The Dark Tower Comes to Movies and Television

Fan-boy quavering, activate! I’m a fan of Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower series–seven huge books that are his Lord of the Rings. They’re sprawling, bizarre, sometimes terrific and sometimes awful, but totally absorbing.

There’s been speculation about a movie adaptation for years. Longtime readers may recall that, for a little while, I squatted on a couple of domain names associated with a potential movie.

I was excited to read that serious plans are afoot to produce three movies and a concurrent TV series based on King’s magnum opus. Ron Howard has committed to direct the first film, and Akiva Goldsman has signed on as writer and producer.

They’re probably not my first choice, but they’re both big Hollywood names with a good pedigree, do the series could do much worse. A lot of Stephen King adaptations suffer, I think, from a lack of creativity and budget.

The way they plan to produce the series is a reflection of how close the production and craftsmanship values of television have gotten to those of film:

The plan is to start with the feature film, and then create a bridge to the second feature with a season of TV episodes. That means the feature cast—and the big star who’ll play Deschain—also has to appear in the TV series before returning to the second film. After that sequel is done, the TV series picks up again, this time focusing on Deschain as a young gunslinger. Those storylines will be informed by a prequel comic book series that King was heavily involved in plotting. The third film would pick up the mature Deshain as he completes his journey. They will benefit from being able to use the same sets cast and crew for the movie and TV, which could help contain costs on what will be a financially ambitious undertaking.

Who will play the main characters? For those who have read the books, my all-star cast would feature Viggo Mortensen as Roland Deschain and Thandie Newton as Susanna. I don’t know about Eddie. Anyone?

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