Stephen King started his road to The Dark Tower in the 1982 novel titled The Gunslinger. This story began with one line…
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
This introduced Stephen King fans to the character of Roland Deschain, the last Gunslinger, as he hunted down his adversary, the man in black. This chase has been going on for many years.
In that first book, Roland meets a boy named Jake Chambers, and it is discovered that there is an alternate Earth and that there is a way to move back and forth between them.
One is our world, but the other is the world of the Gunslinger, a world that has yet to move out of the Wild West era, but is also full of monsters and evil creatures.
Roland’s journey goes from the hunt for the man in black to his quest to reach The Dark Tower.
There were seven total books in The Dark Tower’s main series, with The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass, Wolves of Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower. The Wind Through the Keyhole hit in 2012, fitting between the fourth and fifth books.
Along the way, Rolan meets his ka-tet — his traveling companions — in Jake, Eddie Dean, and Susannah, as well as the billy-bumbler Oy.
Also, throughout the series, several characters make appearances from other Stephen King novels, including Father Callahan (‘Salem’s Lot), Patrick Danville (Insomnia), and even Stephen King himself.
The Dark Tower movie
The Dark Tower movie arrived in 2017 and was an instant failure.
The reason the movie flopped was that it didn’t give Stephen King fans what they wanted to see – which was a straight adaptation of the books.
There is one problem with that complaint. The end of The Dark Tower revealed that Roland’s journey was just one of many, and he had taken several before the one that readers read in the books.
That end didn’t make a lot of fans happy when King released it in the final book, so the fact that The Dark Tower movie took the idea of being one of those other journeys angered fans who had waited to see The Dark Tower made for decades.
The cast was terrific.
Idris Elba played Roland, and he was perfect in the role, although there is a sector of fans who refused to accept him. Matthew McConaughey starred as the Man in Black, and while he is a perfect Randall Flagg, he was a bit too aloof for some fans’ tastes.
The film was envisioned as a companion sequel to King’s original story.
It was also supposed to be the start of a journey that would include a movie trilogy and television shows connecting them.
The Dark Tower only made $50.4 million domestically, while it’s worldwide gross reached $110.3 million, and critics lambasted it.
The planned Dark Tower universe
Ron Howard and Brian Grazier planned to create this incredible movie and TV series. The idea was for each film to be a significant part of The Dark Tower story, and the TV series would trace Roland’s past and the side stories from the books.
NBC Universal and Universal Pictures teamed up to make the movies and the two television seasons.
Ron Howard was supposed to direct the first film and the first season of the show, Akiva Goldsmith would write it, and Brian Grazer would produce.
When The Dark Tower flopped, it was time to move on. There was no way that the studios would finance more movies in what turned into a massive financial flop.
Then, Amazon Prime Video stepped up and announced they would make the series as a reboot, ignoring the film.
Why did Amazon drop The Dark Tower?
According to Deadline, Amazon looked at the pilot of the series and decided that it was not up to the level of The Lord of the Rings or Wheel of Time, so they chose not to move forward with The Dark Tower television series.
Sam Strike (Nightflyers) starred as Roland Deschain, Jasper Pääkkönen (Vikings) would play the villainous Man in Black. Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead), Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones), and Joana Ribeiro (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote) were also signed on for The Dark Tower.
Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead) was the showrunner.
Amazon’s The Dark Tower would have adapted Wizard & Glass, the fourth book in the series, which would have been an origin story for the Gunslinger.
Will The Dark Tower TV series ever get made?
Before Amazon Prime Video dropped it, Stephen King spoke about the series with Vulture.
“The TV series they’re developing now … we’ll see what happens with that. It would be like a complete reboot, so we’ll just have to see.”
The problem with The Dark Tower is that it has the stink of the failed movie on it. Any network or streaming service has to look at it and see that it already failed once, making them unwilling to put the money into the production that it needs.
Maybe when time passes, The Dark Tower might get another chance. King’s son Joe Hill had a comic book called Locke & Key, and it went through several deals that fell through before it ended up at Netflix. The same thing happened with Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.
However, don’t expect Stephen King’s The Dark Tower to arrive anytime soon.