Stephen King’s massive, still-unfolding, 28-years-and-running The Dark Tower novel series has gotten several comic book spinoffs at Marvel starting in 2007, and is now getting the mass media full-court press with both a film trilogy and television show from Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment.
As reported today on Deadline.com, the Ron Howard/Akiva Goldsman/Brian Grazer team — responsible for A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man and the film version of The Da Vinci Code — will creatively head the adaptation, with Howard set to direct the first film and TV season, which is planned to follow soon after. Goldsman will write, Howard and Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment will produce. Quotes from Howard in the Deadline article indicate that he’ll turn his focus to the adaptation shortly after wrapping 2011 comedy The Dilemma.
Simultaneously launching a TV series and film trilogy is a relatively unprecedented move, and a clear attempt to do justice to the seven novels and counting (an eighth is in the works) source material. Lost crew J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse at one point optioned The Dark Tower from King.
The structure is interesting as well. The plan is for the first movie to come out, followed by Season 1 of the series. Movie 2 comes after that, continuing the story. Season 2 and beyond of the TV show (it’s unclear just how many) will then reach into the past, using the material from the comic book series to tell more of the history of Roland Deschain. Finally, Movie 3 will wrap up the story.
The Dark Tower has thus far inspired six miniseries from Marvel Comics, scripted by Peter David and with King serving as “Creative and Executive Director.” The current The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger – The Journey Begins is scheduled to wrap this month with issue #5. The partnership between King and Marvel Comics has been a high-profile one for the publisher, first teased at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2005 by Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada.
Feel free to speculate wildly (Russell Crowe as Roland Deschain?) in the comments.