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There have been numerous movies and TV series based on Stephen King stories. Through all of them, his magnum opus The Dark Tower has remained unadapted. Ron Howard has been at the forefront of trying to turn the book series into a series of movies, or possibly a TV series, or probably both. The road to actually making the series has been a difficult one and has appeared dead more than once already. Now, when things looked like they were taking a step forward, they’re now taking two steps back once again.
If the adaptation ever happens, it will be thanks to Ron Howard, who is on board to produce the series. In a recent Reddit AMA he was asked about the status, and while he did say that work is being done, it turns out that there’s no guarantee that the work will ever actually lead to anything.
Stephen King is very excited about the script, I'll say that, and Nikolaj Arcel our director is doing great work on that script and preparing. Do we have an absolute green light? Nope, not quite, but fingers crossed!
The project was originally in front of Universal. Then, after they let it go it ended up at Warner Brothers. After Warner Bros. passed on the project a few years ago it looked to be dead, until Sony picked it up earlier this year. The film was given a release date and everything so it all looked like it was moving along. There was even word last month that Matthew McConaughey was being offered his choice of roles, as either the hero, Roland, The Gunslinger, or as the man he’s chasing in the first novel, The Man in Black (Matthew, if you’re reading this, go with The Man in Black). Now, it turns out all this was done without an official deal to actually make the bloody thing.
There is some good news to be had here. Stephen King is notorious for being unhappy with adaptations of his work. While many horror movie fans think Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is fantastic, King is not one of those people, and he’s not afraid to say it. For fans of The Dark Tower, the fact that King is happy with the current script certainly implies that if the first movie is ever made it will look and sound like the book fans read.
With a release date set for January of 2017 they’ll need a green light soon if they plan to actually release a movie by then. If the release date gets pushed back, it would imply that Sony still wants to move forward, even if things are moving slowly. If we don’t hear something definitive in the near future we’ll be right back in development hell. It’s become a vicious cycle, which, to be fair, is a fairly likely place to see The Dark Tower.