J.J. Abrams Remains On Board For An Upcoming Stephen King Adaptation As It Pivots From TV To Film

Stephen King in IT Chapter 2
(Image credit: New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures)

Jumping between movies and TV can do all sorts of things to a project in development. Creative teams can change and all previous work could be tossed out for a new approach, or it could mean the last straw before everything gets cancelled. The upcoming adaptation of Billy Summers is the latest to see a format switch come into the equation, but it's good news thanks to producer J.J. Abrams and the previously assembled creative team remaining on board for this new Stephen King movie.

THR reports that Billy Summers is now going to be adapted as a feature film project, with Abrams still on board as a producer alongside writers Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz. What was once going to be a limited series is now going to the movies, with this pivot coming a little over a year after the King project first staked its claim in Hollywood. Some are even wondering if J.J. Abrams will make this his first directing job since 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but at the moment, no one is attached to helm the project.

It’s good to see J.J. Abrams sticking around for the adaptation of Stephen King’s 2021 novel, especially when his last shakeup with the author’s work led to his departure from The Dark Tower adaptation that was set to be directed by Ron Howard. Billy Summers looks to be a much easier challenge in comparison, with a crime story that involves its hitman and the job from hell that’s supposed to allow him to retire.

Recent And Upcoming Stephen King Adaptations

Stephen King cameo in Kingdom Hospital

(Image credit: ABC)

Here are some of the King adaptations that are available to watch now/you should expect to see in the near future: 

Firestarter - currently streaming on Peacock Premium
Mr. Harrigan's Phone - currently streaming on Netflix
The Boogeyman
- 6/2/23
Salem's Lot - TBD 2023

Coming from the crime fiction side of the acclaimed author’s canon, audiences should expect something more grounded out of this new King film. More akin to the work he’s done with books like the Bill Hodges trilogy of novels, the threat is more grounded and human. So if you’re curious what sort of project to expect from Billy Summers, the series adaptation of Mr. Mercedes is the probably one of the closest, most recent analogs. 

That prospect makes the potential for J.J. Abrams to direct the film more intriguing, as the typically genre-focused work of his filmography would be massively toned down. Pushing more towards his work on Alias, the lack of supernatural angle could be a welcomed return for Abrams’ directing chops. Though if you’re a Stephen King fan who's still looking for a more fantastical story, you’re in luck, as the limited series adaptation of Later is also in the works.

Further details on when to expect Billy Summers are currently unavailable, as there are no current production or release dates available. There are still plenty of upcoming Stephen King movies and TV shows to look out for though, like The Boogeyman, which is set to open in theaters on June 2nd.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.