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

Published 4 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. Roland has to be Kevin Costner

  2. Stephen Moyer for Roland! Even though he’s short and english, he plays a perfectly menacing & rugged hero in True Blood.

    As for the TV parts, I think NBC would handle it decently. Heroes delved into some fairly dark themes and I think that it’s (and Lost’s) absence has left a need for some darker sci-fi on television.

  3. Stephen Moyer are you kidding me? I can perhaps see Viggo Mortensen as a possibility.

  4. I think that this is very risky move by Universal and NBC. It is a lot of money and a lot of time to invest. This project can easily sink or float depending on how well they portrait the story especially for us hard core fans. I love this story and its characters. I hope that interest is not lost in the trilogy and series because of bad script writing, horrible acting, and/or bad special effects or CGI. I for one will be going to see the first movie as soon as it comes out and decide if I will be following. BTW… I cast a vote for Daniel Day Lewis as Walter(The Man in Black) Have not given the others much more thought :)

  5. This is awesome. I for one love this idea. The length of an entire TV season really allows creative freedom in the movies. They are not going to have to worry about fitting all the incredible nuances into a movie. Hope the cast is strong, but I think the roles will carry the actors if done well. And with Ron Howard at the helm, I’m sure they will be.

  6. Ananda Lewis would be my one and only choice to be Odetta she is so pretty and brilliant and I feel like she could pull off the dicotomy of Odetta. When I was reading the books the only face I could see on Odetta was hers. Google her youll see what I mean

    • Christopher Walken is the man in black. End of subject

  7. Seriously though. I’m going to watch it all regardless of how amazing/terrible it is.

  8. After I read the 7th book I thought a LOT about this. I thought movies would not be long enough to do most of the series justice. 7 seasons of HBO-quality and style TV would, with the first season being shorter, maybe 7 eps and the rest either 13 or 22.

    Hugh Laurie
    Harrison Ford
    Tommy Lee Jones
    Kevin Costner

    all too old for Roland

    Viggo Mortensen
    Christian Bale
    Timothy Olyphant

    good actors, would probably do really well. I’d say Timothy Olyphant is my one overall choice.

    Nathan Fillion is the one who arguably looks the most like Roland. He’s a little too comedic usually but I think he could pull it off.

    Zoe Saldana would be ok but I’d rather someone a little more “african”-looking. When I think of Susannah I think of Taraji Henson, Kimberly Elise, Rutina Wesley, etc.

    I would rather see Hauer as the MIB rather than Walken. Walken, I can’t really get past his style of taking. Him and Shatner.

    It’s funny to me, but it does seem like the TV series of King’s stuff are always better than the big screen stuff.

  9. Eastwood is roland but definately tto old now. Im with Viggo Mortenson but think that a total no-namer might be the best choice. With no character typing it will be easier for him to really become Roland. Same with all the characters…

    I think this aproach could be awsome since its never been done before. And crappy or not i will watch them all. Im just totally thrilled that its actually happening…..

  10. A Dark Tower movie & t.v. Show. If done right it could be awsome. I can’t wait to see who plays Roland

  11. I personally think that doing this to such an epic series will completely undervalue it as a whole. The only people that should even be able to experience the awesome magnitude of this story are the people who take the time to read it. Like most books that get transformed into a movie there will most likely be more parts left out then put in. This is a horrible idea and I’m surprised that King would take such an unnecessary risk on turning a lifelong project that turned into gold, into a potential flop judged by the close minded that never even read the books in the first place. Another case of an epic novel turned into an epic failure.

  12. Stephen King if you go through with this then clearly you have forgotten the face of your father.

    • Stephen King wants to make money. There is no sense blaming him for that. He poured a lot into these books, and adapting them to movies is a great way for him to make a profit. I am however worried about Akiva “Batman and Robin” Goldsman adapting the books.

      • Sthephen King sales the rights for that film for 19$, so dont say that he wants money…

    • agreed

    • I understand you hesitation, as rarely (if at all) a loved and well lived, in the readers mind, story is ever retold successfully in another medium. Being that we who have read & hold this work true in our hearts and soul have already cast & directed the best we can, and NO one not even King himself can do better than he let us do ourselves… that being said –
      Are you not curious to see how close they may come in making physical the vision King enraptured so many of us with his plain yet gritty haunting narrative.
      I also wonder if the story my come to a more fleshed out satisfying and not so rushed end. I kinda got the sense that King felt rushed to tell it , as if the devil were chasing him to his grave before he could finish his life’s work… Hell, he all but explained that perfectly so, when he put himself in as the character whose life was in danger and it was a race against time to tell it before he himself was snuffed out – Thats why i don’t understand why so many were mad at him- Its not the end he wanted either – He felt he had to hurry it! So we may get the ending that is a little more true and not so “Nineteen”.

      • ok steven king, i know its you.

    • HEAR HIM WELL!!!!

    • No and no. This a tail that should be told on screen. I have some ideas but yes very difficult to do it right. I have read it over and again over the years and the heart of it is very true. Hard to explain what a glunslinger is but a few of us know of its sincerity. It is about a state of being. Some police officers and soldiers inately feel what it is. It is a state of being-not an outcome of events. No one can know what will happen when you get the call to do something. One simply reacts to a call and does what one can.

    • Its his hard work that created the series so if he wants to make it into a film then so be it.

  13. I, personally am SUPERPSYCHED!! As long as they are going to spend
    so much time and trouble; I assume they are going to follow the books and
    use a lot of detail and not destroy the story line like everyone usually does to SK books when they make movies of them. ( Carrie being an exception to that rule) If they aren’t, then they might as well leave it alone. But if they are really going to do it, I think it will be freakin AWESOME! I love the Dark Tower story and I would LOVE to see this project come to fruition; if they will do it right and not trash it like they did The Stand and worst of all, It. If they can’t afford or commit to several years of production to do it proper justice then they should just let it be.

    • Aside from the last 2 minutes of The Mist. That one was pretty spot on.

  14. i would love to see the movie and tv series i think it is a great idea

  15. I personally think this is a terrible idea. This story is more than amazing theres no way it could successfully be made into a movie. And i think it sucks that they’re going to do a series because i don’t have freakin cable so those of us who can’t watch the series then what? we just skip the whole middle of the story? that really sucks and i just think Stephen king should let sleeping dogs lie and leave the Dark Tower the way it is. If people want to know the story…. read the F’in books

    • you clearly have the internet.. you’re telling me you can’t find a way to watch the series? come on.

    • Dude stop complaining! You can always watch the series on HULU or the website of whichever major network, probably NBC, picks it up. You obviously have internet service.

  16. forgotten the face of his father?
    haven’t you read it, the face of his father is whatever he writes it as? :P

    if they do a good job, i can’t wait, if they let molly ringwald ruin it like they did the stand, i’d rather just go read the books again

  17. Yep. I ditched cable years ago. Everything I want to watch can be found online. This will, I’m sure, be no exception.

  18. Im looking forward to it…provided they cast the right actor as Roland. Gotta nail that one.

  19. I think it’s awesome that this is finally becoming movies/TV series, but I think they are doing it all wrong. The Dark Tower is fine in movie format, even if it takes more than 7 movies to fit it all in. But, I think the TV series should be more about the mysteries that tie into the Dark Tower – low men in yellow coats, breakers, parallel universe/worlds, Crimson King, Randall Flagg, etc… It could be a pretty awesome TV series, even if you don’t see the movies. It wouldn’t be hard for Stephen King (or someone else with his permission) to add more content to that stuff, without having to write more books.

  20. i’ve read the books a half dozen times,, and listen to the audiobooks all the time while i paint(constanatlyfor years). i’ve been hoping for this for years, and already have characters cast (in my head) i’m super pumped

    blaine-kevin spacy
    cort-willem defoe
    walter/martin-brad dourif

    and like many people have said, i would prefer less known actors without other character associations to play the major roles

  21. First of all let me say that I don’t think it is necessary to have read any other Stephen King to enjoy the Dark Tower. I avoided Stephen King for the first 20 years of my life because I always associated him with the horror genre, which I dislike. After reading the Dark Tower books I just couldn’t put down his other books because I wanted to see how they related to his opus.

    I do think the plan they have is a good one. Although I wish they would make 7 movies, I think Jake is the major drawback for that. With this plan they can finish the series in 3 – 4 years and he won’t grow too much. If the stretch it out like they did Harry Potter, then he would get too old. Don’t get me wrong, it worked well for Harry Potter given that each book takes place the next year after the last. With the Dark Tower, they need to happen right away and having a 12 year old kid would not work for the movies.

    Lastly, I disagree with you Squeezeplay I think Hugh Laurie, Harrison Ford, and Tommy Lee Jones would be perfect for the role of Roland. Kevin Costner on the other hand I don’t see, but not because of his age. I think you are forgetting that Roland is ageless. He has been traveling for years upon years. He is always described as a sort of weathered character, and I believe someone in their late forties to mid 60s would fit the bill perfectly, as long as they were able to do the action required for the part of the gunslinger. I mean if you look at the end of the series you can see what I am getting at. I have often tried to cast this series in my head and Roland is always where I get stuck.

    In any case, I am both excited and scared for this project. This is by far my favorite book series and I worry that with the way Akiva Goldsman has adapted other bad movies from great books that this could turn out poorly. I mean, did he even READ I, Robot?

  22. The whole thing’s gone 19!

  23. “Lastly, I disagree with you Squeezeplay I think Hugh Laurie, Harrison Ford, and Tommy Lee Jones would be perfect for the role of Roland. Kevin Costner on the other hand I don’t see, but not because of his age. I think you are forgetting that Roland is ageless. He has been traveling for years upon years. He is always described as a sort of weathered character, and I believe someone in their late forties to mid 60s would fit the bill perfectly”

    On the contrary, tis is EXACTLY why I don’t believe a 40+ actor is a fit for this role.

    I think you should brush up on your definitions of the word ageless. What it means is essentially someone who is old but appears young. Therefore, seeming not to age.

    What King was saying was that although Roland was older than his 20s or 30s, he still looked around that age, despite his skin having a leathery, beaten up look.

    Also, a lot of people forget that although Roland was hundreds of years old, he didn’t “live” all that time. He spent a large part of it in a sort of suspended animation. When he woke up, he might have looked exactly the same as he did when he went to sleep.

    Aside from this, I agree with a lot of what you’ve said.

    However, my idea of how this project should go was just one, long TV series, with each season corresponding to one book. The length of the storyline in each book determining the length of the season, from 8 eps at the shortest to 22 at the longest. Have someone LIKE Tarantino, Rodriguez or Darabont direct (i.e. someone who has proven they can respect the original media) and put it on either HBO/SHO/whatever pay channel, or a channel like F/X, AMC, or another BASIC CABLE channel that’s proven they can handle adult material.

    Cast a well-known TV actor like Fillion or Boreanaz or an unknown as Roland, period. No major movie stars as Roland. The rest of the cast being unknowns, except for certain major guest-shots (like Blaine’s voice, etc.) and possibly the major villains.

    I know that this would seriously screw with the onscreen age of Jake, but maybe they could get around that by finding a pair of brothers who look a lot alike and both can act. Have the older brother play Jake in the earlier seasons and the younger brother come on once the older one grows up too much.

    This whole Ron Howard, movie/tv/movie/tv/movie thing is just an epic failfest waiting to happen.

  24. How bout Clive Owen as The Gunslinger?

    • The gunslinger should be Timothy Olephont from the show Justified…

    • I can see Clive Owen as Roland. I also can see Andy Whitfield (He played Spartacus in Spartacus:Blood and Sand) if his health permits it. Andy would make an AMAZING Roland. He has the look and the acting skills.

  25. I personally think that The Dark Tower saga should never be adapted into any kind of television or cimematic version. Is this about making more money? Stephen King’s world famous already, no doubt about that. Does he really just want to share his masterpiece with everyone who never had the chance to get into The Dark Tower? Does it matter? I don’t think so. I just finished the 7th novel about a month ago, it took me about a year to get though them all because I didn’t want to just /read/ it, I wanted to really take it all in. Every time I talk about it, somebody always wants to know “what it’s about”. I don’t have a clue how to condense so much into a few sentances. And i could do even less to give it the justice that it is due. And i believe that if a movie or TV series (or both?) was made, it would be more /about/ The Dark Tower, than another version of it. I don’t know about other fans, but i dont think that the concepts that are encompased by The Dark Tower could really be put into a movie (or TV series or both, but I’m not sure what to call both) with much success. I’m certainly no movive producer, but I can’t see how such contrasting styles (i.e; the lengthy time frame of Roland’s journey, fallowing Walter, across the desert and he and Susannah’s crossing Empathica to The Tower vs. the less-than-a-day that was /Susannah’s Song/) would be developed in a movie, or how /Wizard & Glass/ would fit in without just looking like a prequal (which it is mopst certainly not). I could hardly grasp the ending without being thrown off by “Hollywood” nonsense scenes. But even if all of these things could be done right, and this portrayed the events and feelings of the novels well, I dont think that anyone who didn’t or couldn’t read the book (and I don’t mean to be a bigot) should be allowed to just “watch the movies”. For those of you who put in the time and thought to read all 7; does tht seem fair? In my opinion, it absolutely does not (can you say /GAWD-bomb/?!). I don’t want to see this happen. Thanks for reading this if you got this far, and King (on the off chance this ever makes it’s way around to you); I ignored your warning (but not without some consideration, mind you) and read the end, because I wanted to know how you could possibly write an ending to something as great as The Dark Tower. I was astounded. I hardly slept that night. I felt as if I acompanied Roland through the entirety of his journey, thinking his thoughts, feeling his joy and his pain. /If/ you want to make this, noone can stop you. So please, don’t lose that. DON’T forget the face of /your/ father.

    • “Every time I talk about it, somebody always wants to know “what it’s about”. I don’t have a clue how to condense so much into a few sentances.”

      I always tell people “It’s about a knight-like cowboy who is descended from King Arthur, from another dimension which is part of a multiverse that is shaped like a series of concentric circles around a central tower, who is traveling to the tower to try to keep it from being destroyed, which would result in all of creation being destroyed”.

      And I agree with everything you said.

  26. I am so excited!!! I love this series!!! I have read the books a million times over. I always thought this owuld be an awesome movie!!!!! I can’t wait to see who will be The Gunslinger :)

  27. Let’s just hope the script goes by the book. I mean, could you imagine Harrison Ford jukin’ and jivin’ as old long, dark and ugly?

  28. I really liked the books, I have no problem with the films being made, if they are garbage, I won’t view them, however if they are made well, they could turn on a whole new audience to the books. As far as Roland goes..many actors could play that role. It’s Eddie who’s going to be hard to cast, a likable character with a gregarious style and a formidable personality. if not done right he could end up as a 2-d 80′s style action star with crappy one liners. Fingers crossed and looking forward to see if Howards vision is that of a reader and fan of the series or a director that will go style over substance.

  29. I would like to throw a name that, if those involved would look with their mind’s eye, would be PERFECT for the role of the Gunslinger… KEVIN BACON!!! he has the look -and we know he has the acting chops- to pull off the gaunt, haunting visage of the Gunslinger