Now that the first season of Castle Rock is in the books, you may have questions about what exactly transpired over those 10 episodes and what that ending means for Season 2. Well, for starters, you can check out our handy guide to Stephen King Easter eggs throughout the season, along with commentary and insight from showrunners Dustin Thomason and Sam Shaw in their “Inside the Episode” extras on Hulu. But to go beyond that, we’ll need to revisit some of the earlier events of Castle Rock to see how they’ve all been pointing to this ending, and to find out where Season 2 will take us.
Castle Rock, itself an original story set within the shared worlds of King’s writing, was intended as an anthology series from the start. That means that Season 1 is a self-contained story and that Season 2 would likely introduce new characters, plots, and settings, along with a cast refresh. So while we don’t expect the entire cast to reprise their roles or even take on new ones in the new season, the ending scene of the finale strongly suggests that at least one character will be taking the lead in Season 2. This is your last spoiler warning if you aren’t caught up.
Season 1 focused on Henry Deaver (André Holland), a death-row defense attorney who’s called back to the troublesome town of his birth, Castle Rock, Maine. While dealing with all sorts of family drama and faces from his past, Deaver also has to take charge of The Kid, a mysterious stranger found to be held against his will for years by the recently departed Warden Dale Lacy. The issue is, The Kid is creepy yet charismatic, sowing discord and violence everywhere he walks while also curiously able to talk his way out of most trouble and paint himself as the victim. Since the season dealt heavily with reasonable doubt and one’s personal beliefs, leading to often irrevocable actions, it’s ultimately up to the viewers to decide if The Kid’s story of a parallel world was the true one, or just the gift of his silver tongue. When Holland’s own Henry Deaver sees The Kid’s face turn into an aged, decrepit visage out in the woods, he clearly has all the evidence he needs to lock the stranger back up once more. (I have a working theory that points to The Kid being just one more alias for the longtime King antagonist Randall Flagg, but Castle Rock is a bit too nebulous to be able to pin that down hard just yet.)
So while Henry is happily living with his son Wendell in his old house, still in Castle Rock against all odds, another resident is getting ready to journey west. Jane Levy‘s Jackie Torrance was a fun, if small, addition to the cast this season. Her biggest claims to infamy are her tenuous connection to her psychotic Uncle Jack Torrance of The Shining and the fact that she buried an axe in the skull of a would-be murderer to save Henry’s life. Now, she’s channeling a life-long fascination with the macabre and her recent brush with murder into a thriller novel. Be sure you stick around to see the credits, because this mid-credit scene strongly suggests Jackie’s headed out west to the fictional Overlook Hotel, which gifted its name to her book’s title, for research and to track down her family’s history and dark legacy.
As EW reports from their chat with Shaw and Thomason, the mid-credits scene in the finale strongly suggests a continuing story with Levy’s Jackie Torrance at the lead … but:
Thomason: [T]his season at some level is a story about stories, about narratives, about how we see ourselves. There was always something really fun about the idea of Jackie, who at the beginning of this story finds herself a person without a story, but over the course of it finds herself a story, embellishes on it and makes a drama out of it.
Shaw: 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. Part of the fun of season 2 and beyond will be seeing what some of the questions [will be]. The penultimate episode of this season points to the idea that there are other worlds than these, 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.
Shaw and Thomason were cagier still when it came to announcing the cast or setting of their second season, but they praised the way King handles his own connected universe, saying:
Shaw: The pleasure of finding your way back to stories or characters you’ve seen before in unexpected ways is a huge, exciting advantage of this series. I think it’s something that we can do, and allow it to be an anthology but still embrace stories and characters that we love. It just may not happen in the way that one might expect.
So what do you think? Will Levy’s Jackie Torrance be heading to the Overlook Hotel as a budding thriller author in order to finish her story where it began? Or was that just one more Easter egg for King fans out there? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!