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Every Stephen King Novel That Hasn't Been Adapted For Movies Or TV Yet

Stephen King in Mr. Mercedes
(Image credit: Audience)

Going back to the mid-1970s, audiences have seen more than 90 adaptations of the works of Stephen King – and while you would think that many movies and television shows would cover the full breadth of the author’s work, you’d be wrong. The reality is that there a number of novels that have not yet gotten the live-action treatment, despite the hopes and urgings of Constant Readers everywhere. 

When one considers the fact that there are more than 60 novels in the author’s bibliography, the limited number that haven’t been adapted is pretty incredible, and time may change the status of all of them. For now, however, here are all of the Stephen King books that have yet to be adapted for movie or TV.

Rage cover

(Image credit: Signet Books)

Rage

Not only have we never seen an adaptation of Rage, but we never will. Stephen King’s most controversial book, published under his Richard Bachman penname, is about a high school student who holds his classmates hostage with a gun he has kept in his locker. It is no longer in publication.

The Long Walk Cover

(Image credit: Signet)

The Long Walk

The Long Walk, another Richard Bachman book, centers on the dystopian titular competition, which sees teenage boys continuously walk on a set path for multiple days without extended rests – knowing that stopping means that they will be shot and killed. Director André Øvredal has been developing an adaptation for a few years (the last update on the project provided in November 2020), but it has not yet made it into production.

Roadwork cover

(Image credit: Signet Books)

Roadwork

Roadwork is another title published under Stephen King’s nom de plume, and features another protagonist rebelling against society – unwilling to sell his property as the city plans to demolish his neighborhood in order to construct a new highway extension. IT director Andy Muschietti, along with producer Barbara Muschietti, announced development of an adaptation in 2019 (per Radio Cantilo), but it has yet to materialize.

The Eyes Of The Dragon cover

(Image credit: Viking)

The Eyes Of The Dragon

Stephen King may be best known for writing horror stories, but The Eyes Of The Dragon is a full-on fantasy epic that is set in the realm of Delain and sees the advisor to the king, Flagg, try to betray the royal family, usurp power, and destroy the kingdom. Standing in his way, however, are the efforts of the beloved Prince Peter. Multiple attempts at developing an adaptation have been made, but all have fallen apart.

The Talisman cover

(Image credit: Viking)

The Talisman/Black House

The Talisman and Black House make up a two-part series co-authored by Stephen King and Peter Straub. The former, published in 1984, introduces hero Jack Sawyer as a twelve-year-old kid who discovers the ability to flip to a parallel reality known as the Territories, and goes on a quest for the titular Talisman in order to save his mother (who is dying from cancer). The latter, published in 2001, reintroduces Jack as an LAPD lieutenant on the hunt for a serial killer. Steven Spielberg has been trying to produce an adaptation of The Talisman since its release, and is now trying to make it into a Netflix series with the Duffer brothers and Curtis Gwinn.

Insomnia cover

(Image credit: Viking)

Insomnia

Can sleeplessness open up your vision to elements of the world invisible to the well-rested? That’s the premise that launches Insomnia, which was first published in 1994. Ralph Roberts is a character who finds himself sleeping less and less each night, and he thinks that his lack of sleep is causing hallucinations – but he not only discovers that they’re real, but that some of his friends can also see what he is seeing.

Rose Madder cover

(Image credit: Viking)

Rose Madder

Published less than a year after Insomnia and less than a year before The Green Mile, Rose Madder follows Rosie Daniels who finally makes the decision to flee after being trapped in an abusive marriage for 14 years. Escaping to the Midwest, she tries to start a new life for herself, and while she finds out that her engagement ring is almost worthless, she trades it to a pawnshop in return for a painting of a woman in a rose madder gown – a painting that turns out to be magical.

The Regulators cover

(Image credit: Dutton)

The Regulators

The fourth Richard Bachman title on this list, The Regulars was written to parallel Stephen King’s Desperation, which was published on the same day, and features the same characters dealing with wholly different circumstances. While Desperation has been adapted, The Regulators has not. In the Bachman book, a neighborhood is terrorized by dangerous and violent space cops from a popular kids TV show after they spring to life from the imagination of a possessed little boy.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon cover

(Image credit: Scribner)

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

While it hasn’t made it into production yet, director Lynn Ramsay is trying to make the first adaptation of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. In the Stephen King book, nine-year-old Trisha McFarland gets separated from her mother and brother while hiking along a section of the Appalachian Trail. As she tries to live long enough so that she can be rescued, she is motivated to keep going by fantasies about her favorite baseball player, Boston Red Sox closer Tom Gordon.

From A Buick 8 cover

(Image credit: Scribner)

From A Buick 8

Between Christine and Maximum Overdrive (based on the short story “Trucks”), Stephen King has notable experience when it comes to telling tales about scary automobiles – and From A Buick 8 is a lesser known part of that legacy. Published in 2002, the book has a group of police officers reflecting on stories surrounding a mysterious 1953 Buick Roadmaster, which appears to be a car, but upon closer inspection isn’t really one.

Blaze cover

(Image credit: Scribner)

Blaze

We’ve arrived at the fifth and final Richard Bachman book on this list, which Stephen King held on to for a long time as a trunk novel (it was originally written in the early 1970s, but didn’t hit shelves until 2007). Protagonist Clayton “Blaze” Blaisdell Jr. is a con artist who, via instructions he gets from the voice of his dead partner, kidnaps the baby of a wealthy couple.

Duma Key cover

(Image credit: Scribner)

Duma Key

In Duma Key, a wealthy contractor named Edgar Freemantle is badly injured in a work-site accident, and in the wake of his recovery and a divorce from his wife, he makes the decision to move from Minnesota to Duma Key – an island off the coast of Florida. He takes up painting as a hobby, but a paranormal force ends up giving him the ability to change reality with his art. Adaptations have been developed since the book’s publication in 2008, but none have come together to date.

Joyland cover

(Image credit: Hard Case Crime)

Joyland

In 2005, Stephen King published his first book with Hard Case Crime, The Colorado Kid, and while that novel was adapted as the Syfy TV series Haven, Constant Readers are still waiting on King’s second title from the publisher, Joyland, to get a live-action treatment. The lead character in this one is Devin Jones, a college student who takes a summer job at the eponymous amusement park. Learning some history about his new place of employment, he begins to investigate the murder of a woman named Linda Gray – whose spirit has been seen haunting the spook house.

Revival cover

(Image credit: Scribner)

Revival

Both Josh Boone and Mike Flanagan have tried and failed to make adaptations of Revival, but hopefully one day the novel gets the live-action treatment it absolutely deserves. Published in 2013, it is one of Stephen King’s darkest and scariest books – tracking the intersecting lives of a young boy who grows up to be a heroin-addicted musician, and a minister who loses his faith following a tragic accident.

Gwendy's Button Box cover

(Image credit: Cemetery Dance)

Gwendy's Button Box / Gwendy’s Magic Feather / Gwendy's Final Task

Gwendy’s Magic Feather isn’t technically a Stephen King novel, with credit solely going to author Richard Chizmar, but it’s bookended by two books that King co-wrote with Chizmar, so I’m including the full trilogy here.  We’re introduced to Gwendy Peterson as a 12-year-old girl living in Castle Rock, Maine who is given an enormous responsibility: to take care of a box covered in buttons that have the capacity to not only destroy entire continents, but potentially end existence. The series in its entirety chronicles how this experience changes her whole life.

Sleeping Beauties cover

(Image credit: Scribner)

Sleeping Beauties

It was reported by Entertainment Weekly in 2019 that a pilot was in development that would lead to a series based on Stephen and Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties, but for now the 2017 novel remains on this list. The book begins with the world experiencing a gender-based pandemic – with women across the world cocooning themselves to fall into deep sleep, and violently attacking anyone who might open them.

Elevation cover

(Image credit: Scribner)

Elevation

Published in 2018, Elevation is the definition of “short and sweet.” The story is the most recent book Stephen King has written set in Castle Rock, and its protagonist finds himself dealing with an ever-more freaky problem: while his appearance doesn’t change, his measured weight continues to drop, and it doesn’t matter if he has anything on his person. Scary as it is, it ends up leading him to create wonderful bonds in the community.

The Institute cover

(Image credit: Scribner)

The Institute

The Institute begins as a young boy with telekinetic abilities named Luke Ellis is kidnapped from his home and his parents are murdered. He is taken to a mysterious location known as The Institute and discovers that he is being kept along with other psychically gifted children. As experiments are performed on the kids to enhance their abilities, Luke tries to look for some way to escape. A limited series was announced as being in development from Mr. Mercedes producers David E. Kelley and Jack Bender, but that was back in 2019 (via Deadline).

Later cover

(Image credit: Hard Case Crime)

Later

Like Joyland, Later is another Stephen King book published by Hard Case Crime, and is about Jamie Conklin – a kid with the fantastical ability to see and communicate with the dead. It’s a gift with some benefits, such as when he is able to save his mother from financial ruin, but later in life he sees it become a horror when his mother’s ex-girlfriend attempts to exploit him. A TV series is in the works starring Lucy Liu, but we won’t take Later off this list until cameras are rolling.

Billy Summers cover

(Image credit: Scribner)

Billy Summers

It was announced in February 2022 that a TV adaptation of Billy Summers is now in the works, so hopefully, like others on this list, the title will soon have to be removed. The titular character in the 2021 novel is a hitman who sees his world go to hell when he is hired to kill another assassin who is arrested and expected to spill secrets that a client is desperate not to get out.

Keep up to date with all of the adaptations in the works with our Upcoming Stephen King Movies and TV guide, and for a deep dive into the extensive history of King on the big and small screen, check out my weekly Adapting Stephen King column.

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.