'Castle Rock' Canceled: Hulu's Stephen King Show Not Returning for Season 3

Hulu has reportedly canceled Castle Rock, the anthology series that remixed various Stephen King stories into one shared world. The show premiered in July of 2018 and ran for two seasons, but on Tuesday, sources told TV Line that it is over. Fans are already in mourning for the acclaimed series.

Castle Rock was set in a fictional town in Maine by the same name, where some of King's nightmares came to life. The two seasons of the show followed different narratives and different main characters but still managed to give King's work a more cohesive feel than his tangentially related books did. Season 2 of the series premiered in October of 2019, and while fans were hoping for a belated third installment, they will be left hanging.

"[Castle Rock] has just been cancelled and I'm gutted," one fan tweeted with a crying emoji. "The seventh episode of the first season was one of the best hours of TV I've ever seen. Sissy Spacek gave a god-tier performance in what's already an exceptional career. I can't believe it's all over."

If there is an upside to the cancellation, it's that now Castle Rock fans can convince their friends to binge-watch the 20 episodes of Castle Rock all at once, knowing there is no pressure to go on from there. The series was highly regarded for its tight narrative arcs, constantly keeping fans guessing. At the time of this writing, the series has an 88 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, with separate scores for each season.

Castle Rock was created by Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason and featured executive producers like J.J. Abrams and Stephen King, himself. The first season starred Andre Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Melanie Lynskey, Jane Levy and Sissy Spacek. In the second season, Lizzy Caplan made headlines for her striking performance as a younger version of Annie Wilkes, from King's novel Misery. She was joined by Paul Sparks, Barkhad Abdi, Yusra Warsama, Elsie Fisher, Matthew Alan and Tim Robbins.

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The show was so laden with references to Stephen King's work that even die-hard fans might not be able to spot every reference and allusion in the series. However, to put it simply, Season 1 alone drew on elements from IT, Dolores Claiborne, Needful Things, Salem's Lot, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Dreamcatcher, Night Shift, The Green Mile, Misery, Hearts in Atlantis, The Shining, The Mangler, Four Past Midnight, Different Seasons, Nightmares & Dreamscapes, and The Night Flier.

Like so many other cancellations this year, the cancellation of Castle Rock was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. All 20 episodes of the series are available to binge-watch on Hulu.