‘The Dark Tower’ Movie Trilogy & TV Series On the Way

Published 5 years ago by , Updated July 12th, 2013 at 10:25 am,

the dark tower stephen king movie The Dark Tower Movie Trilogy & TV Series On the Way

Stephen King’s epic novel series The Dark Tower is practically begging to be adapted into either a movie or a TV series. Early in 2009 it was reported that J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company were going to be bringing the book series to the big-screen. However, late last year Abrams revealed he wouldn’t be adapting the books after all.

But fear not Dark Tower fans as Deadline is reporting that Universal Pictures and NBC Universal have landed a deal to bring King’s epic to life. If it wasn’t exciting enough that King’s “magnum opus” is finally being adapted (for real this time), the adaptation will come to us in the form of not only a whole trilogy of movies but also a coinciding TV series.

How exactly can a TV series coincide with a trilogy of movies? Well, the details are quite complicated when you first look at them but they break down fairly simply if you really study them:

Things will start off with the first in the movie trilogy and then that will be bridged onto the first season of the TV series which will follow fairly quickly thereafter. Then the second movie in the trilogy will follow on from where the first season of the series leaves off. After that second movie is done things will be bridged back to the series for the second season and then once that’s done the story will continue on and conclude with the third part of the movie trilogy.

That’s quite a plan that’s been put together: They’re counting on audiences being willing to go and see the first Dark Tower movie and then jump over to TV to find out what happens next (then doing the same thing again when it comes to the movie sequel and the second season), all the while committing more time and effort to follow the storyline (hour-long episodes week-on-week as opposed to a single 2-3 hour movie). While it may be somewhat risky it nonetheless shows that the people behind the adaptation have commitment and belief in their vision.

As for who’s behind The Dark Tower adaptations on the creative side, Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) will direct the first feature film and the entire first season of the TV series and Akiva Goldsman (I Am Legend) while write the first movie and the first season of the series. Both will produce the adaptations along with Howard’s Imagine Entertainment partner, Brian Grazer and Stephen King himself (I guess the author wants to have a hand in seeing this get done right).

Howard and Goldsman first revealed they would be working with Universal to try and adapt The Dark Tower back in April but at the time the studio was battling it out with Warner Bros. for the rights. Evidently Universal has won out but it is said that the deal was so comprehensive that it’s literally taken months to lock it down.

This strategy of taking the much-wanted Dark Tower adaptation completely head-on is being compared to what Peter Jackson did with his Lord of the Rings trilogy, where all three films were shot back-to-back so that they could be released within three years of one another. Because The Dark Tower trilogy of movies will coincide with the TV series (it sounds like you won’t be able to watch one without tuning in for the other), that means the same actors that portray the characters on the big-screen will also have to be there for the small-screen version.

Does this mean we won’t be seeing big name stars (Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Will Smith, etc.) but rather lesser known names that would – most likely – be made into stars as a result of their participation in the Dark Tower franchise? For a story like this I would prefer less famous actors simply because it’s such an immersive and expansive world King has created that I would rather not be distracted by A-listers filling up all the roles.

The Dark Tower by Stephen King The Dark Tower Movie Trilogy & TV Series On the Way

Crossing platforms like this also means the filmmakers will benefit from using the same crew and sets. This sounds like not only a highly ambitious undertaking (which hasn’t really been done before) but also a very expensive one, so being able to keep the same sets and the talents of the same team throughout both the movies and the TV series will certainly save money where it counts.

It’s certainly encouraging to see the sort of commitment that’s been injected in this gargantuan adaptation. I think most of us can join together in hoping that all this is a success and that it does proper justice to King’s much-loved series of Dark Tower books.

If you want to know more head on over to Deadline to read the thoughts of the people involved.

As always, check back at Screen Rant for more on The Dark Tower adaptation(s). Share your thoughts and comments on this story in the comments below as well as on Twitter @screenrant and @rosstmiller.

Source: Deadline

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  1. An aggressive undertaking, but brilliant if it can be done well. I wonder how much of the project will be filmed before audiences see the first portion. Hopefully it will be a cable series?

    • Hopefully this will be brilliant. I’ve always wanted to see what Roland would look like in the light. But Clint Eastwood is a little too old to play him. I hope this doesn’t become a total bust like scott pilgrim (I liked scott pilgrim, but I guess no one else did)

      • If Ron Howard or Imagine Entertainment are involved, I’d look for the casting to be a mix of talent and names. With the integrity and reputation he has, I’d imagine some heavyweights wanting to be a part of the project. Even if its talent that was major in the past (as opposed to today’s standards) it could be a huge career reboot for whoever is involved.

        As for Scott Pilgrim, I was in the theater watching the movie when a major thunderstorm knocked out the power and they gave everyone free vouchers to return at a later date. Unfortunately, the movie was in its last week of play so I never saw the film past a particular evil ex skateboarding down the handrail. What I had seen up to that point was good, though.

    • it cant be done in a trilogy. simple as that

      • Even of they did every book as a movie, they would have to cut out a lot. I’m really curious how they would do and cast wizard and glass, seeing how its almost a entire book of back story.

      • I thought the same thing when I read the title of the article but the idea that they’ll be moving the story along via television is intriguing. That’s over 12 hours (at least) per season of content. With that much time to develop the story (maybe whole episode devoted to flashbacks), I don’t think they’ll have to cut out very much of the books at all.

        • Very true. I just hope with the 4th book they really dedicate it to that book cause its my favorite of the series.

          • SULLY!!! we agree :)

          • Actually, I read that the second season of TV will be devoted to young Roland. I’m currently reading the series, and I’m on Wizard and Glass, so I’m pretty pumped for this whole thing.

        • I totally agree. In the past, remakes of SK’s books have failed because of the sheer amt of content and trying to pack all that in a movie. They were on the right track with The Stand, however, it failed due in part to too small a budget (imho). The only movie that succeeded was The Langoliers. It succeeded basically because it was a short story.
          The beauty of the DT series is the books were smaller, which will allow them to more easily manage the content. I can only hope they can do the same kind of justice Peter Jackson did to LOTR. The fact that SK is involved this time gives me hope.

    • It sounds like it could be great (if done right). Here’s a good idea: The feature films should definitely just stick to the forward progressing stories. The TV series could focus mainly on Roland’s past, especially his becoming a gunslinger in his youth, and that can be juxtaposed with some character building of Jake (audience’s entryway into Roland’s world).

  2. holy crap holy crap holy crap

    I am So excited! We were just talking about this last week screen ranters, its really fantastic to see they’re taking this wonderful work with dedication that it deserves.

    -long days and pleasant nights gunslingers.

  3. Can’t wait! Nathan fillion for roland in my opinion! Hope they do it justice. I say just do it like back to back 7 straight movies.

    • OMG Nathan Fillion would be great as Roland!

  4. Downloading Dark Tower e-books now!!!!

    • haha you know how long its gonna take you to read or listen to those or whatever? i doubt you have the attention span i started reading these in the 8th grd im now 21 i finished oh my junior on to senior year and any of you dont try to sugar coat it for a teenager in a crust punk band thats good ass time. and i still say MADS for roland raise your standards kids unknowns are unknown for a reason which somtimes i do prefer one but at other times they jus plain suck ass

      • What the hell is your problem??? Why re you having a go at someone for saying they are going to download the books??? How the f. do you know what anyone’s attention span is??? Judging from your general lack of grammar I’d say your attention during school must have been sadly lacking!

        I could read these books in a fortnight.

        • @tankD

          That is two weeks.

          • LOL…nice aknot. And yes tankD these books if you have the knowledge and imagination to accept them for the masterpieces they are, will absolutely suck you in. I find it hard to set them down once i start and usually end up reading the books in 3 days. Except the gunslinger because its shorter is only a day long read.

            • I thought I got a bad download when I started Gunslinger.

              So it’s definitely shorter than the rest???

  5. Yeah…ok… I can see eveyone is excited, allow me to through this spanner in the works, have you seen who is scripting the film?

    Akiva Goldsman.

    Who wrote the script for Batman and Robin.

    • and I am Legend, one of my most hated movies ever!

      • Exactly. His name is not often associated with quality.

    • Yes but Akiva Goldsman also wrote “I am Legend”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “I, Robot”, “The Cinderella Man” and “the Davinci Code” so I’d say he has some pretty good work behind him

      • Except that, I am Legend and The Da Vinci Code were terrible adaptations of the source material, I’m not even sure why I,Robot was named after the book considering the film that bore its name. And A Beaufiful Mind, well, it was a created for oscars film. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • sam, im not excited, lol

      • Steve! Don’t let them do it they are gonna destroy it!!!

  6. nathan fillion as roland? you do know roland is based off the man with no name. he kills women and children in a line of villagers in a town in the first book. a kid is even being descibed as stabbing him in the calf when he kills him. no roland has to be somone that can act not nathan fillion it would be like him trying to be the same character from fire fly. it has to be somone badass which i cant even think of anyone close enough besides mads milkensen

    • Doesn’t mean nathan fillion couldn’t play Roland (case in point Firefly where he played a futuristic gunslinger). I think either Fillion or even Christian Bale.

  7. This is an “idea” Ive presented a few times especially with Superhero movies.

    Make a movie pick it up on TV using the same characters etc then bring it back to the theaters.

    My only question/concern would be is it going to be on a cable channel? I dont see this on your regular TV…

  8. Waiting for a screen rant casting call
    wheres our list guys? :D

  9. Are these books worth reading guys?

    I’m off on holiday next week and might put them on my Kindle…

    • They are easily his best works (in my opinion). Absolutely can’t wait for this. I’m impressed with how they are trying to tackle it. It sounds like they’ll be able to cover pretty much everything from the books.

      • thanks

    • If you are a King fan then yes. If you are not it may be a …. confusing (?) read at first?

      It is hard to explain.. I think from hearing you post you would enjoy it though.

      • I have read all of his other books.

        • sam, i’ll say this, it was his most ambitious undertaking, and the series is quite brilliant :)

    • Dream
      After the first book i couldn’t put them down. The fourth book will have you locked in like a mofo.

        • I have read through the Dark Tower books twice…opening up Gun Slinger again soon as I finish “Under the Dome”……which should be tonight :)

          • The Dark Tower series is nothing short of pure literary genius. Under the Dome was a great story as well, but nothing by King or any other author has been able to come close to the DT series. They just better do this thing right. Casting MUST be spot on or it could ruin the entire thing (aka. Halle Berry as Suzanna would be a disaster) and Roland, well, Roland is a hero and anti-hero wrapped up in one lovable yet unlovable bass ass package. He better be done right, or they’ll have a lot of pissed off fans. Im excited to see how it all turns out.

    • Are they worth reading?
      is any King book worth reading?
      Have you read Talisman and Black house? eyes of the dragon? how about lissy’s story? salems lot? insomnia?
      If not, read them first. All of kings books and short stories play roles in these books, but the ones I listed above play major roles in Roland’s saga.
      The more King you have read the better the books will be for you.
      Even with out the listed ones, These books are fantastic, but why miss out on part of what makes it greater? Read those, then the dark tower saga.

      • Don’t forget The Stand as well, Chance. I believe DT was the culmintation of talents honed over his career. This series was a personal project and represents about 20yrs of work, off and on.
        Dark Tower briefly touches on several characters seen in his other books, so Chance is right. I would also recommend that you read or re-read several of these stories so you’ll better understand the references when you come across them. Besides, I think his books only get better after you have read them again and again.

  10. Jon Hamm = Roland Deschain.

    Please God make this happen.

  11. I stand and applaud. This is really the only way to do this movie and have it turn out right. I have said that they need to do this in a TV series for a while. Now we get the best of both worlds.

  12. My votes for Roland Daniel Craig or Thomas Jane.

  13. arcing between TV and theater wont work. the tone and language will be very different. i am not excited about this at all anyone thats read the novels, im talking novels, and not the comic adaptations knows that they are of a R rated setting, as most of Kings novels are. you just simply cannot get the same tone on the TV screen that youre gonna get on the silver screen. not with these 7 novels.

    • For once i agree with you anthony. I don’t see the transition working well at all. Especially in tone.

  14. Well I’m excited. =)

  15. if they wanna make a Gunslinger film, just use Little Sisters of Eluria

  16. Nice smitty! Im gonna start the series again now. I’m all hyped up now. How’s his newest novel. I haven’t got to it yet.

  17. Actually I think this is the ONLY way they can get stuff from all seven books in. But you have no idea how tore I am right now –because I think audiences abroad will get screwed.

    Some movies do open inmediately overseas, especially if they’re big and important (THE DARK KNIGHT). But I don’t know if this would qualify. TV shows, on the other hand, almost always premiere a month, maybe three, after they do in the US.

    It always gets me wondering, in this age of Internet and globalization and what not, why is thinking about the local market the main way? Oh well…

    On the other hand, I’m not sure I see Ron Howard doing this. I mean, WILLOW was cool and all, and the man did do some cool action stuff with APOLLO 13, but I don’t see him handling something like this. And don’t get me started on the Dan Brown movies. I don’t know, I just don’t know…

  18. juan, it still wont be done right, youre dealing with two very different media freedoms, TV and film

    • You see, that’s where I don’t agree, Anthony. TV has come a long way, and stuff like LOST and the such have become pretty cinematical, in some cases. (I’d dare even include BREAKING BAD in that aspect.) That’s the part where I have the least problems.

      • reread the series then talk to me lol. the tone, atomospere will be totally differnt, as well as the violence transitioning from film to TV

        • Let us talk! :) Again, that also depends on what channel this will be airing. Showtime? Starz? the CW? (Yeah right…) Or will this show on NBC straight?

  19. Smitty, ive read through the series 4 times, actually started it all again last week too. im just wondering why Abrams isnt doing this, he himself bought the rights from King

    • Because he’s a darn tease, is what he is… (sniff) Anyway, I too read the whole thing at least five times. The last two are the ones I’ve read the least. And I think I’m very near to the sixth time.

  20. Anthony. Under The Dome is amazing, his best for years. It’s not a horror, but it’s damn horrible in places. It shows the true evil in people.

    • its on my shelf here sam, just havent got to it yet :(. i went to his site, and read the press release about this future train wreck…NBC studios, does that man the TV portions will be on NBC? if so, there series will suffer further

        • Well i doubt king will just let it go out the cutting room or production offi e without any say. Im sure we will see a produ er credit from him. Im not really a fan of abrams so to me it doesn’t matter, in fact im glad its not abrams. Personally i would chose someone like sam raimi or david lunch imho.

        • Smitty, some of my friends still think the TV version of It was brilliant lol..i have yet to see the glimmer of hope in thier eyes to this news, i’ll shut it down.

          • Guys, I’m being a little bit of a party pooper here, and I’m sory, but I think the LEAST Mr. King is involved in this the better, unless he (SPOILER ALERT) plays himself in the later part of the story like he does in the book (END SPOILER). Nearly every movie based on one of his books in which he’s been involved has been a flop (one example: MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE). Maybe it’s just because he was coked outta his mind at the time, but I still have that feeling… Or am I wrong?

            • Misery, carrie, the shawshank redemption, stand by me. Are you talking about another king cause a motor his work translated good. Not all though, it, the shining…

              • Wait, wait, wait. I meant the ones he was involved in DIRECTLY, be it as director, producer, the such. I believe in those he didn’t even have so much as a cameo. But in the ones he was most involved in –directing in MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, scripts for SLEEPWALKER and THE SILVER BULLET, to name the ones I remember–, well… they suck!

                • IT si brilliant –till the last half hour where it turns to doo-doo. Sorry, just MHO. :) Do admit, Tim Curry is AWESOME. That guy has been completely wasted in later years.

  21. Smitty
    Maybe i’ll give it another watch. Its been years since i’ve seen it and my taste has changed a lot. Tim curry is rad btw!

  22. Juan
    i’ve never seen those other two except m.o. and that has been years as well. So who do you guys think for casting? Eddie is the most difficult to think of for me.

    • You know, when I read the novels I kept seeing someone like a black-haired Rutger Hauer as Roland. Please, no Josh Brolin –the guy’s great, but can you say typecast? And who would you pick for Susannah — Zoe Saldana or somebody else? Eddie, yes, he’s tough… I see an actor going through a couple of physical changes and showing a lot of range. Not too many who can pull that one off. Maybe if Matthew Fox were twenty years younger… I’m guessing they’re going unknown on that one.

      • Saldana is definitely who i thought of for susanna too. I would think hauer as the man in black, roland i have know clue. When i imagine him though i get a bruce campbell face lol!

        • Ha, ha, ha, nah, I wouldn’t go there. This is is thin guy, who looks weary and noble at the same time, and has the bombardier eyes. Wow, if Ed Haris were younger and with more hair he’d be perfect! How about Jim Caviezel? (And I kinda buy your Man in Black.)

          • Whoever plays Roland better have some serious acting chops.
            SUggestions include: Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Laurie, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Viggo Mortensen, Christian Bale…

            Hauer as The Man in Black though…THAT’s inspired. :)

            • I always thought that Milo Ventimiglia that played Peter Petrelli in Heroes would be a good Eddie.

  23. I started reading King at a young age, but this series didn’t interest me due to the what I thought was a western theme. I was in my 30′s before I decided to give it a try and then I was hooked! I ravenously read the books and although it may sound a little corny, I found out I was pregnant with twins while I was reading “Wolves” and then I found out one my girls had a congenital defect. It was profound and the book took on a whole new meaning for me.
    Anywho, I have always hoped for movies but never expected it would happen and now am slightly fearful of the outcome. It’s been a bit since I read the series but who would play Jake? He doesn’t age much in the books does he? Wouldn’t they have to shoot it like they did with Harry Potter because of the character? Makes me wonder.
    BTW, Zoe Saldana is an excellent chooice for Susannah!

  24. I mentioned this in another thread a week or 2 back, but Viggo Mortensen would be PERFECT as Roland. NOT Nathan Fillion.

  25. say thankee-sai. i hope king watches this project like a hawk and doesn’t let them screw it up. this film quality needs to be on par with the green mile and the shawshank redemption. not some low budget crap like the mist.

    • they’ll FUBAR it regardless, the transition between movie and TV gaurantee it, two different medias, two VERY different sets on tones. the books are R rated for sure as is most of KIngs works, you’ll have, if done right R rated films, but hard PG-13 TV transitioning and tone. plus getting high dollar actors/actresses is a bad idea, they need to go with lesser knowns that can play the parts in both type of medias.

      and thats all i have to say on this subject :)

  26. I don’t see how NBC can do a good job with the Dark Tower series. It’s just to graphic with the killing and the sex and the so much swearing. Seriously though Roland’s story is not for prime time tv unless it’s HBO because HBO doesn’t have to cut anything out. If they want to say ***k, they’ll say f***. Ever see OZ, Deadwood, Band of Brothers…ect…ect?

  27. I just wanted to put in that I think that it should be made into an anime. It would just work better in my mind. I know CG and everything and it will probably end up being made into 3D. But really.
    Oh and they should have Timothy Olyphant from Deadwood be Roland. He’s the best fit for that part. Not craggy enough, but he’s icy, and it’s not a stretch for him to play a gun slinger.