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Mythology Gags are the show's major hook, with Stephen King fans having quite a bounty as his decades of world building finally gets the full Shared Universe treatment.

Season 1

  • Alan Pangborn was a major character in two books. Needful Things in particular is alluded to with the Mellow Tiger and Nan's Luncheonette, and an article Henry finds about a local "oddity shop" proprietor going missing after his place burned down.
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  • Shawshank is a recurring location, most notably in the novella "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption." The first episode references Warden Norton's suicide in his office.
  • Henry finds an old newspaper article about a rabid dog roaming the town.
  • The Stand features a character called "The Kid," though it's unclear if this is actually the same guy. It isn't.
  • The cast includes the main stars of the first and latest King adaptations, Sissy Spacek and Bill Skarsgård, and includes Melanie Lynskey, who was part of the ensemble in Rose Red.
  • Henry's client from episode 1 is on death row for murdering her husband, Richard Chambers. Richie "Eyeball" Chambers is Chris's juvenile delinquent brother in The Body (though the two may not be the same person).
    • Richie's bullying comrade Vince Desjardin may be the one who kidnapped Henry. This turns out to be a red herring.
      • "Vince Desjardin" is the name of one of the members of Ace Merill's gang in The Body.
    • A bit odder, Gordie Lachance seems to have been transported through time as The Kid being nearby causes his parents to suddenly give in to their darkest feelings of bitterness about their lives (or it could just be a different boy with the same name).
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  • In the same episode, The Kid sees a brown mouse trundle out of a hole in the wall. Awww, maybe they'll be friends, like Mr. Jingles and Eduard Delacroix. Then the mouse walks right into a spring-trap.
  • Jackie Torrance is the niece of Jack Torrance, and took his name to spite her parents and their refusal to ever talk about him. She ends up turning his actions on their head by pulling a Big Damn Heroes with an ax.note 
    • Jackie is later seen writing a book about the incident, called "Overlooked".
  • In addition to the above, the opening titles also include a shot of chapter 19 of 'Salem's Lot, as well as a map noting plot events in The Tommyknockers, Under the Dome, The Mist and Gerald's Game. Especially curious is the number 217 being crossed out and replaced with 237, apparently a reference to the changed room number in the film adaptation of The Shining as the hotel used for the Overlook really did have a Room 217 and didn't want it to get that kind of notoriety.
  • Molly lives in Frank Dodd's old house.
  • The Kid was imprisoned by Warden Lacy for 27 years, like Bill Skarsgård's character, Pennywise in It (2017), and It, comes out in 27-year increments.
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  • The Kid seems to operate in the reverse of John Coffey, sensing the deepest pain of everyone around him and making it worse.
  • Ruth does a slow dance with The Kid, as Sissy Spacek did in Carrie (1976).
  • Ruth washing blood off her after shooting accidentally Sheriff Pangborn to death brings to mind the scene from Carrie (1976) where Carrie washed off the pigs' blood.
  • Gordon wrote his PhD thesis on Dennis Rader, aka the BTK Killer, who also served as the inspiration for the novella A Good Marriage.
  • Young Henry backtracks through his footprints in the snow to throw his father off his trail, like Danny did in The Shining.
    • Another Shining example is when Jackie reveals in the very last scene that she plans to travel to The Overlook as part of her research.. The Overlook not being destroyed and a member of Jack's family returning to it years later brings to mind the Kubrick adaptation and that of Doctor Sleep.

Season 2

  • Annie Wilkes and Ace Merrill are major characters.
  • Someone who sounds very much like Pennywise in It (2017) celebrates being from "Dairy Derry", surrounded by laughing children.
  • Nearby Jerusalem's Lot plays a major role.
  • Tim Robbins, who played Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, plays Ace's uncle, Pop. And yes, he actually goes to Shawshank at one point.
  • Annie falls into a cavern full of flying creatures.
  • Annie has some reversals of the original: she’s the one who gets in a car accident that forces her to stay put, kills someone else by shoving an object down their throat, and is held captive by being tied to a bed.
  • Joy's friends have names reminiscent of the group from The Body: Georgia LaChance to Gordie LaChance (who also has the same hairstyle as Wil Wheaton playing the character in Stand by Me), Timothy to Teddy, and Vera to Vern. Episode 3 is pretty much a Whole Plot Reference, with the ironic twist that Ace is the body they're looking for rather than the rival searching for it.
  • Timothy is also killed by being hit by a truck driven by the possessed Hassan. In The Body, Teddy is mentioned at the end as having been killed in a car crash.
  • The Marsten House from 'Salem's Lot is featured, which is now also quite reminiscent of the Neibolt House from It with its appearance similar to the 2017 film, access to the sewer, and drug addict squatters.
  • Annie breaking a glass to escape while tied to her bed is similar to Jessie's escape in Gerald's Game.
  • Pop is first seen with a camera in his shop.
  • When Ace ( Really Augustine) is asked where he disappeared to by Pop, he answers after a pause, "Derry."
  • The anniversary parade is led by the same model car as Christine.
  • Annie eventually does get to deal with someone else tied to a bed, and picks up a sledgehammer, though she doesn't use it. Not that what she actually does is any better.
  • The actress playing Annie's new employer in the season finale was clearly chosen for her resemblance to Kathy Bates at the time the Misery film was made.
  • By the season's end, Annie is well on her way to becoming the character we know from Misery, latching onto the Misery Chastain novels and declaring herself Paul Sheldon's "number one fan" as she slips further into delusion from the guilt of killing Joy.
  • Annie's new job caring for a bedridden elderly person recalls Dolores Claiborne.
  • Bertrand (really Pop) explains that Castle Lake is some sort of doorway to other worlds and realities; the Multiverse is an established part of King's mythology in the books and critical plot point of The Dark Tower series.
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