‘Castle Rock’: Who Is Bill Skarsgård’s The Kid? He Has a Connection to a Stephen King Work
Among the many mysteries set up in the first three episodes of Hulu’s Castle Rock, the biggest one is the identity of Bill Skarsgård’s character, who is just being referred to as “The Kid.” Who, exactly, is this kid? Let’s take a look at all of the evidence and some fan theories. Note: We’ll be discussing spoilers for the first three episodes of Castle Rock.
At the moment, the show is clearly leading us to believe that The Kid is actually the Devil himself, and the reason Dale Lacy, the former warden of Shawshank, locked him in a cage was to stop him from terrorizing Castle Rock. But what’s interesting is that it appears that The Kid actually has a connection to an established Stephen King character.
After all, in an interview shortly before Castle Rock premiered, Bill Skarsgård teased that his character has a “mythological connection” to a Stephen King work. However, Skarsgård also said that The Kid is an original character.
A lot of fans have been theorizing that The Kid is actually Leland Gaunt from King’s Needful Things. This character was the proprietor of a store in Castle Rock called Needful Things who turns out to be a demon. He manipulates everyone in the town and knows all about their private matters, which calls to mind what Lacy was describing when he talked about The Kid as being responsible for all of Castle Rock’s horror.
It would make sense for Castle Rock to heavily reference Needful Things since that book is largely about the town, and the main protagonist is Alan Pangborn, who is played in the Hulu series by Scott Glenn. Skarsgård’s comment in that interview suggests The Kid isn’t a direct adaptation of any character, but it could be that The Kid is working for Leland Gaunt, is a descendant of him, or is just heavily inspired by him.
We actually seem to get a reference to Leland Gaunt during the scene in the second episode where Henry is looking through the newspapers, as he sees one with the headline “Shopkeeper Missing After Oddity Store Fire.” This appears to establish that Leland Gaunt is a character within this universe and that The Kid isn’t him, but perhaps he is related to him.
Some fans have also been speculating that The Kid is actually Randall Flagg, or at least has some sort of a connection to him. This is the character from many of King’s novels, including The Stand and The Dark Tower. He’s a demonic figure who brings about destruction through his various supernatural abilities, including the ability to influence human behavior. Influencing human behavior, you’ll recall, is exactly what Lacy accuses The Kid of doing in his monologue, and The Kid also seems to give Dennis Zalewski, the prison guard, disturbing visions.
More generally, some fans aren’t convinced that The Kid actually is The Devil like the warden thought, mainly because the mystery-driven show is tipping its hand about this supposed fact so early. Plus, Skarsgård has said that his character is “probably not what you would expect,” whereas him being The Devil is currently exactly what we expect.
Castle Rock airs new episodes Wednesdays on Hulu.