The past couple of years have been pretty good for Stephen King fans. For decade, Constant Readers have had to deal with adaptations that, with a couple exceptions, range from OK to downright awful. While there has been the occasional dud, movies and shows based on King’s universe of novels has stepped up their game and frequency. One of the most high profile adaptations has been the Hulu original series Castle Rock. What makes the show unique is that it doesn’t follow any one book but instead offers a sort of remix of stories centered in and around the infamous town. While the names and places feel familiar for fans, there are enough original ideas to keep viewers on their toes.
However, with the upcoming release of Season 2, it appears that the show will more directly tie itself to one of King’s best novels. The show appears to be a prequel/update of Misery, which focused on former nurse turned psychopath, Annie Wilkes. While in the novel, she is already unhinged, the show appears to offer a backstory as to what lead Annie into kidnapping famous authors. The teaser features scenes of her with what appears to be her daughter, played by Elsie Fisher. The daughter is a big departure from the original story since Wilkes originally did not have kids. We see brief glimpses of her arrival into Maine and that she is going through some emotional issues and being chased by the FBI. The big difference is that she appears to be much more sympathetic than in her original appearance in Misery. The novel and 1990 film made it pretty clear that Annie was always sadistic and violent. Perhaps there is something that the town does to her that transforms her from a loving mother to someone all too eager to chop off someones foot with an axe. Whether we are supposed to find her sympathetic or if the show is pulling a fast one remains to be seen.
Following the pattern of the first season, the show looks to be about more than just Annie’s time in the northeast. The show looks like it will explore members of the Merrill family, several of whom have played minor roles in other King stories. Tim Robbins plays “Pop” Merrill, who was featured in the short story “The Sun Dog” from Four Past Midnight. Robbins adds a certain amount of cred to the show since he starred in what is arguably the best Stephen King movie adaptation, The Shawshank Redemption. Other newcomers to the show include Barkhad Abdi who will play an original character.
The first season of Castle Rock offered a lot of promise but still left quite a bit to be desired. While it was anchored by a solid cast, including Bill Skarsgård as the shows main villian/victim, the plot kinda petered out by the end. It felt like a show that had way more fun setting up mysteries than it did solving them. In it’s way, it reflects all the things that producer J.J. Abrams tends to do in any production he is a part of. Create a crazy situation and watch the drama unfold without necessarily worrying about how the story will pay off. By incorporating a character like Annie Wilkes, you have an ending already built in, which allows an end goal to be set up and frees up the ability to fill in narrative blanks. While we got glimpses of Annie’s past in Misery we never got the full story of her life. Hopefully the show can offer up a satisfying backstory to the character that still honors what made her so fascinating in the first place.
Header Image Via Collider.com