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Next year, audiences will take the first steps on a very long journey toward Stephen King's Dark Tower when the first movie (in an anticipated series) hits movie theaters in February. Based loosely on The Gunslinger, the first book in King's seven-part saga, The Dark Tower will introduce Roland (Idris Elba), and start the ball rolling on what should be a lengthy franchise for Sony Pictures. Ron Howard as been part of the development on Dark Tower for ages, trying every which way to bring it to the big screen, so when I sat across from Howard in Italy on behalf of Inferno, I had to ask him if he still hoped to slip behind the camera for a Dark Tower chapter down the line. He tells me:
I'm in the role of executive producer. [Director] Nick Arcel has done a terrific job on the [first] movie. I really... I've just recently seen a first cut, so he's still hard at work on it. But it's really impressive. He's done a great job. Stephen King is really happy with what he's read, and knows about. And we do hope to take it on into television and, you know, I love that world. I love that universe. So I can't make any commitments, but I've stayed with that project all of these years for a real reason, and I hope to be as close to it as I can be.
Ron Howard plays the dutiful role of executive producer in that response, heaping praise on current The Dark Tower director Nikolaj Arcel (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) but keeping the door open. He confirms the rumor that a sequel to The Dark Tower could shift from movie theaters to a television partner. (The rumor suggests that the TV side might tell the story shared in Stephen King's Wizards And Glass book.) But it's the final bit of the conversation that has me believing that Ron Howard ABSOLUTELY still wants to direct a chapter of this saga.
As he says "I've stayed with that project all of these years for a real reason," and I don't believe that reason was to watch other people bring the story of Roland the Gunslinger to the big screen. We don't know specifically how Sony plans to adapt King's Dark Tower saga. All indications say this upcoming movie isn't a traditional interpretation, but possibly a sequel to the end of the last book that finds Roland embarking on his quest to reach the Tower one last time.
But even still, if The Dark Tower is a hit, then Sony will want to move forward with likely adaptations of The Drawing of the Three or The Waste Lands, so viewers can follow Roland's path along the beam. Will Ron Howard direct one of those sequels? Watch his official response and tell me what you think.
For now, Ron Howard has Inferno, his third Dan Brown adaptation, in theaters on October 28. And The Dark Tower, also by Sony, reaches audiences on February 17, 2017. We recommend both, highly.