Stephen King's The Dark Tower Finally Getting A Proper And Massive Adaptation Courtesy Of Horror TV Mastermind Mike Flanagan

It has been considered by many a Stephen King fan to be unfilmable. Stephen King’s eponymous seven-book series The Dark Tower (with an added-on follow up story in The Wind Through the Keyhole). We documented a history of the failed attempts at bringing this world to life. The feature-length film that cast Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey basically confirmed fans’ fears by ignoring the source material and killing the chance of a proper The Dark Tower adaptation. Until now.

If ever there was going to be a storyteller capable of paying proper homage to Stephen King’s masterwork, it would be Mike Flanagan, the brilliant writer/director behind adaptations of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep and Gerald’s Game. He also delivered two of the best long-form horror stories in recent memory with The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass, both for Netflix. But now Deadline reports that Flanagan has acquired the rights to The Dark Tower and will bring them over to Amazon – since he is leaving Netflix – even going so far as to detail how far along in the process he is. Flanagan tells Deadline:

I wrote a pilot, we view it as a series that’s going at least five seasons. And having lived with this project as long as I have, I have an enormous amount of it worked out in my brain. But I have a pilot script I’m thrilled with and a very detailed outline for the first season and a broader outline for the subsequent seasons. I think eventually, if we’re able to get it going, there are some other writers I want to fold into that process whom I’ve worked with before; I think they would be really fabulous for a very small, intimate writers room where we can continue to break it.

Part of the reason why Mike Flanagan stands out as the right creative mind to adapt The Dark Tower is the way that his adaptations of Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep not only honored King’s tone and intention, but if anything, they improved on work the author had weaved through his books. That might sound blasphemous, but Flanagan figured out how to tie Doctor Sleep, a sequel to King’s book The Shining, into an homage to Stanley Kubrick’s film… a very difficult task that the director somehow pulled off.

And now Flanagan says that he is going into this project with Stephen King’s blessings. He tells Deadline:

The pilot script is one of my favorite things I’ve ever gotten to work on. It’s been surreal working on that. So we’ve been floored and grateful that Stephen King trusts us with such an undertaking, something so precious to him, and we hope to find the right partners to realize it. … This happened because I sent him a very, very detailed outline of what I wanted to do with it. And it was in response to that, that he gave us the rights. A project like this, I wouldn’t want to be involved in it at all If we were taking it in a direction that was going to be blasphemous to the Stephen King material, but he’s been very, very supportive and very excited about what we’d like to do with it.

Mike Flanagan’s full scope would include five seasons of a television series (he notes being so impressed by what Amazon Prime Video did with The Lord of the Rings this year), followed by two feature films. Perhaps this means that the first two books of the saga, The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three, make up the first season? Perhaps this means that the final book, The Dark Tower, is a two-part movie? There’s SO MUCH material and so many ways for Flanagan to get into it. We can only be patient to see what he has in his head.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.