This is history in the making.
Ron Howard, his producing partner Brian Grazer, and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman have unveiled a wildly ambitious plan for an unprecedented film and television co-production for Stephen King’s seminal fantasy series The Dark Tower, which tells the story of Roland Deschain, aka the Gunslinger.
King’s sprawling epic encompasses seven books of tremendous depth and complexity, and the notion of adapting it to the big screen has been a holy grail for Hollywood for years. Often believed impossible to film in ways that would capture the emotional power of the books, Howard, Grazer, and Goldsman have come up with a plan that they think will finally do justice to the series: a combination of three big-screen feature films, and two seasons of a companion television show. Both of which will be financed and produced by Universal Studios and NBC.
The two productions will really be one, utilizing the same cast, crew, sets, and other resources. The first feature film, to be written by Goldsman and directed by Howard, will debut the project. Then, an entire season of the television will follow (presumably on NBC), continuing the storyline from the film. Goldsman will write every episode of this first season, and Howard will direct every episode.
The second feature film will follow the first season of the show, followed by a second season of the show. Then the entire venture will conclude with the third and final movie. It’s not entirely clear how the seven books will be distributed between the three movies and two TV seasons, but the way it’s being described, it almost sounds as if Howard and Co. are attempting to tell the entire story without being beholden to the exact order and structure of the books. For example, the second season of the TV show (to air between movies 2 and 3) is said to turn back the clock and focus on Roland Deschain’s youth, even incorporating some of the storylines from Marvel Comics’ recent comics series set in The Dark Tower universe. (The fourth book in the series, Wizard and Glass, also covers territory from Roland’s youth.)
There’s no word yet on when the films and TV series will go before cameras or make their debut in cinemas, but if Howard, Grazer, and Goldsman can pull off their plan, they’ll undoubtedly make cinematic and television history for uniting the two mediums in a way that’s never been done before.