‘Castle Rock’ Casts Andre Holland: What Death Row Details Suggest About Plot [Opinion]

Just hours ago, Variety learned that Castle Rock, the Hulu Stephen King anthology series being produced in part by JJ Abrams, has cast Moonlight star Andre Holland as its lead. The announcement also included a synopsis of Holland’s role in the Hulu show, and we can use this new information in combination with what we already know to make some educated guesses about where the plot of Castle Rock will go.


According to the report, “Holland will play Henry, a death row attorney with a unique and complicated history in the town.” Right off the bat, that brief character synopsis and the fact that Holland is 37 years old let us know that Castle Rock will not be yet another 80’s-set It homage like Stranger Things was. Not that Stranger Things was anything less than a great show, but it is good to know Castle Rock will be taking a completely fresh tact instead of trying to ride the nostalgia-fueled wave Stranger Things created when it became massively successful.

The fact that Holland will play a death row attorney as Castle Rock’s lead opens up a lot of opportunity for Stephen King’s huge cast of villains to appear in relatively quick succession, which would obviously be perfect for an anthology series. It also means, though, that the villains on the show will be apprehended for committing a crime.

Whether that means non-human villains like Pennywise and Cujo will be left out of the plot in Castle Rock is uncertain. On one hand, it’s difficult to see Pennywise filing into a court room to plead his case. On the other hand, though, the Castle Rock teaser Hulu released in February to announce the show included the names of all sorts of villains in addition to the protagonists it mentions.

It would certainly be a trip for Stephen King fans and those who are familiar with movies based on his work to see some of the villains they have grown to hate over the years go on trial for their crimes. The villain would explain their version of events, shedding new light on the story in which they were included. The prosecution would then speak, flipping the narrative yet again. And finally, Castle Rock’s audience would get to see the verdict.

The idea may seem a bit odd — most people probably do not associate Stephen King’s larger-than-life villains in the vein of Annie Wilkes with such a mundane setting as a public court room — but it would definitely be interesting, and it would allow Castle Rock ample opportunity to include dramatic moments.

When Castle Rock was announced for Hulu earlier this year, The Hollywood Reporter speculated that “each season will follow a different set of character and story lines while interjecting themes and specific characters from previous seasons.” This idea seems less likely now, because having the lead be a death row attorney suggests that the supporting cast members (the Stephen King villains, presumably) will pass through the story a bit more quickly.

Author at Wal-mart
Stephen King. [Image by Larry French/Getty Images]

In addition, the Castle Rock teaser trailer name-drops literally dozens of King villains, including incredibly obscure ones like Creepshow’s Wilma Northrup that were definitely not thrown in there just for name recognition (which might be the case with more well-known villains like Pennywise). If characters mentioned in the teaser will be included in the show, there obviously won’t be only one covered per season. If that were the case, the show would run for the next few decades.

Unfortunately, official plot details for Hulu’s Castle Rock are, at this point, virtually non-existent. But a show that is part court procedural, part horror and which touches upon various Stephen King villains for two or three episodes each would undoubtedly make many viewers, Stephen King fans or not, very happy. Castle Rock’s first season will last ten episodes, and Hulu is open to producing more seasons if it does well.

Holland is well-equipped to take on his role however it shakes out, having starred in not just Moonlight but also Selma and the Jackie Robinson bio-pic 42. In terms of TV, he has acted in American Horror Story, Damages, The Knick, and more.


Castle Rock is being produced by Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and will begin filming later this year, so it is very likely we will hear more official details about the show’s plot within the next few months.

What would you like to see in terms of plot for Castle Rock?

[Featured Image by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP Images]