For years, Stephen King's epic Dark Tower series has been on the long road to a live-action universe, and while all the parts are in motion for the feature film, things haven't gone so smoothly for the TV series, which hasn't gained much ground since being proposed six years ago. We thankfully got our first update recently, it has now been revealed that our first look at The Dark Tower on the small screen will be a prequel tale based largely on the fourth book in the series, Wizard and Glass, and it could very well include some of the film's stars.
The TV series was originally proposed with a narrative that would delve into the backstory of lead character Roland, but that was before it was announced that the film would actually be a sorta-sequel to The Dark Tower novels, in which Roland is already in possession of the Horn of Eld. After that, all bets were off, but it has been confirmed the TV show will tackle the lengthy story-within-a-story at the heart of Wizard and Glass, in which Roland tells of the first time he came across a thinny (a dimensional portal of sorts). His tale begins with how he became The Gunslinger, a story also told in the first novel, and involves him being sent on a mission with some companions, and involves him falling in love and all the other right parts that will fit into a TV season.
Here's how the film's co-writer and producer Akiva Goldsman explained the show's importance.
In the movie, Roland is suffering tremendous loss. The most concrete, personal, existential heartbreak a character can have. If the movie chronicles his final reach toward hope again, the TV show is the loss of that hope.
And because Roland is telling his story in the "present," for lack of a better word, Idris Elba will indeed appear in the TV series as the orating gunslinger. Tom Taylor, who plays Jake Chambers in the film, has also signed on. According to EW, it's possible that Matthew McConaughey could also appear on the show, although the Man in Black's penchant for taking on different names and appearances might require someone else to play the part.
As far as the technical details go, MRC and Sony Pictures have committed to funding 10-13 episodes of The Dark Tower's TV series, with the exact number to be determined by the writing. No networks or streaming outlets have been set up yet, but that's not stopping the companies from moving forward with it, since it's a certainty companies will throw money at this show. Goldsman will be executive producing, and the film's director Nikolaj Arcel and other co-writer Anders Thomas Jensen will be putting together the scripts for the series, while the search will be on for an actual showrunner to handle things for the actual production.
I feel like we've learned more about The Dark Tower TV show today than we have in the past six years. The plan is for the show to start shooting in 2017, and all involved are shooting for a release date in early 2018, timed to the film's release on TV and streaming services. It's happening! Maybe.