Former Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara has been tapped by Media Rights Capital and Sony to run their planned TV version of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. The TV show will overlap somewhat with the current feature film adaptation but reportedly will center on younger versions of the Gunslinger Roland and his group. The Dark Tower film stars Idris Elba, Dennis Haysbert and Tom Taylor (who plays Roland’s young companion Jake Chambers) will reportedly have some role in the TV incarnation.
Adapted from a series of fantasy novels by Stephen King, The Dark Tower delves into the story of the ongoing battle between the forces of light and darkness as embodied by Roland Deschain, a dimension-hopping knight armed with a pair of revolvers, and the sorcerer The Man in Black (played in the film version by Matthew McConaughey). Various producers had been trying for years to get a Dark Tower movie and/or TV series off the ground before Sony finally realized the long-held dream.
Now Sony and MRC are looking to expand their Dark Tower adaptation into the television realm, and the companies have tapped former Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara to lead the venture. The plan is for a straight-to-order series that will run between 10 and 13 episodes and adapt the Dark Tower novel Wizard & Glass, effectively making it an origin story for Roland and his crew. The project is in the very early stages of development and no network is attached as yet. The Dark Tower film director Nikolaj Arcel is involved in the writing process.
Mazzara expressed his excitement over taking on the Dark Tower television series, promising the show will incorporate lots of beloved elements from the books including billy-bumblers. Mazzara tells THR:
“I’ve been a Stephen King fan for decades and the opportunity to adapt The Dark Tower as a TV series is a great honor. The events of The Gunslinger, Wizard & Glass, The Wind Through the Keyhole, and other tales need a long format to capture the complexity of Roland’s coming of age — how he became the Gunslinger, how Walter became the Man in Black, and how their rivalry cost Roland everything and everyone he ever loved. I could not be more excited to tell this story. It feels like being given the key to a treasure chest. And oh yeah, we’ll have billy-bumblers!”
Adapting The Dark Tower into a TV series will be a tall order – especially given the reception to the film from reviews so far – but then Glen Mazzara is no stranger to difficult assignments, being the person who was tapped to take over for Frank Darabont on The Walking Dead after Darabont famously walked away from the show following Season 1. It was under Mazzara’s direction that The Walking Dead embarked on one of its most controversial storylines, the Season 2 arc that saw Rick and his group taking refuge at the farm of Hershel Greene. Though the season introduced many characters who would become fan favorites including Hershel’s daughter Maggie, many fans didn’t care for the way the show settled into one setting and became bogged down in soap opera arguing between Rick, Lori and Shane. It’s the general consensus that the show rebounded in Season 3, Mazzara’s last season as showrunner, when the action moved to the prison and Woodbury and the show introduced popular comic book characters Michonne and The Governor. Nevertheless, Mazzara was eventually forced off the series after clashing with TWD comic book creator Robert Kirkman.
Given his experience on The Walking Dead, Glen Mazzara is certainly used to being under a certain amount of scrutiny from fans. Mazzara may be under even more intense scrutiny by taking on The Dark Tower, a series of books that has a devoted and very vocal following. The current movie adaptation was subjected to a lot of harsh fan criticism long before it even came out, and now that the surprisingly short film has hit theaters, the reviews are coming in and they’re pretty mixed. The advantage Mazzara has on TV is that he’ll have up to 13 episodes to tell a fully-rounded story and deal with all the obscure aspects of King’s mind-bogglingly intricate mythology.
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