Back in November, we reported director J.J. Abrams had dropped out of directing Stephen King’s The Dark Tower as a feature film. Originally, Bad Robot (his production company) landed the rights to the series from King and Abrams had planned on teaming up with Damon Lindeloff to tackle the property. There was also some talk that Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse might try and tackle The Dark Tower as a TV series after Lost, but Lindeloff told USA Today, “After working six years on ‘Lost,’ the last thing I want to do is spend the next seven years adapting one of my favorite books of all time.”
Since Bad Robot decided they wouldn’t adapt the material, they gave the rights back to Stephen King. But with the popularity of the book series, everyone knew it would land in the hands of someone else, and thanks to reports on Deadline and THR (who both claimed exclusives), it’s Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman. While I would love to tell you their plans for the series…according to the two reports, they either want to make a trilogy of movies or one movie followed by a TV show. Crazy, I know. Hit the jump for more:
While Deadline and THR usually have their facts straight, since the deal for The Dark Tower is still being put together, no one has the entire story.
According to THR:
“The Dark Tower might be a movie, or a TV series, or both. One scenario has a movie, to be directed by Ron Howard, that would lead to a TV series produced by Imagine’s small-screen division. ‘Tower’ is not set up, nor has any option deal been made, but insiders say Universal, home to Imagine, could be the studio that will release the movie.”
According to Deadline:
“Stephen King, Imagine Entertainment and Weed Road are in discussions to make a screen trilogy and TV series out of King’s epic novel series The Dark Tower. Akiva Goldsman will write the script, Ron Howard will direct it, and his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer will produce with Goldsman and King. Universal is in talks to acquire a package that included the books, and the attachment of the team behind the Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code. Both Universal -where Imagine is based-and Warner Bros-where Goldsman’s Weed Road banner is housed-have been vying for the project.”
As you can see, both reports feature different stories. But it’s clear with Bad Robot giving back the rights to King, some big guns in Hollywood are trying to swoop in to get the series made.
In the story, Roland Deschain is the last living member of a knightly order known as gunslingers and the last of the line of “Arthur Eld”, his world’s analogue of King Arthur. The world he lives in is quite different from our own, yet it bears striking similarities to it. Politically organized along the lines of a feudal society, it shares technological and social characteristics with the American Old West but is also magical. While the magical aspects are largely gone from Mid-World, some vestiges of them remain, along with the relics of a highly advanced, but long vanished, society. Roland’s quest is to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Roland’s world is said to have “moved on”, and indeed it appears to be coming apart at the seams as mighty nations have been torn apart by war, entire cities and regions vanish without a trace and time does not flow in an orderly fashion. Even the Sun sometimes rises in the north and sets in the east. As the series opens, Roland’s motives, goals and age are unclear, though later installments shed light on these mysteries.
Many have said The Dark Tower is King’s Lord of the Rings, as it’s an epic book series about a quest. While in LOTR they’re trying to destroy the ring, in The Dark Tower they’re trying to find a fabled building. But the main difference between the two is Tolkien wrote LOTR with a lot of preparation and groundwork laid out, and from what I can gather, King has been adding and changing things in the Dark Tower universe as he’s been writing the series. Also, King has another chapter set to arrive soon and some other stories that will take place between some of the books.
After doing a lot of reading and research while writing this story, here’s what I think: if someone can figure out how to crack The Dark Tower as either a TV series or a trilogy of movies, it could be very cool. But the project sounds massive and complicated, and whoever decides to take the project on needs to commit to it like Peter Jackson did on LOTR. If Ron Howard and his team want to try and get it done, more power to them.
Ultimately, the only thing I’m sure of is if Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse had decided to make this as their next series after Lost, I would already be setting my DVR. More as we hear it.