Stephen King is one of the most well known and highly acclaimed writers in the world, and after putting 30 years into his Dark Tower saga it is finally getting a feature film. It's been a ten year journey filled with different directors, rumored actors and numerous screen writers, but finally a film is coming in 2017 starring Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor and Katheryn Winnick.
Except the journey doesn't end with this highly anticipated movie, which Sony Pictures hopes to transition into an epic saga that encompasses a new telling of the dark tower story itself. Yet Sony has decided to go all in on the acclaimed story and are working to develop a tie-in television series as well.
The Dark Tower is a series of several novels that tell the story of Roland Deschaine, a seemingly immortal gunslinger from a long line of gunslingers before him. The gunslingers are a knight-like class tasked with protecting their world from 'moving on' - which was seen as the collapse of all reality. The gunslingers are seen as mediators and peacekeepers, and Roland has taken on this role as the last of his line and pursues the Dark Tower to stop the man in black and the Crimson King from unraveling all of reality.
- Roland's Crew: Prep To Cross The Desert With The Dark Tower Movie Cast
- Do Stephen King Books Work Better As TV Series Than Movies Now?
- The Dark Tower Movie Will Not Be a Direct Adaptation, and That's a Good Thing
The novels combine western, horror and fantasy as you can probably imagine and the movie is set to be a sequel to the original novels, rather than a direct adaptation. The belief is that the movie will follow the 5th book, The Wolves of Calla, and will incorporate the lore from the other books to tell the story. The television series looks to follow down this path and will be a telling of the prodigious backstory and should tie into the cable/streaming release of the feature film in 2018.
The legend of Roland the gunslinger is long and winding, but with the series anticipated to begin filming in early 2017. The already confirmed series, financially backed by MRC and Sony Pictures is planned for a 10-13 episode arc instead of just a pilot run. The season length will depend on how the script evolves and changes between now and when production begins in 2017. There's no word as to where the series will be distributed, but considering that it is a dark epic that will rival Game of Thrones, either a streaming service or a major cable network that's not afraid of getting gritty like HBO or AMC. Netflix is the most likely landing place though, considering that MRC has history with Netflix thanks to their political drama House of Cards.
There have been no concrete casting announcements outside of Idris Elba and Tom Taylor appearing as Roland and Jake Chambers respectively. These two are set to frame the shows central plot which will take place several years before the events of the film. The television series will depict a tale that follows a younger Roland and how he becomes the last gunslinger.
Likely this means that the series should follow closer to the story-in-a-story of Wizards and Glass and will detail how Roland and his original ka-tet were tested and Roland learns of true love, loss and heartache.
There's no word on Matthew McConaughey's involvement yet, but his character, the man in black, will play a role although it may be as one of his many faces over the ages as he has tried to stop Roland from becoming a gunslinger. Likely we will see a different actor in the role of the antagonist behind the curtains.
Nicolaj Arcel and Anders Thomas Jensen are penning the script for the television series and are planning to act as executive producers. Another showrunner should be added soon to manage the day-to-day operations. The fact that Arcel and Jensen are creating the script is a great notion, because it will help the entire collection feel more inter-connected.
Just like the upcoming movie is set to leave the door open to future films, it's likely that the television series will follow the same pattern. The only trouble is that we will likely have seen most if not all of King's original story in the first season, so the future story arcs may deviate from the written novels.
Quite possibly they will draw from the various Marvel Comics or even look at some of the lore in Robin Furth's The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance. Regardless, I'd be surprised if Furth remains separated from the television series considering that he is King's historian on all things Roland Deschaine related.
It's exciting to see what's finally coming to fruition after years lost in the wasteland. Hopefully you'll find something to get excited for with the future of the Dark Tower firmly begin developed in both film and television.