The teaser trailer for season 2 of Hulu’s Castle Rock turns Lizzy Caplan into a misery machine. The anthology series is loosely tied to a larger Stephen King universe, one that takes place largely within the limits of the titular fictional town, where many of King’s novels and stories were set. Season 1 introduced viewers to the idea of an interconnected set of King tales, hinting at or directly referencing everything from Shawshank Redemption to Cujo and even The Shining.
Season 1 also brought in some talented actors to bring the ostensible shared universe to life, with André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Scott Glenn, Jane Levy, and notable King movie alums Sissy Spacek and Bill Skarsgård. Produced by J.J. Abrams, the series was one part mystery box and one part nostalgia machine, though it also took pains to make its horror universe feel cohesive and lived-in enough that viewers would be back for a second go-round. What’s more, the series brought in Greg Yaitanes (Banshee, The Twilight Zone) to direct the season’s standout episode, ‘The Queen,’ which will hopefully serve as a high-water mark the series will attempt to reach in season 2.
From the look of things, the second installment of Castle Rock won’t have any trouble attracting an audience, as the first teaser trailer goes all-in on the references to Misery with Lizzy Caplan stepping into the role of Annie Wilkes. Joining her are another King movie alum, Tim Robbins, as Reginald ‘Pop’ Merrill, Barked Abdi (Captain Phillips) as Abdi Omar, and Eighth Grade star Elsie Fisher as Annie’s daughter Joy. Check out the first teaser trailer for Castle Rock season 2 below:
It’s certainly a moody teaser trailer, one that looks to be a little more focused in terms of its storytelling than season 1. With Caplan in a major role, one with a more direct connection to one of King’s more memorable works — and certainly one of the best film adaptations of his, with Kathy Bates winning an Academy Award for her portrayal as Annie Wilkes in Rob Reiner’s 1990 film — there’s a good chance season 2 will attract a wider audience, given how recognizable Wilkes is.
As the entertainment world continues to rely on pre-existing IP, Castle Rock is an interesting example of how creators and audiences can have it both ways. While the series is definitely cashing in on King’s name and the names of some of his most famous creations, it’s doing so in a way that doesn’t feel as blatantly cash-grabby. Time will tell if the new season is an improvement over the first, but this early look certainly seems like a step in the right direction.
Castle Rock season 2 premieres Wednesday, October 23, exclusively on Hulu.