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It’s been rumored for years and now it’s finally happening. Deadline say Stephen King’s masterful fantasy series “The Dark Tower” is headed for theaters. As part of a deal being worked on at Universal (but not yet completed) the seven books which comprise the Dark Tower story will be condensed into three movies, in a script written by Akiva Goldsman and to be directed by Ron Howard.
The deal is also said to include a package which will result in a Dark Tower TV series, though how they’d pull that off in addition to the movies is a complete mystery. Will the three films cover only three of the books, leaving the TV series to cover the rest? Or will they combine all seven books into three films and then create a TV series which picks up where the final "Dark Tower" book leaves off? We won't know until the deal is finalized and Howard starts talking. King is reportedly working on an eigth novel which tackles a different storyline from "The Dark Tower", that could be possible fodder for the TV series as well.
What’s clear here is that, however they split it up, done properly The Dark Tower could be the next Lord of the Rings. King’s books follow a wandering Gunslinger named Roland, the last of his kind, as he wanders across dimensions and other worlds on an endless quest to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be a nexus between worlds. The stories are massively epic in scope and cross over all sorts of different genres. It’s more than just fantasy, it’s science fiction, it’s horror, it’s gut-wrenching drama, and it’s part old-school shoot-em-up Western. The character of Roland is in theory more of a wandering knight than a cowboy, but in appearance and disposition, it’s as if Clint Eastwood wandered off the set of one his classic Wild West tales and into a Stephen King novel. This could be huge.
I say could be, because there’s one problem. His name is Ron Howard. Ron is a fine choice if you’re looking for sappy, schmaltzy Oscar-bait but it’s hard to imagine him tackling the darker, more horrific elements of The Dark Tower with any success. Earlier in his career I might have had more faith in his ability to do this. The guy who made Backdraft and Apollo 13 seemed like he might have something tense and edgy somewhere inside him. But I’m not sure I believe the director of Cinderella Man and A Beautiful Mind is capable of anything like this. I hope I’m wrong because done right, The Dark Tower could be brilliant; an epic, unforgettable Oscar winner.
At one point JJ Abrams was supposed to be developing The Dark Tower into a feature film but back in November that fell through. Now it’s about to end up in the hands of Ron Howard. We’ll let you know as soon as this is confirmed as a done deal.