It’s Stephen King’s birthday! Happy 69th birthday, Mr King, we love you!
And as a special birthday treat, The Dark Tower makers have announced the companion TV series which will run alongside the movie!
We’ve been talking about this possibly happening for years now (here) but put that all behind you because the thing is happening and we say thank ye.
EW have exclusive details on the TV series which will tell the story of how Roland of Gilead became the Gunslinger and will, essentially, be an adaptation of the fourth novel in the series, Wizard And Glass.
Now, sources at production company MRC and the film’s producer and co-screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman, have revealed some juicy details on what we can expect from the series.
– MRC and Sony Pictures, which is releasing the film, have committed to a full run of between 10 and 13 episodes, depending on how the scripts and story arcs develop. The Dark Tower show will begin shooting in 2017 with plans to premiere it in 2018, ideally around the time the film becomes available on cable or streaming services.
– What the producers don’t yet have is a distributor. The darkness of the story rivals that of Game of Thrones, so they will require either a cable or streaming platform (MRC also makes House of Cards for Netflix, so they have a history already.) But MRC is not going to wait for a partner to come aboard before moving forward.
– Elba has signed on to appear as Roland alongside Tom Taylor, 15, who plays Jake Chambers in the film. They will bookend the series which tells the story of Roland in his early teens when he and his friends, Alain Johns and Cuthbert Allgood, are sent on a secret mission for his father as war threatens the whole world. It will tell how he truly becomes the Gunslinger and of his first love with a girl called Susan Delgado. None of these characters, including the younger Roland, have been cast yet.
– Goldsman will executive produce, along with Jeff Pinkner, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. The film’s director, Nikolaj Arcel, and co-writer, Anders Thomas Jensen, are working on the script for the show.
– Matthenw McConaughey plays Randall Flagg in the movie but is not signed on for the series yet, although his character, under a different guise, that of Marten Broadcloak, plays a massive part in the creation of The Gunslinger, so he will be in the show as a character but in the books he changes his name and face regularly, so there’s a way around if he’s not on for appearing.
Check out this map of the Barony of Majis, Hambry, along the Clean Sea; Coos Hill, home of the witch, Rhea; Citgo, the oil fields that could help fuel an army; Bad Grass, the toxic meadowlands; and Eyebolt Canyon, where a magical portal called a thinny waits to play an important part in the tale.
“In the movie, Roland is suffering tremendous loss. The most concrete, personal, existential heartbreak a character can have,” Goldsman says. “If the movie chronicles his final reach toward hope again, the TV show is the loss of that hope.”
While we know the movie will deviate greatly from the books, “this one has much more fidelity to the story as King wrote it,” Goldsman says.
Interestingly, it seems that a second movie is planned (if the first one is a success) and a second season could happen too, although it won’t be based on King’s work but rather that of Robin Furth who wrote the Marvel comics’ story of Jericho Hill.
This is a battle in the books that sees a young Roland lose The Horn Of Eld, a mistake that he will learn to regret when his is older – although we know in the movie older Roland will have the Horn, and that is where the movie as sequel to the books part plays in (here).
King has said several times that he would like to go back and write the story of Jericho Hill – it’s only referenced in the books – so it’s possible he’ll get involved in the series and guide it as he pleases.
There’s also the book The Wind Through The Keyhole which might supply some material for the second season, but it’s very much a standalone story in the overall story.
I have been on the path of the beam for 25 years with King, roland and his Ka-tet, so while I’m undeniably excited for this all, I hope that it will still be recognisable as the story I know intimately (three times and counting) and love completely.
There are a few things that bother me here, however. The fact that Roland is telling the tale to only Jake irks me – why are Eddie and Suzannah not part of the tale? Where is Oy, Jake’s dog-like, talking friend? How can Jake even be with Roland at this stage in the journey without Eddie and Suzannah? We’re sure there are answers to this story but we hope they are good ones…
Long days and pleasant nights?
Do you say so?