Considering how abysmal the reviews for The Dark Tower have been, all of this information is subject to change at any moment, but for the time being The Walking Dead‘s very own Glen Mazzara – who took over at the AMC series after Frank Darabont exited following season one – is set to run the new Dark Tower series, based on the recent film starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. Although Elba isn’t expected to star in the show, the film adaptation of The Dark Tower is being treated as a wide release pilot episode that gives some background for the series, which will tackle Stephen King’s expansive, eight novel series.
From a write-up in Collider:
That film stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain the Gunslinger with Dennis Haysbert as Roland’s father, Steven Deschain, and up-and-comer Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers; all three are expected to reprise their roles in the TV series that takes inspiration from the “Wizard and Glass” novel and serves as an origin story for the Gunslinger himself. If we ever actually see this project come to fruition, you can expect very little of this trio to appear on screen since they’re likely part of a frame story that bookends a tale centering on young Roland and his fellow gunslinging pals; those roles have yet to be cast.
It seems like the studios are betting pretty heavily on the success of a television adaptation that’s been born from a film that just about everyone hates. Even if every season were to tackle one full book from the series, that’s still asking for nearly a decade of commitment from audiences who weren’t that impressed by this initial “pilot episode” movie. And rightfully, so. The consensus seems to be pretty unanimous in saying that director Nikolaj Arcel, as well as co-writers Anders Thomas Jensen and Akiva Goldsman – who will all be returning to write and direct the series – didn’t get this whole thing off to a very reliable start.
That said, it’s worth noting that directors making the switch to the small screen often get more creative control than when they’re working on big budget films. There’s no way Arcel’s first cut of The Dark Tower ran 95 minutes, and the long-form structure of a television series is probably the best way for him and his collaborators to do the adaptation right. Additionally, it’s unlikely that Arcel will write and direct every single episode of the series, so even if he is behind the camera at first, I’m sure the producers will want to get some fresh faces on-set to keep the project alive.
According to a quote from Mazzara:
“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!”
There’s currently no word on when The Dark Tower is coming to television, but I expect a lot about this project to change in the coming months, so stay tuned for more information soon!