Castle Rock is a hit Hulu horror series that follows a sprawling cast of characters in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine - one of the regular recurring settings of Stephen King's many, many novels.

The show doesn't directly adapt any single Stephen King story, but instead weaves in elements of various books and stories, with references to many more - it even stars a couple of main cast members who've starred in massive Stephen King adaptations in the past.

After a strong first season the show is now back for a second go round - but with a (mostly) new cast, as it follows a new story in the same town and digs deep into a different set of King source material for inspiration.

When does season 2 of Castle Rock start?

Hulu announced that it had ordered a second season of Castle Rock in August 2018, halfway through the first series, and it's arriving on the platform on 23 October 2019, with the first three episodes all dropping at once.

We're not sure if the show will air in the UK simultaneously. It took months for Starzplay to nab the UK rights to the first season, and as of yet there's been no confirmation as to whether it will be airing season 2 at the same time as the US, or if there'll be another lengthy wait.

Watch the season 2 trailer

Here's the official trailer for season two, which focuses mostly on Lizzie Caplan's Annie Wilkes (more on her below) as she brings her own brand of misery to Castle Rock:

Cast and crew

Season two will feature a whole new cast to go with its new story. Leading the way is Lizzy Caplan, who'll play Annie Wilkes, the psychopathic nurse played to Oscar-winning effect by Kathy Bates in the movie Misery.

She'll arrive in Castle Rock in the midst of "a feud between warring clans" which looks to centre on the Merrill crime family - led here by the ailing, cancer-stricken Reginald 'Pop' Merrill. He'll be played by none other than Tim Robbins - itself a referential bit of casting, since his most famous role remains Andy Dufresne in the landmark King adaptation The Shawshank Redemption.

The rest of the cast includes House of Cards' Paul Sparks as John 'Ace' Merrill (replacing the previously cast Garrett Hedlund), 13 Reasons Why's Matthew Alan as Ace's brother Chris, Elsie Fisher as Annie's young daughter Joy, and Yusra Warsam and Barkhad Abdi as two Somali-born residents of the neighbouring 'Salem's Lot, who'll be pushed into conflict with the Merrills.

There's been no confirmation yet on whether any of season one's stars - including the likes of André Holland, Jane Levy, Sissy Spacek, and Bill Skarsgård - will return for season two, though it's likely that one or two will at least pop up for cameo appearances to tie the two stories together.

“The basic idea is that it is an anthology in the sense that we're going to tell a new story that gives you a different lens into Castle Rock and into Stephen King each season," explained showrunner Dustin Thomason. 

"The thing we've always been really excited about, in the same way that the Stephen King universe operates, is that each story will stand alone, but that we will be circling back to characters whose stories intersect with the new stories.”

There are some big names behind the cameras too, as both JJ Abrams and Stephen King himself serves as executive producers on the series, though Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason are the day-to-day showrunners, staying on from season one.

How to watch Castle Rock in the UK

All ten episodes of the first season of Castle Rock have now aired on Hulu in the United States, but for a long time there was no official way to watch the show in the UK, which left people reliant on watching the show on Hulu through a VPN.

Fortunately that's since changed. Starz eventually picked up Castle Rock, releasing it through Starzplay, its official Amazon Channel. If you're not sure what exactly that means, we have a handy Amazon Channels explainer, but it essentially means that to watch you'll need to have an Amazon Prime account and then add on a subscription to Starzplay. Prime itself starts from £7.99 per month, while Starzplay is £4.99, so it'll be a grand total of £12.98 each month to keep up with Castle Rock - though there are free trials available for both too.

Alternatively, you can still use a VPN to access Hulu from the UK if you prefer. Just sign up for a VPN like NordVPN or any of the others we recommend for Hulu, choose a server in the US, and you should be able to trick Hulu into thinking that you're in the States, letting you watch Castle Rock.

It's worth remembering that you'll still need to pay for a Hulu account if you don't have one already, and it can actually be a little tricky to sign up if you don't have a US address or credit card. It's not impossible though - just a bit fiddly, so check out our comprehensive guide to watching Hulu from outside the US for a complete breakdown of what you need to do.