The Dark Tower Film Update

Published 5 years ago by

the dark tower stephen king movie The Dark Tower Film Update

It’s time to update you guys on the status of the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, which is coming our way courtesy of J.J. Abrams and his production company, Bad Robot. We’ll also give you a little background on the project.

Stephen King is a major fan of Abrams’ Lost TV series (ending next year), and he met up with the producers behind the show, including Abrams and Lost co-executive producer Damon Lindelof. King famously sold the film rights for the entire Dark Tower series (seven books) to Abrams and Lindelof for only $19.00 (apparently the number 19 is big in the books).


Cinematical is reporting that the first Dark Tower (titled The Gunslinger) movie could roll out as early as 2010, but apparently not until Lost wraps up its final season in the spring.  Though I haven’t seen many episodes of Lost, it’s nice to know they want to focus on delivering the highly anticipated final season before getting started on adapting their favorite author’s work.

But when it’s time to get started on the film adaptations, Lindelof mentioned that it would be of the same “scope” as The Lord of the Rings.  Okay, count me as officially excited!  I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t seen a whole season of Lost (yet!), but I am definitely excited about their adaptation. I’ve seen other works by Bad Robot, and I know they’ve got incredible talent.

Background, Other Works

the dark tower roland The Dark Tower Film UpdateSo let’s talk a little bit about The Dark Tower. King put out the first book of the series in 1982 and the final book was published in 2004. To give a brief summary would do the series injustice, but I’m going to try anyway.

King, inspired by The Lord of the Rings and spaghetti westerns (with a dash of King Arthur thrown in), wrote about the story of a crumbling world that is much like the wild west, but with magical elements.  Roland, part of a long line of gunslingers, has set out to find the mysterious Dark Tower.  Roland is clearly modeled after Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name” from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

When the book series wrapped up 22 years later, its influence was spread wide and far. And some of those influenced were the team behind Lost. Pretty cool how some of King and Dark Tower’s biggest fans are now making the movies, right?

In addition to that, Marvel Comics has been putting out comic book adaptations of The Dark Tower since 2007, written by Peter David and Robin Furth, with artwork by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove.  King has been overseeing these adaptations and I am deciding whether to dive into the comics first, or the books.

This is a hot property to be adapted into feature films and with Bad Robot backing it, it should be massive.

What do you think of the upcoming film adaptations of King’s famous Dark Tower series, by the guys who brought us Lost?

Sources: Cinematical and The Dark Tower official website

Artwork: Jae Lee and Richard Isanove

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  1. Heath, I envy you

    You’ll get to experience LOST for the first time when you watch season 1. It’s an amazing experience.

  2. $19.00???? when did THAT happen????

  3. These books are so amazing! The storyline could easily support 7 movies, one for each book.

  4. im super excited.. i have yet to dive into the series or the comic… although im a big king fan. i love bad robot and can’t wait form the do it.\and yes king sells all his books rights for $1 each. Mostly to independent filmmakers making shorts of his stories for film school, but most recently this and his last one “the mist” who he sold the rights for a buck to frank durobont.

  5. It’s too bad Frank Darabont isn’t attached to this… Who knows, though? Maybe Abrams and Bad Robot is a better fit, as “The Dark Tower” is more action-oriented. I’ll hold off on being excited or disappointed until I’ve seen a teaser.

    This is a huge franchise and — for my money — sorta falls apart in the later books. It’s going to require a LOT of explanation and exposition, as it winds its way through King’s entire bibliography and even his real-life past. And and and, IF the first couple of films don’t make their bank back, and favorably so, it could wither up before “Wizard and Glass”. SO… Yeah, I ain’t creamin’ my jeans just yet.

  6. Stephen King can sell the rights to his books because hes rich beyond belief. I think he’s really a great guy…a true artist. and it shows because he cares more about telling a good story than about how much money. JJ Abrams is the man and I believe that he will do this justice.

  7. King probably gets a percentage if the movie(s) do(es) well, I guess. I read the first book of The Dark Tower, and found it a bit boring actually. Not much happened in there. But I think I’d better pick it up again and finish it this time…

    But why a movie? This could be the perfect replacement of Lost.

  8. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! This is the BEST news to come out in terms of getting these movie(s) made yet!!!!!! Thanks for the update! If you have started reading the Dark Tower books, realize that book 1 and book 2 are “set-up” for the OUTSTANDING rest of the series….. It’s an amazing series, and with my LOST heroes behind the scenes, it can only be an amazing movie series!!!!!!!!!

  9. I know that feeling about being envious of someone when the watch a TV show or movie, listen to an album, read a book/comic, etc., for the first time. But best way to enjoy something almost for the first time is to watch it with them. I saw Die Hard with a friend who’d never seen it, and his reactions got me pumped up like the first time I saw it as a kid in 1988.

    heath

  10. @Rhaemye, I truly enjoyed The Gunslinger, but I will also say that many of the books in the Dark Tower series were quite hit or miss. My wife loved them, but I think King sometimes got a little lost in the story itself and would hurt the pacing of the overall story.

    I will say that many folks loved the fourth book Wizard and Glass, but I hated it. To me, it was nothing but a big flashback and the payoff at the end wasn’t all that interesting. My wife would argue with that, I think. The early books were better than the later ones. Out of the last three (which read more as a trilogy), I liked the sixth one best.

    Give them a try, though. I think you’ll enjoy the series as a whole. I’ve often found King disappointing with his endings, but I do think he got The Dark Tower right.

  11. My best mate (while really drunk) explained to me the WHOLE series Im really looking forward to this

  12. I haven’t read the books, but after reading Marvel’s comic book adaptations, I have to say, I’m pretty excited for these movies. The comics were really amazing, and the story captivating. So I’m definitely interested in this to hit the big screen.

  13. Ok people, based on the reviews I’ve read thus far about this rather UNFORTUNATE turn of events, I have to infer that NONE OF YOU have actually read the series in it’s entirety. The Dark Tower story should NOT be told in movie form. You simply cannot pack that much depth into a 2-3 hour film. If they decide that they HAVE to take a crack at this, you must allow at least 2 films PER BOOK!!! In my humble opinion, this is by far the greatest fantasy epic story ever written. J.J. Abrams and the team at Bad Robot are talented indeed. I’ve been a huge fan of Lost and Alias as well. Even this new project coming soon called Flash Forward looks promising. But The Dark Tower should remain untouched in cinematic form. An on-screen adaptation should take place as an ongoing series, like the way HBO did an animated series of Spawn a while back. But of course, The Dark Tower would run much, much longer.

  14. @Kory… I have read the entire series, some of which really would benefit from some serious editing. Books four, five and seven all need a great deal of work.

    As to “The Dark Tower” being the “greatest fantasy epic story ever written,” I’m not sold on that. It’s definitely up among the greats, but the greatest? Sorry, I think it falls short.

  15. @Kory Ward

    Well, really I suppose a Dark Tower TV Series should run forever…

    I’ve read the books. I have to say that there is a lot of filler in there that really does nothing for the story. Three movies could easily do it justice. Remember, it’s an adaptation not a word for word reproduction.

  16. @jordi… I agree there is a lot of filler… but three films? No, I don’t think that would work very well. Six, at a minimum… possibly. I say that because you could potentially fold the fourth book (which is nothing but an obscenely long flashback) into other places within the series. The reason I don’t think that would work, though, is that the flashback is too substantial. You’d have to film the entire thing in addition to the first film in order to do it, and that’s just not practical.

  17. @ Bill

    3 Films = Roland of Gilead, Drawing of the 3, The Dark Tower. That’s how I’d work it but then I’m not a screenwriter.

    There are whole sections it could stand to lose and be no worse off for it. Wizard and Glass, Susannah’s Song and Wolves of Calla are short stories at best. King was just procrastinating. There is a very, very good story at the core of the tale and I think that is what should be re-told. Let the books remain the canon of the Dark Tower but bring the (preferrably unaltered but vastly slimmed down) story to the masses.

  18. There are some great posts up there but I truly believe thatafter Book 4 : WIzards and Glass King’s style changed and that change coincided with his accident..I ABSOLUTELY LOVED the first four books and really struggled to finish the last three…I felt cheated by King because I waited since the mid eighties after the debut of the GunSlinger to see this series finished and it really disappointed in the end. I think it would have been very different if he had not had that accident..Anyone agree with me on this?

  19. greenknight333

    Can’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t yet read it. I was waiting for it to finish from the early nineties so I know something of how you felt.

    I can’t remember if it was in the last book or not but King wrote a piece describing how difficult he found it to end that book and having been disappointed in it at first I eventually realised that there weren’t many endings that wouldn’t have disappointed me. It may not have been the best ending possible but at least it was an ending.

    There were other things that annoyed me about the later books though, they didn’t seem as focussed and rambled on inanely at points. Entire pointless stories were included that had no impact on the overall arc and my least favourite plot device ever was included, the author as a character. That pretty much killed it for me and if there was another book after that I wouldn’t have bothered.

  20. The last three books did have a different feel. Wizard and Glass wasn’t the greatest, the wastelands had some highs and lows however I think that the last two books were profound and the story as a whole: the bees knees.

  21. I have to agree and disagree with the above comments I have read the whole story (several times) and i love it and nothing would please me more than to see them on the big screen and if anyone out there could possibly pull it off it would be abrams i have loved lost and enjoyed the way it was put together but the dark tower story is so massive and deep i just dont know if it could be pulled of properly without butchering the story, as it has been said the first book was a bit shoddy and i wasnt too keen on wizards and glass although it was a good story i was more interested on getting on with the journey than a very long flashback even if it does give roland more depth but overall i agree that this is the best fantasy I have ever read i hope it is all done properly and look forward to it (with nervousness)

  22. Hugh Jackman as Roland In the books Jack recognizes Clint Eastwood as being “almost” like the Gunslinger. Jackman Kinda looks like clint in his younger days. That is of course if they cant get Clint Eastwood to play him, at least the older Roland anyway.

  23. The Gunslinger and Wizard and Glass were the two BEST books in my opinion. Wizard and Glass was a GREAT GREAT and very well told story. It puts Roland in the pictures frame and defines him. It was a long time coming as well in the other books. You really can’t have the series without it.

    I can guarentee Clint Eastwood will not be playing Roland. lol. He does not have the right personality at all. The whole point to Roland is that he really IS more than just your classic “I hate everyone, going to kill everyone and not give a crap” Clint Eastwood character.

    I would have thought LoTR was impossible to make into films but look at them now. If The Dark Tower is done in seven films and just as carefully with the right kind of precision, it can be done. BELIEVE

  24. “…Clint Eastwood will not be playing Roland. lol. He does not have the right personality at all.”

    That’s not true. Throughout the series, it takes a long while for Roland to change from NOT being a “looking out for #1″ type of character.

    If they cast big-name actors, or actors who don’t actually enjoy and understand the series and the characters they will be playing, this will be a failure. Relatively unknown actors are the way to go. If Roland is cast as a big-name actor other than Eastwood, then all the beams might as well be broken.

  25. Ipersonally canNOT wait for the films!soooo excited. I think there should be an unknown actor for roland and james mcavoy for eddie :) and the star treck chick for suz

  26. I agree with iluveddie…..James Mcavoy would make an awesome Eddie.

  27. Call me crazy, but as I was reading I always pictured Tyra Banks as Susannah. I once saw an interview that Tyra was giving where she said when she was younger and living alone in the big city, she would pretend she was completely insane so people would not bother her. I think she is pretty enough and crazy enough to play the part.

  28. Has anyone here watched Trueblood? I think the actress that plays Tara would make an excellent Suz.

  29. I read through the entire Dark Tower series during my second tour of Iraq, this series is amazing and winds through almost Kings entire canon of literature… I will say that Gunslinger is a slow read (and the smallest of the seven) But they do pick up in story and substance after those… This could be a fantastic new Film series.. but unlike the 8 Harry Potter films The characters aren’t supposed to age through each of these books with the exception of the flash back the entire series takes place in roughly one years time.
    I will hold judgement till we see some evidence.

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