Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ Is Still Alive at a New Studio
A few years ago, director Ron Howard, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, and producer Brian Grazer launched an ambitious plan to make a series of movies and a companion TV series based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower novels for Universal. And then: silence. Now, long after everyone assumed that this entire project was dead and buried and possibly in other hands, The Dark Tower has ben brought back to life at Sony where yes, the plan is still to make a film and TV series following the same characters.
The Dark Tower is King’s magnum opus, a seven-part series written over several decades that ties all of his various novels together in compelling and surprising ways. Yes, Stephen King’s bibliography is a shared universe. No wonder Hollywood is suddenly so interested in this again.
Anyway, the books follow Roland, the last Gunslinger, on his quest to find the titular tower. Along with a few traveling companions, he journeys across a post-apocalyptic world, jumps through dimensions, and battles sorcerers, robots. and monsters. It’s a brilliant hybrid of science fiction, fantasy, and horror that often feels overwhelming on the page. This is Lord of the Rings with guns and sentient trains and time travel. Any big screen (or small screen) adaptation has a lot on its plate.
Sony honcho Tim Rothman had this to say about the project (via The Hollywood Reporter):
There are few projects out there that compare with the scope, vision, complex characters and fully drawn world that Stephen King has created with The Dark Tower. I am a giant fan. And, as Stephen himself does, we love the direction that Akiva and Jeff have taken. This is a great opportunity for a director to put his or her stamp on a cool global franchise.
And King himself remains optimistic:
I’m excited that The Dark Tower is finally going to appear on the screen. Those who have traveled with Roland and his friends in their search for the Dark Tower are going to have their long-held hopes fully realized. This is a brilliant and creative approach to my books.
Details remain scarce, but the THR article has a few noteworthy bits. First, it seems that Goldsman’s screenplay has been freshly rewritten with the help of Jeff Pinkner and that the approach to adapting the first book in the series has been “totally reconceived.” Second, Howard is apparently no longer planning to helm the project (although he’ll be on board as a producer) and a new director is needed. Although Howard has made his fair share of good movies, this is the right choice. The tricky genre balancing of The Dark Tower is not his forte.
But is it anyone’s forte? We’ll cheer a well-executed adaptation of The Dark Tower from the rooftops, but a lot can go wrong here, especially if they pursue the plan to have a season of television air between every movie. It’s a huge, ambitious plan for a huge ambitious series. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.