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Castle Rock Opening Title Easter Eggs Make The Ultimate IT Reference

Pennywise Castle Rock

Hulu's Castle Rock has managed to cleverly sprinkle in subtle Stephen King Easter eggs throughout each episode - and the opening titles are no different. In fact, the opening titles are even hiding the ultimate IT reference for all of King's ardent, eagle-eyed fans.

Based within Stephen King's layered multiverse and inspired by some of the author's most beloved stories and characters, Castle Rock (which is the fictional setting of such King stories as Needful Things, Cujo, and The Body) weaves together the troubled and complicated lives of its citizens. After death row attorney Henry Deaver (played by André Holland) is summoned back to his hometown by a mysterious Shawshank State Prison inmate (played by Bill Skarsgård), a deep-seated mystery in Castle Rock begins to unravel, pitting him, his mentally unstable mother Ruth (played by Sissy Spacek), retired sheriff Alan Pangborn (played by Scott Glenn), local realtor Molly Strand (played by Melanie Lynskey), and horror enthusiast Jackie (played by Jane Levy) against the town's seedy past.

Related: Castle Rock Cast & Character Guide

The opening credits are stacked with some interesting references and Easter eggs - not the least of which is the number of references and Easter eggs it includes. There are a total of 27 nods to King's work, which just so happen to be the same amount of years that IT's Pennywise hibernates before feeding on Derry, Maine's local youth. Now, follow along for a frame-by-frame breakdown of all the King callbacks.

The openings titles begin with pages from Needful Things. Various bits of text are either circled ("The Devil") or underlined (a reference to the Castle Rock Water District, as well as "Psalm 9:17" from the Bible, which states, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God").

The next reference includes the table of contents from The Green Mileunderlining Part One: The Two Dead Girls, as well as the word "Mouse" in Part Two: The Mouse on the Mile. There is also an arrow pointing to a note that reads: "possible Of Mice and Men reference?"

This is followed by a rapid series of shots featuring three different book covers: Needful Things (Viking Press edition), IT (Scribner edition), and Cujo (New American Library edition). These flashes bleed into a page from 'Salem's Lot - specifically Chapter 19 and the line "Jimmy ran back to Matt's room," referring to characters Jimmy Cody and Matt Burke, preceded by highlighted text that reads, "The lights went out" (this scene actually belongs to the fourteenth chapter in 'Salem's Lot in the nineteenth section). What's more is that the number 19 is a significant number in King's literary universe, featured prominently in the Dark Tower series, but also in other stories like The Dead Zone and Under the Dome.

Related: Castle Rock: Who Is Bill Skarsgård’s Mysterious Character?

There is then a map of Maine that includes some fictional towns created by Stephen King. It features text referring to Castle Rock's population of 1,500 people, a circle around Derry (IT), the word "Crash" written between Bangor and Haven (referencing The Tommyknockers), "11:44" scribbled next to Chester Mill (Under the Dome), and the word "Arrowhead," which refers to the Arrowhead Project featured in stories like The Mist and Firestarter. The map also features Little Tall Island from Storm of the Century and Dolores Claiborne (the title "Storm of the Century" is written just beside it).

The final reference on the map belongs to a small body of text that reads: "Total Eclipse of the Sun Saturday." This is referencing King's unpublished novel In the Path of the Eclipse, which he ultimately split into two stories: Dolores Claiborne and Gerald's Game.

Jack Torrance in the Shining with Castle Rock credits

Next is a reference to The Shining - specifically to Chapter 26 ("Dreamland"), in which Jack Torrance recalls the time his father beat his mother with a cane and uttered the phrase, "Come on and take your medicine," which Jack repeatedly says to his son Danny. There are then a handful of Misery references, first showcasing the text "Misery's Return" (the novel within the novel), and then close-ups of two different Misery book editions one after the other (Signet and Pocket Books).

There is then a close-up of the Nightmares and Dreamscapes cover (Viking Press edition), some text from Cujo, and a torn image of an eclipse (similar to the Signet edition of Nightmares and Dreamscapes, but not the same). This is then followed by text that reads "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" from The Shining placed side-by-side with a map of Shawshank State Prison.

Related: Castle Rock TV Show Assembles Stephen King's Avengers

The next reference includes a very blurry table of contents that appears to include the year 1958.  This could either be referring to the Plymouth Fury's model year from Christine, a prominent year featured in 11.22.63, or the year in which the Losers' Club is first attacked in IT. This is then followed by the number 217 (from The Shining) and some blurry, handwritten text referring to Cujo.

IT gets another shout-out with a shot of the book's first chapter ("After the Flood") in which Georgie Denbrough is killed. The word "Ironworks" is also scribbled on the paper, referring to the fatal explosion in Derry. Cover art from the book's Scribner edition is also included.

The last references in the opening titles refer to The Shining - Chapter 37, "The Ballroom," text that reads, "REDRUM. MURDER. REDRUM. MURDER," and the numbers 237 (the room from Stanley Kubrick's adaptation) and 217 (from the original novel, which is crossed out). This is then followed by rapid shots of title pages for The Shining and Cujo, as well as the text, "Pennywise Lives" (which itself is an IT reference in Dreamcatcher). The final reference includes the title IT. 

More: Castle Rock Review: A Leisurely Stroll Through Stephen King’s World

Key Release Dates
  • IT Chapter Two (2019) release date: Sep 06, 2019
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