him up in a cage. The Kid, the alternate universe version of Henry, helped Henry to escape from captivity and returned with him to his version of reality. In Henry’s reality, The Kid was found, captured and held in a cage by Warden Lacy.
The Season 1 finale of Castle Rock ended ambiguously with Henry deciding to lock up The Kid again to protect the town from his evil influence.
What are we supposed to make of the creepy smile on The Kid’s face in the closing scene of the finale episode? Did it prove that The Kid was the ageless incarnation of the Devil, as O’Quinn’s character Lacy believed, or simply an alternate reality version of Deaver?
Was Henry himself actually evil without realizing it?
Was The Kid the author of evil around him or a victim of forces beyond his control?
Series creator Dustin Thomason had revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that each season would have its own “self-contained story.”
“Each season is going to be its own self-contained story: beginning, middle and end,” he said. “But I think that just as the books do, we want to surprise viewers with the ways in which the stories intersect.”
The information that the series was an anthology led many viewers to expect that the writers would use the finale to resolve most of the mysteries of the season and tie up the loose ends. But instead, they left many questions unanswered. The unanswered questions left open the possibility that future seasons will return to resolve them.
The questions that fans want answers to include whether Henry did the right thing when he locked up The Kid like Lacy did.
Should he have followed Molly’s (Melanie Lynskey) advice and taken him to the woods to find the Schisma? What happened to Henry staying in his old house in Castle Rock with his son Wendell (Chosen Jacobs)?
Regarding the suggestion that future seasons would resolve the mystery surrounding the identity of The Kid, co-creator Thomason was evasive.
“This may frustrate some people, but I think for us, we really want people to interpret that moment [transformation in the woods] as they will,” he told Vanity Fair, “and we’re not gonna comment a lot on that moment.”
“Neither one of us will say too much about exactly in what ways some of those questions are gonna return,” he continued. “Part of the fun of the ride is not knowing exactly what’s around the next corner.”
While the producers have remain tight-lipped and refused to share significant details about the characters and plot of the upcoming season, some have suggested that the finale episode’s mid-credits might have given a hint about Castle Rock Season 2 storyline.
The mid-credits sequence shows Jackie Torrance (Jane Levy), who saved Henry’s life, writing a book titled Overlooked, based on her family history. She also talked about taking a trip to the Overlook Hotel from The Shining.
Fans will recall that Torrance had revealed in Episode 5 that the psychotic Jack Torrance from The Shining was her uncle.
“The best place to finish a book is where it started,” she said in response to an inquiry about her book. She also talked about her plans to go back to where the family’s history started.
It is widely speculated that the mid-credits scene was intended to hint the storyline for Castle Rock Season 2.
Shaw and Thomas might have confirmed ongoing speculation and rumors that Castle Rock Season 2 storyline will focus on Torrance’s trip to the fictional Overlook Hotel to research her family’s dark history for her book.
“Here’s where we’ll probably be infuriatingly tight-lipped, but what I would say is that we would sure love to see Jackie explore the Overlook Hotel,” Shaw said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly (EW), when responding to a question about the mid-credits scene, and whether it was meant to give a hint about a future Castle Rock storyline.
“The penultimate episode of this season points to the idea that there are other worlds than these,” he continued, “and in this final tag there’s this sense that there are worlds of Stephen King’s that this show may explore eventually that are more far-flung than the state of Maine.”