Four Stephen King Characters We Want in Hulu’s Castle Rock from J.J. Abrams

stephen king castle rock jj abrams

Nerds everywhere rejoice! Stephen King and J.J. Abrams are working on a new project together: Castle Rock. We’ll just repeat that so it sinks in: STEPHEN KING AND J.J. ABRAMS ARE WORKING ON A NEW PROJECT TOGETHER. And we’ve clearly been freaking out!

It’s like sci-fi Thanksgiving and horror Christmas all rolled up into one amazingly creepy bundle of joy. The project is a new show for Hulu called Castle Rock, based on the fictional Maine town where King sets so many of his horror stories. While Abrams and King have previously teamed up with Hulu for last year’s time-bendy 11.22.63, this time they’re diving even deeper into King’s works for an original psychological horror. Described by Hulu as, “a first-of it’s kind reimagining that explores the themes and worlds uniting the entire King canon,” the streaming site has already ordered 10 episodes of the mysterious new show. Right now all we have is a teaser (the show goes into production later this year), but it still looks awesome:

Fans of Stephen King will instantly recognize the titles flashing across the teaser screen — some that are actually set in Castle Rock, some that reference it, or some that seem to have nothing to do with his iconic fictional town; Which means that maybe any of King’s works are up for grabs in the new show. Fans have already started to speculate about who – or what – will show up in Castle Rock. Will we see the clown from It terrorizing all the local children? Or the pig’s blood from Carrie splattered all over an unsuspecting (and deadly) teen?

We won’t know for sure until the show airs, but based on our knowledge of King’s cannon, here are four Castle Rock characters we’d love to see show up in the new collaboration:

Cujo, from Cujo

cujo castle rockCujo might not be King’s most subtle villain (a snarling, rabies-infected Saint Bernard hell-bent on viciously tearing apart anyone he meets), but he is pretty scary. King is definitely the master at taking those everyday elements in our lives — beloved pets, cornfields, cars — and making them completely terrifying. Cujo is also set right in Castle Rock, with the Trenton family moving to the small town from New York City. We can definitely picture the rabid dog roaming the streets of the new Hulu show.

Leland Gaunt, from Needful Things

needful things castle rockNeedful Things is touted as “The Last Castle Rock Story,” which isn’t exactly true, although (SPOILER ALERT!) King does blow up a good chunk of the town by the end of the novel. Regardless, we’ve always been huge fans of the character of Leland Gaunt, the villain at the heart of the story. Gaunt is a devil-type who sets up shop in Castle Rock, selling the citizens exactly what they want at very low prices and only requesting that they play a harmless prank on someone else in town. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well. Gaunt would be a perfect addition to the show, pitting the citizens against each other under the guise of a harmless shop owner.

Johnny Smith, from The Dead Zone

the dead zone castle rockSet right in Castle Rock, The Dead Zone is about Johnny Smith, a teacher who ends up in a horrifying car accident. Although he survives, the “dead zone” area of his brain is damaged, granting him certain psychic abilities. But it’s not all fun and games, seriously affecting his health and putting him at the center of a life-altering moral decision: would you kill someone if you knew it would stop a horrible future from happening? There are so many narrative possibilities around Johnny’s powers that we’d love to see him appear in Castle Rock. And, yeah, the ending of the novel doesn’t quite support that hope, but this is King after all — anything is possible in his universe.

Andy Dufresne, from “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” in Different Seasons

different seasons castle rockTurned into a classic film starring Tim Robbins, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” is a novella from King’s 1982 Different Seasons. And while all the novellas in that collection are outstanding, “Redemption,” is probably our favorite. All the credit goes to Andy, who’s serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s the kind of likable, clever and wronged character who you root for from the start. In a King world populated by terrifying figures, it’s always great to have a hero to hold onto. And guess where Andy is from originally? Castle Rock, of course.

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Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.