It remains to be seen just how Sony’s plans for a vast multi-platform rollout of The Dark Tower and its many stories will proceed in the wake of not-so-great reviews for the feature film adaptation. To be fair, if you think of the movie as a really expensive TV special that serves as an introduction to future films and series, then it’s not so bad, right? Well that’s what the powers behind the productions want you to believe, which is why they’re going full-steam ahead (or at least pretending to do so) by announcing The Dark Tower TV series’ showrunner.
THR reports that Glen Mazzara of AMC’s The Walking Dead fame will be shepherding the TV version of Stephen King‘s massive mythology. Mazzara replaced Frank Darabont as showrunner for Season 2 of the hit post-apocalypse series and oversaw nearly a quarter of the show’s existing episodes. That experience and his self-professed fandom of all things King should make him a solid choice for steering the small-screen version of this epic tale.
Though it’s envisioned as a straight-to-series project with a short-order run of 10-13 episodes, no network is currently attached. Media Rights Capital and Sony Pictures Television are looking to partner up with a cable or streaming network with an eye to start production in 2018 … plenty of time to get their house in order, or scrap the project completely.
Here’s what Mazzara had to say:
“I’ve been a Stephen King fan for decades and the opportunity to adapt The Dark Tower as a TV series is a great honor. The events of The Gunslinger, Wizard & Glass, The Wind Through the Keyhole, and other tales need a long format to capture the complexity of Roland’s coming of age — how he became the Gunslinger, how Walter became the Man in Black, and how their rivalry cost Roland everything and everyone he ever loved. I could not be more excited to tell this story. It feels like being given the key to a treasure chest. And oh yeah, we’ll have billy-bumblers!”
[Technically the film has billy-bumblers, too, but like anything else from the adaptation it’s a stretch from the original source story.] Personally, I think a TV version of this story is how they should have approached it from the beginning. The mythology is too vast and unwieldy, the characters too complicated and nuanced to be confined to a 94-minute action-fest. So, like I said, if you think of the film as an introduction to this series, it makes more sense.
That film stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain the Gunslinger with Dennis Haysbert as Roland’s father, Steven Deschain, and up-and-comer Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers; all three are expected to reprise their roles in the TV series that takes inspiration from the “Wizard and Glass” novel and serves as an origin story for the Gunslinger himself. If we ever actually see this project come to fruition, you can expect very little of this trio to appear on screen since they’re likely part of a frame story that bookends a tale centering on young Roland and his fellow gunslinging pals; those roles have yet to be cast.
While Mazzara will oversee day-to-day operations on the series, Akiva Goldsman will executive produce with his Weed Road Pictures president of production Gregory Lessans, Imagine TV’s Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, and Jeff Pinkner. Director Nikolaj Arcel and co-writer Anders Thomas Jensen are currently writing the script, though depending on the reception of the film, that could change before long.