Castle Rock season 2: Everything you need to know about the return of the psychological horror TV series

Based on the stories of Stephen King, executive produced by J.J. Abrams and starring Lizzy Caplan, Castle Rock is set to launch on STARZPLAY via Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

By Sophia Moir Published: 10 February 2020 - 9.48am
Drama Prime Video

Stephen King

Hit Play above to watch Castle Rock's Lizzy Caplan and Tim Robbins talk fears and phobias

 

Stephen King fans might recognise Castle Rock as more than just the name of a TV series.

Because Castle Rock is also the fictional location in Maine, New England, that appears throughout King’s many TV shows, books and films.

The second season of the psychological horror series of the same name continues to bring this infamous setting to life, combining the characters and themes from some of King’s best-loved works with the origin story of Annie Wilkes, the antagonist of the book and film Misery. 

The series is executive produced by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek, Star Wars) and boasts a cast that includes Lizzy Caplan, Tim Robbins and Paul Sparks.

Here, we reveal everything you need to know about Castle Rock season 2, including how to watch it in the UK, who’s in the cast, and loads more.

Lizzy Caplan as Annie Wilkes in Castle Rock Warner Bros. Television

Castle Rock season 2: UK release date and how to watch

Castle Rock season 2 premiered on Hulu in the US in late 2019 - and now it’s confirmed to be coming to the UK. You can binge-watch all 10 episodes to to your heart’s content when they launch on STARZPLAY on Thursday, February 13.

STARZPLAY is a subscription on-demand channel available on Amazon Prime Video. You can enjoy a 30-day free trial of STARZPLAY, after which it costs £4.99 a month on top of your Prime subscription.

Storyline info: What happens in Castle Rock season 2

Castle Rock is an anthology series, so the story of Castle Rock season 1 isn’t continued in season 2 - although it’s obviously set in the same place.

Series 2 co-creator Dustin Thomason explained to reporters at New York Comic-Con that the new series exists in the same timeline as season 1, but is largely a new story.

According to Bustle, viewers might see some connections with season 1 later in the season. There are also a few continuing characters - like Pastor Drew - and we see more of the Merrill crime family.

In season 2, budding psychopath Annie Wilkes, Stephen King's nurse from hell, gets waylaid in Castle Rock, while a feud between warring clans comes to the boil.

From Lizzy Caplan to Tim Robbins: Cast and characters of Castle Rock

Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex, Cloverfield) plays a younger version of Annie Wilkes, the character Kathy Bates won an Oscar for playing in the 1990 film Misery. Wilkes is a nurse and superfan battling to overcome mental health issues.

Elsie Fisher (Eight Grade, Despicable Me) plays Joy, Annie’s home-schooled teenage daughter. Joy is starting to ask questions about her mother’s sanity.

Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River) plays Reginald 'Pop' Merrill, the patriarch of Stephen King’s iconic crime family. The character previously appeared in King’s novella The Sun Dog. Pop is dying of cancer and at a reckoning with his family.

Castle Rock Paul Sparks Warner Bros. Television

Paul Sparks (House of Cards, Waco) plays John 'Ace' Merrill, above. He’s Pop's nephew who stands to take over the family business. Ace was originally played by Kiefer Sutherland in the 1986 film Stand By Me.

Matthew Alan, Yusra Warsama, and Barkhad Abdi round off the rest of the cast, playing Chris Merrill, Dr Nadia Howlwadaag and Abdi Howlwadaag respectively.

Watch the terrifying Castle Rock trailer starring Lizzy Caplan now 

How Castle Rock fits into the Stephen King multiverse & hidden Easter eggs

The fictional Maine town of Castle Rock has figured prominently in King’s literary career. 

Cujo, The Dark Half, IT and Needful Things, as well as novella The Body and numerous short stories such as Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, are either set there or contain references to Castle Rock.

Movie fans will recognise Castle Rock from some of the book's film adaptations, including The Body adaptation Stand By Me - which was set in the town - and The Mist.

Just as in Castle Rock season 1, Shawshank State Prison is referenced in the first episode. This links to The Shawshank Redemption film as it’s the prison that Andy Dufresne makes a complex plan to escape from.

You’ll notice that Tim Robbins appears in season 2, below, as Pop. He played Dufresne in Shawshank. It's a small (Stephen King) world!

Tim Robbins in Castle Rock Warner Bros. Television

Jerusalem’s Lot, which was the setting of King’s 1975 vampire novel ’Salem’s Lot, also features in the first episode of season 2 of Castle Rock.

Stephen King fans will also recognise the bar The Mellow Tiger in episode 1 from King’s 1991 novel Needful Things.

We won’t spoil it for those who haven’t watched past episode 1 but there are loads more Stephen King Easter eggs in Castle Rock listed in this Vulture article.

Filming locations: Massachusetts stands in for Maine

Despite being set in Maine - Stephen King's home state - Castle Rock is actually filmed in Massachusetts. Production returned to Orange, MA, on location, as well as film studios in nearby Devens, MA.

Filming locations in Orange included North and South Main Street (the latter of which coupled for the Castle Rock Police Department), and the First Universalist Church of Orange. 

Lizzy Caplan (Annie Wilkes) and Elsie Fisher (Joy Wilkes) also filmed in Tewksbury Hospital, a mental institution, for scenes in season 2. Bustle reports that they found the experience "terrifying".

Castle Rock returns to STARZPLAY on Thursday, February 13.

STARZPLAY is a subscription channel available on Amazon Prime Video.