Days after it was reported that filmmaker Mike Flanagan was taking his services from Netflix to Prime Video, he revealed in an interview with Deadline that he’s putting together an epic television adaptation of Stephen King’s magnum opus, The Dark Tower. But here’s the catch: the series won’t necessarily end up on Prime Video. Flanagan is going to shop it around town, leaving the door open for others besides his new streaming home to partner up on the project.
Combining elements of Westerns, epic fantasy and horror, The Dark Tower series comprises eight novels, a short story, and a children’s book. Flanagan envisions his adaptation as lasting five seasons, with two standalone feature film follow-ups. He said that he has already written a pilot script that he is extremely pleased with, visualized the opening shot, and created the outlines for future seasons.
He expressed his gratitude towards King, and said that the project came about after he sent the legendary writer “a very, very detailed outline” of what he had in mind. King responded by handing over the rights to Flanagan and his producing partner at Intrepid Pictures, Trevor Macy. In his own words:
“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. I’ll tell you, more than half of my life, I’ve closed my eyes and been able to watch a lot of this play out, I’ve dreamed about this. That first shot which comes right off at the first incredible sentence of the first book, The Gunslinger, I’ve had that image just rattling around in my head since I was an undergrad. It’s going to have to get out of there eventually, I really need to get it out of my head.”
Flanagan remains one of horror cinema’s most innovative voices, with several acclaimed films and series under his belt. He previously directed/spearheaded shows such as The Haunting of Hill House, its spiritual sequel The Haunting of Bly Manor, Midnight Mass, The Midnight Club, and the upcoming The Fall of the House of Usher for Netflix. He also directed Gerald’s Game for the streamer, and followed it up with a theatrical adaptation of King’s The Shining follow-up Doctor Sleep.
The Dark Tower will mark his third time adapting a King title. This isn’t the first attempt that Hollywood has made at adapting the epic series, either. A would-be franchise-starter directed by Nikolaj Arcel and starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey was released in 2017 to poor box office returns and terrible reviews, and another TV adaptation from The Walking Dead’s Glen Mazzara failed to lift off at Prime Video.
But if there’s anybody that can attempt a project so ambitious and actually have a shot at bringing it home, it’s Flanagan. It helps that he developed a warm working relationship with the author, as evidenced by his recent blog post about their collaboration on Doctor Sleep.