JJ Abrams was not part of today’s Castle Rock panel at New York Comic-Con, but he might as well have been for all the anti-spoiler control he wielded over producers and cast alike. Even a teaser trailer for the 2018 Stephen King-inspired Hulu series keeps a pretty tight death-grip on plot details.
Some of those images: A burning videotape, a funeral procession, a prison’s death row, lethal injections, and a vehicle marked Shawshank State Prison sinking in a lake. (Take a look at the clip above).
“I was afraid I might never have the opportunity to do something this twisted again,” said Sissy Spacek during the Comic-Con panel. “It’s kind of an homage to Stephen King — and I owe Stephen King a lot.”
Spacek was joined on the panel by exec producers/writers Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason; and co-stars André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, and Bill Skarsgård. With the exception of Moonlight‘s Holland, each of the panel’s actors had previous ties to the world of King: Spacek, of course, played the title role in the classic Carrie, Lynskey starred in the TV mini Rose Red, and Skarsgård stars as the evil clown Pennywise in the box office smash IT.
The new series is written by Shaw and Thomason in the “spirit” of King’s vast work, with themes, locations and even characters familiar from the King universe making appearances.
Exactly which King characters will appear was one of the secrets that, for the most part, went unspoiled by the panel. Only the previously announced character of retired sheriff Alan Pangborn (played by Scott Glenn) was mentioned today.
Spacek, Skarsgård, Lynskey, and Holland play newly-created characters. Spacek’s character Ruth is the mother of Holland’s attorney character, who apparently has Skarsgård’s death row inmate character as a client. Lynskey plays Molly Strand, a real estate agent in the much-haunted town of Castle Rock.
“I don’t know how many murder houses she’s sold,” Lynskey said.
The psychological horror series is named after the fictional town in King’s native Maine that is featured prominently in a number of his novels, novellas, and short stories.
Skarsgård said the project’s King connection actually gave him pause when he was first approached. “I was sort of hesitant,” Skarsgård said. “I had just done Pennywise.” The IT actor said the Castle Rock script banished any doubts.
And, no, he still hasn’t wrapped his brain around the runaway success of IT. “I was terrified of how people would think about it, if they would hate it and if I’d let people down,” he said. Now, he says, he is, in a word, “happy.”
Castle Rock, from Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, premieres in 2018 on Hulu.