As the buzz surrounding the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower continues to grow, many have begun wondering what to expect from the series when it hits theaters. Early trepidations about changes made from page to screen were largely assuaged by the announcement that the movies would serve as sequels to the books, rather than direct translations. While that approach makes sense, as readers will be quick to point out, that does leave some questions about how they’ll go about telling their story.
The film has gone through decades of development in its journey to theaters, and it wasn’t until Ron Howard (In the Heart of the Sea) and his production partner Brian Grazer (24: Legacy) got their hands on it that the series found significant traction. Originally envisioned as a multi-platform shared-universe story, The Dark Tower landed heavyweights likes Idris Elba (Star Trek Beyond) and Matthew McConaughey (Kubo and the Two Strings) to lend its story the necessary star power to draw crowds. Though the movie is still several months away from release, lost among all the information has been whether or not a TV series is still in the works.
In a new interview with Deadline, Howard and Grazer addressed the questions about television tie ins for the project and confirmed that plans are still underway. While little was revealed about those plans or how a TV series would tie into the cinematic universe they hope to build, that’s certainly good news for fans looking forward to a wealth of Dark Tower content. In the interview, Howard said:
“We’re developing the television part, now. We don’t know what platform it will be on at this point, but we’re developing the content in hopes for more movies that will cover the epic and the characters involved.”
That leaves the question of what the TV show will eventually be. Given the more streamlined version of the narrative the movies are trying to tell, there are certainly a lot of options for Howard and Grazer to work with. King’s universe is vast, with many of his seemingly unrelated novels having tie-ins to The Dark Tower story. However, the most likely option for the TV show would be a prequel, adapting two of the cycle’s novels into a new format.
Wizard and Glass and The Wind Through the Keyhole both tell stories of Roland’s (Elba) younger days. Fans are largely divided over the necessity of each of these novels, though taken out of context from the rest of the series their esteem tends to grow. Marvel Comics had some success with a comic series based on Wizard and Glass beginning in 2007. The comics also detailed other events from within The Dark Tower universe that were featured either as flashbacks in King’s novels or as short stories published separately from King’s larger works.
This would make the most sense for a television adaptation, but it’s certainly not their only option. King’s world is so vast that they could, in theory, develop any number of shows that take place within the world without ever touching the story’s canon. No matter what route they decide to take with the eventual series, it would certainly add depth to the world presented by the movies and expand upon the themes of the story in ways movies might not be able to do on their own.
There’s certainly precedent for this in today’s world with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the MCU. More and more, fans are learning to accept the cross-platform model of storytelling and world building, and they’ve certainly got a lot of source material to work with. Still, much of this will depend on the eventual success or failure of The Dark Tower when it hits theaters next year. With all the buzz surrounding it, however, it’s definitely starting to feel like The Tower is closer than ever before, to which we say thankee-sai.
The Dark Tower hits theaters on February 17, 2017.