The prospect of a decent adaptation fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. Nikolaj Arcel’s disappointing theatrical take on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower was the horror author’s only misfire in a year that saw successful adaptations of IT, Gerald’s Game, and 1922. There might be hope, however, as a prequel TV series that King himself describes as a “complete reboot” is apparently on the way with showrunner Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead, The Shield) at the helm. No announcement has been made as to where the series might end up, but an offhand mention in a recent Deadline article points to it having a home at Amazon.
The article, which centers around the streaming service’s acquisition of Iain M. Banks’ Consider Phlebas, mentions The Dark Tower as one of Amazon’s upcoming genre series, alongside properties like Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, Ringworld, and Lazarus. No official confirmation or announcement has been delivered by Amazon.
The Dark Tower, King’s sprawling, dimension-hopping fantasy-horror series about gunslinger Roland Deschain, failed to resonate due to the glossy look and book-spanning approach of Arcel’s film, which worked far too hard to wedge King’s strange narrative into the traditional Hollywood templates popularized by Hollywood hack Akiva Goldsman, who had his dirty mitts all over the movie.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, King said the film’s failure was its PG-13 rating, which was handed down by Sony and hamstrung the film’s power. “So it has to be PG-13, and when they did that I think that they lost a lot of the toughness of it and it became something where people went to it and said, ‘Well yeah, but it’s really not anything that we haven’t seen before,'” he said.
“Sometimes when people have made up their mind, the creative team that’s actually going to go and shoot the movie, it’s a little bit like hitting your fist against hard rubber, you know?” he contined. “It doesn’t really hurt, but you don’t get anywhere. It just sort of bounces back. And I thought to myself, ‘Well, people are going to be really puzzled by this,’ and they were.”
For his part, Elba sounds confused regarding the TV series. “You know what? I didn’t know Stephen said that,” Elba recently told ScreenCrush regarding King’s comments about the series being a reboot. “I don’t know, actually, where it lies. I must figure this out, I don’t know where it lies. I’m unfortunately the last to know at this point.”
Elba has also said he’d be more interested in doing a sequel to the film than a TV series. In an interview with Radio Times from last June, he said, “I think any TV series that is an offshoot from the film can have more time to explore some themes. I’d personally prefer to do another Dark Tower film, exploring some more of the gunslinger – as a film…I don’t know much about where they are with the TV show – but I think there’s definitely talks to try and do another one”
More details, as well as a confirmation from Amazon, are surely on the horizon. In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to our Stephen King podcast, The Losers’ Club, which is currently in the midst of its three-part deep dive into Pet Sematary (which is also getting a new film adaptation).