Miraculously, the Dark Tower TV series is still happening at Amazon—albeit as more of a reboot than a continuation of the film franchise. The long-in-the-works Stephen King adaptation finally came to fruition in 2017, after previous efforts by directors like J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard failed to coalesce. The resulting film found Idris Elba in the lead role of Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey as the villain Walter Padick aka the Man in Black, but ultimately director Nikolaj Arcel’s film—which “remixed” King’s sprawling book series—failed to impress critics or audiences.
The idea was for the film to spur a three-movie franchise, with two seasons of a TV series filling in the gaps. Said TV series is still at go at Amazon, but instead of filling in said gaps, it appears the show is just a total reboot of The Dark Tower from the ground up.
Per Variety, actor Sam Strike (Nightflyers) has been cast in the Dark Tower pilot as Roland Deschain, while Jasper Pääkkönen (BlacKkKlansman) will play The Man in Black. The series will be an origin story, telling how Roland first became the gunslinger and recounting his initial encounter with the villainous Man in Black.
The show is said to be a “more faithful” adaptation of King’s sprawling book series, and former The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara is onboard to executive produce and serve as showrunner. MRC is producing, but there’s no mention of Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, which had previously tried to set the TV component up at HBO when Howard was going to direct the movies.
The Dark Tower is the latest in a series of big gambles for Amazon Studios, which is trying to get into the game of “tentpole” TV series a la Game of Thrones. In addition to The Dark Tower (which sounds like it’s only been ordered to pilot at this point), Amazon also has the Lord of the Rings TV series in development. No word on when either might premiere just yet.