Stephen King’s THE DARK TOWER to Become a Film Trilogy and TV Series; Ron Howard to Direct First Film

     September 8, 2010

Universal has announced plans to make a film trilogy and television series out of Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower book series with Ron Howard set to direct the first film.  An adaptation of The Dark Tower has long been in the works with J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindeloff attempting to tackle the project for a few years before giving up last year. A few months passed before we got news that Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman had gotten the rights from King and were either planning a trilogy of films or a film that would be followed by a TV series.

Now, we have news of what exactly the plan is going to be.  Hit the jump for the full details along with the press release.

The plan is that the first film in the trilogy will be immediately followed by a television series that will bridge the second film.  After the second film, another television series will begin that will then lead into the third and final film.  The films and TV series will be filmed back-to-back to save money of production and the stars of the films will also be acting in the TV series.

As of right now, Ron Howard will direct the first film and the first season of television.  Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman will be writing the first film and season as well while Brian Grazer will be on board as a producer.  It’s still unclear if Howard and Goldsman will be the duo behind the other films and TV seasons, but I imagine that they will be heavily involved with everything.

For those of you that haven’t read the book series, The Dark Tower tells the story of a gunslinger named Roland and his quest to find the fabled “dark tower”, which is said to be the nexus of all universes.  Stephen King took decades to write the 7 books which a lot of his fans consider to be his masterwork.  The series has been frequently described as being “unfilmable” due to its scope, length, and overall craziness.

Ron Howard seems to know just how hard it’s going to be do the series justice when he says:

“By using both the scope and scale of theatrical filmmaking and the intimacy of television we hope to more comprehensively do justice to the characters, themes and amazing sequences King has given us in The Dark Tower novels.  It might be the challenge of a lifetime but clearly a thrilling one to take on and explore.”

Having read the first 3 books in the series, I’m happy to see that quote since it does show that Howard understands just how huge and dense the world that King created really is and how hard it’s going to be to bring to the screen (both big and small).  Having said that, I can’t help but feel that Howard and Goldsman are terrible choices for this project and I’m very worried that they are going to screw it up.  In my opinion, Howard is too bland and unexciting to make the film and TV series truly epic and fun.  Meanwhile, some of Goldsman’s past screenwriting credits (Batman & Robin, Lost in Space, The Da Vinci Code) make me feel that he might not be the best choice either.

Either way, I’m very excited to see what is going to happen.  This has potential to be something huge, but it could also backfire horribly.  It’s definitely going to be very intersecting to see how this all plays out.


Academy Award® Winners Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer Will Produce the Three Films and the TV Series Based on The Dark Tower

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, September 8, 2010 – Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley—along with Jeff Gaspin, Chairman, NBC Universal Television Entertainment and Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC & Universal Media Studios—today announced that Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment have acquired the rights to produce three films and a television series based on the seven epic novels, short stories and comic books from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.

Ron Howard will direct the first film and the first season of television, which will be written by Goldsman.  Goldsman will produce the film through his Weed Road Pictures with Howard and Grazer for Imagine Entertainment.  Howard, Grazer and Goldsman will executive produce the television series for Universal Media Studios.  Kerry

Foster will executive produce the first film for Weed Road Pictures along with Todd Hallowell and Erica Huggins for Imagine Entertainment.

“I’ve been waiting for the right team to bring the characters and stories in these books to film and TV viewers around the world,” said King.  “Ron, Akiva, Brian along with Universal and NBC have a deep interest and passion for theThe Dark Tower series and I know that will translate into an intriguing series of films and TV shows that respect the origins and the characters in The Dark Tower that fans have come to love.”

The Dark Tower is Stephen King’s opus of seven bestselling novels with, to date, more than 30 million copies sold in 40 countries.  The novels incorporate themes from multiple genres including fantasy, science fiction, horror and adventure.  After the series was completed, a prequel of comic books based on one of the characters was also published.

“Building a franchise home for The Dark Tower is an exciting opportunity for this studio, and we’re thrilled that Stephen has entrusted us to bring his beloved novels to the big screen,” said Fogelson.

“Stephen King is a brilliant storyteller who creates imaginary worlds that resonate with the broadest audiences across ages and demographics,” said Gaspin.  “We are thrilled to partner with our colleagues in the film division and Brian, Ron and Akiva to bring Stephen’s vision to the largest audience possible through this innovative multi-platform collaboration.”

Howard, Grazer and Goldsman are planning for the first film in the trilogy to be immediately followed by a television series that will bridge the second film.  After the second film, the television series will pick up allowing viewers to explore the adventures of the protagonist as a young man as a bridge to the third film and beyond.

“We are excited to have found partners at Universal who understand and embrace our approach to King’s remarkable epic,” said Howard.  “By using both the scope and scale of theatrical filmmaking and the intimacy of television we hope to more comprehensively do justice to the characters, themes and amazing sequences King has given us in The Dark Tower novels.  It might be the challenge of a lifetime but clearly a thrilling one to take on and explore.”

“The worlds of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series are richly detailed, inter-locking and deeply connected,” said Goldsman.  “By telling this story across media platforms and over multiple hours—and with a view to telling it completely—we have our best chance of translating Roland’s quest to reach The Dark Tower onto screen.  We are proceeding with tremendous excitement, fidelity to the source material and, quite frankly, no small amount of awe at this opportunity.”

“King has created the most visually enthralling places and characters in The Dark Tower,” said Grazer.  “The synergy created across all the media divisions of our partners at NBC Universal to tell this remarkable story is ground-breaking and invigorating.  This project will be one of the most exciting and challenging that I will have ever worked on and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”


Around The Web
  • J.J.

    The premise is extremely exciting, I love the idea of bridging the films with a TV series. But I agree about the behind the scenes talent. Goldsman will surely destroy the masterwork King created. Howard is hit or miss and more so than other filmmakers I think he is at the mercy of the writer. He just can’t seem to rise above a bad screenplay.

  • Aquariasm

    Shut up. I’m going to pay for the ticket. I spent a whole weekend day lounged on the grass reading the first novel at a library book sale. After the comic book slaughterfest and remake orgies in Hollywood, THIS one has yet to be touched. And I LIKE Ron Howard. You do, too. Remember Willow?
    Get concerned when H’wood starts talking The Eyes of the Dragon…

  • RudinFilargo

    Bad fucking ass, just don’t screw it up!


  • DissonantAdagio

    I agree completely with J.J. Seriously. Looking at Goldsman’s track record does not set my mind at ease. The only western he’s really worked on was the God-awful tripe that was Jonah Hex. Dark days are comin’.

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  • nabster

    Ron Howard sucks, he makes very bland films. This is a terrible idea, unless they plan on completely changing the last few books. Its unfilmable because Stephen King as himself appears in the books, among other meta events.

  • yomama

    wish jj abrahms woulda stayed on

  • Dogg

    The series has arguably the worst ending in literary history. To put it in perspective, the Matrix trilogy ended 5x better. Wrap your head around that. Even die hard fans frequently recommend skipping the last book.
    They should change it and loudly advertise that they’re changing it. It would be a huge selling point.

    • Houndog

      Ridiculous post. Fantastic mind bending ending and the last book was by far the best of the serious. Don’t listen to this poster!

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  • The Ageless Stranger

    The ending was divisive, I’ll agree, but I’ve never heard any fan of the books suggest skipping the last book. I find the seventh book to be one of the best of the series, with or without the ending.

  • Atstrum

    Dogg, the book ended in the only way it could. Did you really expect the ending to be straightforward? Since when is a Stephen King novel ever straightforward?

  • Airaindust

    Dude I loved the ending, I thought it was one of the BEST endings in history. Your opinion is yours mine is mine having one though doesn’t make us right.

  • Wolfman Kenny

    Ron Howard makes nice g or pg films.The dark Tower needs someone who can make intense sometimes gory and action packed films.The drawing of the three “lobstrosities,shootout at the bar.”The gunslinger his shootout in town.Also the violence in other parts of the 7 books I just dont see Ron Howard as being the right person.Director Mick Garis the Stand and the mist Frank Darabont were two good directors that brought the books to life.Only my opion.

  • PJ_Lowry

    The Da Vinci Code was very loyal to the literature, which is likely why King is happy to be working with these people. I think as long as they are good to the literature, it will be very hard to screw up this movie.

  • Jaegrm

    The problem with being true to the literature is that it’s so big, so expansive, it’s too much for 3 movies to capture, even with mini series in between each of them, and some of ( a lot of ) what happens in the books will be very difficult to translate to the film medium, I’m not really going to go into detail, but other fans of the book will understand what I mean by that.

  • PG13 BLOWS

    if this trilogy is not HARD R, there will be no ticket purchase from me.

  • Dolphind

    By far my most cherished King story of all time! I have tears in my eyes with the thought of seeing it all on film!Best ending ever..However, WAY to much story to EVER work on film…sounds like a complete disaster. Lets get M.Knight on board and see what he has to say about it!!!

  • Anonymous

    M. Night? Are you kidding me? Ron Howard may destroy the series, but M. Night will DEFINITELY destroy the series. His movies are terrible, or haven’t you been paying attention?

    I’m worried about Ron Howard, but he is a good director. I just prefer they get a good director with a little more experience in the genre.

  • Scatteringcrows

    I would like someone to try the thomas convent series…..

  • Springsteenfan87

    I would use many words to describe Ron Howard, but bland isn’t one of them. I didn’t find Apollo 13 or Frost/Nixon to be bland. Action packed? Not a chance, but Apollo 13 was extremely intense for a movie with an ending everyone already knew. Throw in A Beautiful Mind and you have three great, non-boring films.

    Now I’ll readily accept that he’s an odd choice, considering epic films are not his forte. But Peter Jackson wasn’t exactly an easy pick to direct “The Lord of the Rings” either, another oct-considered “unfilmable literary masterpiece”. He took that and ran with it. I’d say give this a shot, and the idea of it all – a mixture of cinema and television – seems pretty smart.

    • Springsteenfan87

      oft* considered

  • Angelus1753

    Ron Howard is a good director but he has little experience with this genre of movies – the Dark Tower is not only a Western but also ventures heavily into Romance (Susan Delgado), Horror (Todash / Crimson King / Lobstrocities / Vampires), Sci-Fi (Blain – the Mono / The 12 Guardians / The Dogan / Thinnies), not to mention its own mythology and language. I am just not sure Howard will be able to do justice to all this without watering it down heavily. Especially with Goldsman involved as writer. THAT makes me very nervous.

    Darabont was the best choice IMHO, after JJ Abrams decided not to follow through. But according to IMDB, Darabont himself had approached King and King refused him. Weird, considering Darabont is responsible for two of King’s adaptations in the IMDB Top 20 movies (of the IMDB Top 250 list).

  • Bluefin

    Sure to be another mish-mash of a reasonable work of fiction. Stephen King is at his best in this series of novels. By and large a mediocre talent, he never quite seems to live up to the premise of being a writer of horror fiction. When reading this series, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the parallel between this work and that of others, most notably, “The Door Into Tomorrow,” by Robert Heinlein. Taking a novel or a series of novels to the big screen is always doomed to some measure of failure, as each reader has their own interpretation of the written word, seeing in their mind’s eye, each of the characters, and the changing landscape, based on their personal experiences. I look forward to seeing this film but would predict that it could be a B or C grade production.

  • Chevguy83

    Ron Howard has a pretty solid track record as a director, plus he is a hardcore fan of Stephen King and will treat the material with the utmost respect. My main concern is that the casting is done correctly, one of my main gripes with many of King’s film adaptions.

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  • Spurwing Plover

    His trouble is that he cant direct at all all his movies are total waste of time The big trouble that opies been too long away from MAYBERRY and its down home all american folk

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