Nikolaj Arcel's The Dark Tower is out in theaters, and it is Sony's hope that the film serves as a proper introduction to the vast world (or, Mid-World, actually) of Stephen King's rich fantasy book series. Almost everyone who is going into The Dark Tower this weekend knows that it's supposed to be the start of something bigger, as King's own book series started on a slim novel -- The Gunslinger -- and grew into a seven-book anthology that consistently expanded on the story's scope. So when we sat down with Stephen King recently and asked about future plans for the franchise, he shared one thing he really hopes will change in the next segment. King told CinemaBlend:
I understand the rationale behind the movie that is PG-13. I was totally signed off on that. I want as many people in the tent as possible, for all kinds of reasons. Part of it having to do with the dynamic between the Gunslinger and the boy. That's a father-son relationship. But I'd love to see the next picture be R. That's sort of where we're coming from now, and where the movie needs to go. PG-13 was the safe spot to go. When pictures were R, the studio execs would say, 'Well, we know that this is going to make 20% or 30% less money because we're going to exclude a prime tenderloin part of the moviegoing public.' I think that movie's like Deadpool have changed that.
The next chapter might not BE a movie. The most recent report is that The Dark Tower is actually going to get a TV series, one that could be shepherded by former The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara. Technically, this could happen, even if the movie doesn't make enough money at the box office to warrant a traditional sequel. We will be tracking the progress of The Dark Tower at the box office this weekend, and in weeks to come -- particular on the international market, where Sony can lean on Stephen King fans to boost the box.
Either way, as a television series or a movie, Stephen King's sentiment seems to be that he'd like to see an edgier, more mature approach to the material that is being mined from his novels, and it's hard to disagree with that tact. The journey of Roland (Idris Elba) to reach the Dark Tower gets brutal and deadly, with some twisted sci-fi/fantasy hybrid storytelling rising to the surface. And it would take a full commitment by a studio or a network to bring that material to the screen. But shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld and, yes, The Walking Dead have proven that edgy pulp material can be translated properly, so hopefully Glen Mazzara can tap into King's pure vision.
We shall see what the future holds for The Dark Tower. If this movie was rated R, would it make you more interested in seeing it? And do you think the upcoming installments should go for a more-mature approach? Weigh in below in the comments section.