The Dark Tower gets film trilogy and television series
This is big news, and it's getting Stephen King fans and Dark Tower fans everywhere excited. I'm both, and although I ducked out of King's works for a good while, The Dark Tower drew me back in. I read every book as it was released and I actually cried when I read the end of the last book, really, and that's never happened.
So when I first heard it might be adapted I was fearing a cheap mini-series. However that doesn't seem to be the case, for there's going to be a film trilogy and a television series, and Ron Howard is set to direct the first film and the first series of the television show.
Reading about the attempt that Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman have put together it's impressive. We're not talking about a film trilogy spinning off into a television series where the actors change, the budget drops, and the series disappears into a pit of mediocrity and formulaic episodic formats, no, this is something unique.
In fact it seems to be the first time that this has been attempted as Universal is going to take the property across the film trilogy and the television series, and here's how it'll pan out.
The first film will be written and directed by Howard and Goldsman who will then move onto the first television series, along with the cast. Then either deals will be struck with the same writer and director or a new team will be found to tell the story through the second film and then onto the second television series, and repeat again for the third film and series.
What they plan to do is get the cast to remain with the project through the film and television series, and cost savings will abound with the productions sharing so much.
I could never have believed that a studio could have been convinced to take on a project of this size and especially to give it such a profile and focus as they have here.
The Dark Tower series from Stephen King ran across seven novels, although he and other authors around the world have taken to more stories in traditional novel and graphic novel format to expand on the universe, it was the original seven novels that built the story.
It followed Roland Deschain, the last of an ancient group of gunslingers who kept order throughout the lands. He's on the trail of the Dark Man, a man who destroyed his family and friends and knows the way to a place called The Dark Tower, a mythical place where the Gunslinger believes he can stop the slow destruction of his world by the encroaching darkness.
On his journey he discovers similar souls from other worlds and universes who he slowly helps become gunslingers and help him on his journey to the Dark Tower.
It is seriously an epic tale, and while some of the books in the series falter, others soar and take you along with them. It's the entire journey that works the best magic though, as I can attest to for reading those final words I did cry. Partly for the ending but mainly because I had lost these characters and stories. The journey was over.
Now if that's not pressure for a trilogy of film and television series then I don't know what is.
However this deal sounds like it's going to have major backing and commitment from Universal, Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman, a great line-up for the first film and television series, and possibly more.
I think my biggest concern is that the writer and director leave after the first film and series and Universal let it run downhill. I hope that's not the case.
Deadline Hollywood Daily have the news of how it's going to work out, at least in the sketchy details at the moment, and it's sounding really interesting. Ron Howard told the site:
"The approach we're taking also stands on its own, but it's driven by the material. I love both, and like what's going on in TV. With this story, if you dedicated to one medium or another, there's the horrible risk of cheating material. The scope and scale call for a big screen budget. But if you committed only to films, you'd deny the audience the intimacy and nuance of some of these characters and a lot of cool twists and turns that make for jaw-dropping, compelling television.
We've put some real time and deep thought into this, and a lot of conversations and analysis from a business standpoint, to get people to believe in this and take this leap with us. I hope audiences respond to it in a way that compels us to keep going after the first year or two of work. It's fresh territory for me, as a filmmaker."
This comment alone fills me with excitement and hope for the project, because he's summed up perfectly why the series would work on both film and television at the same time. I do believe that the teaming of Howard and Goldsman could really work magic on the series.
Meanwhile here's what Akiva Goldsman had to say on the project:
"We will certainly be looking to maximize both creative and fiscal opportunities by creating one enterprise that encompasses TV and movies," Goldsman said. "Some of the shooting will likely encompass both platforms, and that has never been done before. It's thrilling, we feel like kids in a candy story."
The closing comment is the one that really is a message to all Dark Tower fans as Goldman goes on to say:
"We have a clear view of what we want to do, and we're lucky to have a company with the nerve to back us up on this venture."
You hear that? Universal has had the guts to invest in this project, but it's the audience figures that will ensure it keeps going through the first film and series and onto the next one and the next. If we aren't there watching, it won't get made. Now that's fine if they make a complete hash of it, but let's give it a chance and stick with it.
Could The Dark Tower really work in this format? I think it can.