Fans of Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower series should be thrilled right about now. For the rest of you, let me attempt to explain why. We already know that Nikolaj Arcel’s big-screen adaptation of the massive book series is due out on February 17th with Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, and Tom Taylor occupying the leads, but now we have confirmation as to how that film will tie into the planned TV series. And if the show is half as compelling as its source material, it could easily rival the popularity of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
As EW reports, The Dark Tower TV series will be adapting “Wizard and Glass,” King’s fourth novel in the series that acts as more of a prequel story than anything else. That’s not to say it’s filler material; far from it. The story in the novel is told by Roland Deschain (Elba) to young Jake (Taylor) and the other members of his ka-tet, or “group of people brought together by fate,” and the actors are expected to reprise their roles as part of the series’ framing story. (McConaughey isn’t locked in to appear, but since his character tends to appear in different faces and guises, the character will certainly be showing up.) This backstory to The Dark Tower‘s mysterious protagonist goes a long way toward humanizing a character who’s myopic nature tends to give him a cold-hearted and calculating appearance.
So let’s start out by saying that the TV series is most definitely happening. Production company MRC doesn’t have a distributor yet, but they’ve gone ahead and committed to making a run of 10 to 13 episodes, depending on how scripts turn out. The plan is for the production to kick off next year for an airdate in 2018, likely timed to the cable/streaming release of The Dark Tower movie. Look for this series to appear on either a cable channel or streaming provider (MRC producers Netflix’s House of Cards, so there’s an established relationship there), since the story of “Wizard and Glass” goes to some dark, violent, and mature places.
As exciting as the news is that we’ll be seeing the story of Roland and his young gunslinger friends on their own in the outer barony of Mejis, it’s equally exciting to know we’ll get to see a new young cast take on the story. A younger version of Elba has yet to be cast, but aside from the Man in Black’s shapeshifting character and Susan Delgado (played by Alex McGregor in the film), the other characters aren’t necessarily tied into the rest of the big-screen franchise.
The reason that Roland and his friends have been sent to this distant land will be explained early on in the TV show, which starts out by going even further back to show Roland’s proving ceremony and some rather intense family drama. The bulk of the series, however, will see the young gunslingers’ interactions with the people of the Town of Hambry and its outlying areas. If you’re looking for action, romance, drama, a mix of the mystical and magical alongside the modern and mechanical, or if you’re a fan of King’s work and just want to see a straightforward adaptation, then this news should have you very, very excited.
Akiva Goldsman serves as an executive producer with Jeff Pinkner, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer. Arcel and feature film co-writer Anders Thomas Jensen are scripting the show, but another showrunner will be hired for the day-to-day responsibilities. The season is expected to tell the full story of “Wizard and Glass” meaning a second season is possible once that tale has come to its fateful conclusion. The source material that future seasons could explore include Marvel’s Dark Tower comics, plotted out mainly by Robin Furth, King’s in-house Dark Tower historian and author of “The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance.” In other words, if you want to see whether or not Roland and his friends ever return to Gilead and what fates might befall them there, you’d better cross your six-shooters for a second season.
For more on The Dark Tower, check out some of our recent coverage:
- ‘The Dark Tower’: Twists to Stephen King’s Story Confirmed by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer
- New ‘Dark Tower’ Image Teases a Door to Another World
- ‘The Dark Tower’ Fans to Get First Look at Footage This Fall
- ‘The Dark Tower’: Here Are the Book References You’ll Find in the Movie
- More ‘Dark Tower’ Images Feature Idris Elba Traversing the World(s)